Goddammit, I love Diana’s artwork. All I need to do is scribble a few ideas down, send it to her, and she sends back something better and more beautifully detailed than I could ever have imagined.
Take Page 5, for example – I wrote something vague about a scene in which Rasputin goes into a church and completely steals the show. I pictured a priest giving a boring sermon, the crowd only there because they felt they should be, and then suddenly this newcomer arrives and starts to give his own electrifying address… the crowd are mesmerised.
I didn’t say much more than that, but what came back was nothing short of glorious. I love the faces, the detail on the church roof, the different angles she’s used… even the layout of the panels is new. I suggested dividing the page into four even blocks, I think, but this layout works so much better.
By the way, here’s a fun fact: as far as I know, this particular event never actually happened. This is one of the occasions when we’ll be applying a little artistic license in order to tell our story. (“Artists use lies to tell the truth,” as Alan Moore wrote in V for Vendetta.)
The truth is that over a period of roughly a decade, Rasputin’s presence in Saint Petersburg posed an existential challenge to a church that was increasingly beginning to feel obsolete; and Russian high society, at that time obsessed with new practices such as magnetism, hypnosis, seances and mediumship, was quick to favour this new Holy Fool over old-fashioned scripture and sermons.
But putting all that into one page of our introductory chapter would have been impossible. Instead, this scene should serve as a neat visual metaphor for the whole process.
Check out these sketches below… the finished page should be online in the next day or so!