Thursday, 16 November 2017

Kidnap Victims and Servent Girls

Kidnap Victims and Servant Girls indeed!  I am supposed to be working on someone else’s book, looking for some elements for some cover art . But I came across a few things and couldn’t help but sling them together - just to see where it might lead.  The one below I'm going to do something with another time - there is a LOT of promise there, don't you think?  It comes from a film (I've done a bit of research) part of the plot of which (the early part - later on and further in I'd lose interest if I were watching) come have come from the plot of one of my books; certainly the imagery could (see further down).... Now back to work proper!


Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Breaking-In The Twins

There is a real mixture of sources used here in today's humble offering, including a scanned catalogue image, a couple of elements I have created myself and some elements taken from a couple of pictures I worked on for Roger Benson - see if you can tell which came from what. This is still not the finished version of this - just sort of a trial run; I think the finished version will be sans the psychiatric care home staff uniform in the foreground (see below) and will just feature the girls and the nurse.   

And one annoying thing I've just noticed now I've uploaded the ting is that the ends of a couple of words have got lopped off on the right hand side - I hadn't noticed that!  Bloody irritating!

So - you'll have noticed I'm sure, that I have taken heed of the many emails (and a couple of comments) I've received supporting the grey version of the latter outfit incidentally (although at the last minute I brought in a slight blueish tint - dunno why; it just seemed to work.).  

You know it's really odd, but I've always imagined my dominant characters in some shade of blue (usually navy blue).  But once I started playing with different shades (because very dark blue tends to be difficult to work with if trying to show and pick out detail) I found I quite liked the pastel shades (yeah that pink version I presented last time was supposed to be pastel pink, but I couldn't quite get the shade right) but only under certain circumstances (for example, for the dominant character in some forms of regression storyline - although I think it works for a serving girl too where pastels provide a break from the same-old-same-old black and white maid uniform).  But what I found REALLY floated my boat was - yes, you guessed it  - that grey version; although I didn't want to say so at the time for fear of influencing you all....Go figure - I really couldn't tell you why! 

Also I think the curtained screen will end up some shade of blue (I've just tried this - see below) - or any colour other than green; I've just noticed that as things stand at present it tends to look as if you can see right through our hapless duo. I chose that particular shade of green simply because it matches the bed-screening curtains in some images our old chum Angela Fox created for me a while back (a LONG while back actually - but I do wish to use them; and I really DO appreciate continuity; things should always be self-consistent if there is to be at least some modicum of plausibility).

 I think in some form this  - or something like it and related to it - will eventually form the cover of my new book (but it WONT be called 'Breaking-In The Twins' nor will it have anything to DO with twins!  Not real biological twins anyway!  There! That's got you thinking!).  I'd REALLY love to know which you prefer - and why.  Or perhaps you'd prefer to see something else entirely - if so let me know; try your best to describe YOUR vision! It's all useful stuff!

Meanwhile I have spent much of today working on the cover design for another book - somebody else's book.  But I wont be sharing THAT with you - you'll have to go find the book once it's out!

Thursday, 2 November 2017

The Importance of the Colour of the Dominant Character's Dress to the Imposition of Strict Discipline Over Her Charges?

 
Or – An Experiment (Of Sorts): The Perceived Importance (Or Otherwise) of Colour in Socially Conditioned Compliance and Inducing Submission to Authority

Hi folks. I had reason today to answer a couple of comments responding posted to my last posting in which I happened to mention how to my mind the colour of the 'carers' dress has a bearing on the image portrayed in addition to the styling and seems important somehow. So I said “...for example, would a pastel shade such as pink or lilac have the same effect / impact?” 

Well, you see: This is a factor that interests me so, as I sad in my reply “Perhaps I should create a couple of variations of this image and display them side-by-side, identical in all but colour”. And so I have done just that. 

Now, I don't exactly have a lot of time on my hands today and so this is very much NOT my best work and is a little rough around the edges so to speak (there is HORRIBLE fringing around the lilac version in particular) but... hmmm – well...what do you think? 

 I'd really love some comments on this please, but I'm too lazy to set up one of those 'poll' things – unless of course there is enough interest!

So is colour important in this context? Which one – if any – does it for you the most?  I was surprised once I started messing around to be honest...but I don't want to influence you.

By the way - if you have emailed me and not yet heard back, despair ye not; I'll be answering you later today while out imbibing coffee up there in Wood Green Mall's Pret-a-Mange.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

A Couple of Recycled Images

Hi Folks - so today's pic is just a couple of recycled images I've cobbled together and just tweaked a bit, primarily in an attempt to develop a bit of inspiration in my own head but I thought I'd share it with you all also. Click on the image for a larger view - and as always, your comments and criticisms are most welcome.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Under The (Her) Thumb: Or: The Life Of A Well-Trained Stepdaughter

"...Maybe a few more years in that mental hospital would be GOOD for you, straighten you out a little and stop your complaining.  But perhaps that's where you belong - in a mental hospital - PERHAPS this time I'll just leave you there...PERMANENTLY!"  You can imagine her coughing haughtily or perhaps adding a little mocking laugh, the calling out to her visitor by way of greeting: "...just come on in, Edith - ignore the girl; she's just a servant!"

People often ask what is likely to happen to the girl after a few years spent incarcerated in a suitably secure institution (I always think in terms of a few years rather than months). Well I came across this image and it immediately suggested one particular scenario I am fond of - I think it was the girls facial expression of (not QUITE total) resignation. 

Of course it is important she wear something designed to keep her firmly in her place, both in her own mind and in the eyes of others who might see her around the house, scrubbing floors and so on. This outfit wasn’t QUITE perfect - I had to fiddle around with it a bit - but close enough to suggest what might be going on (and NO: I don’t want to know what is really going on!) And I kind of like the colour for some reason (which I've enhanced a smidgen): I’m sure we don’t ALL want to see those same old black and white maid’s uniforms ALL the time; and somehow THIS looks just that bit more demeaning, being I think suggestive of its suitability for a girl expected to be carrying out only the most basic of menial tasks around the house.

I’d imagine, incidentally, that by this stage psychologically speaking she’d be something of a cripple, virtually incapable of making any kind of decision for herself - even simple ones - and near totally dependent on others to give her orders for her to obey without which she’d be lost.  All this having been said: she might not quite realise herself to what an extent all this is true (I’m not sure where this bit is going  - I need to have a think about it, and the ramifications for my character’s future development, if ‘development’ is quite the right word!)

( Title with more than a nod to a certain song lyric, which spawned many an early thought back in the day!)

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Upstairs - Downstairs: As If To Prove a Point: Domestic Discipline Has Never Been Like This!

My vision: DOWNSTAIRS there is a party - music and laughter rings out; perhaps it is Christmas; perhaps it's our heroine's Guardian's birthday; perhaps it is just for the hell of it. UPSTAIRS the only sound is the rhythmic swisssshhh crrrack of the cane - five - six - seven - eight  - evenly spaced, timed to mechanical precision by synchronisation to a swinging metronome, one stroke for every four clicks, applied plum on that fourth click with each click one second apart.  There is of course a sobbing mewing and sharp intake of breath interspersed with a softly-spoken counting of each stroke, the count to be given on the second tick of the metronome after each stroke. There are floods of tears even on the mere setting of the metronome swinging nowadays, even in the ABSENCE of the cane. 

Nurse Hilda does many things to the beat of the metronome - or rather she requires her charge to do many things, perform many actions, to the insistent never-varying beat of the metronome; she has turned that simple measuring device of musical tempo into a punishment in its own right; she has been known to leave it running all night, on the side by the girl's bed; the irony tickles her pink; you see the girl was all set to become a music student; she'd earned a scholarship; she'd studied hard; she'd LIVED by the beat of that metronome; and now she DOES live by the beat of that metronome; she even has the girl chew her food to its rhythm.  

Nurse Hilda - clever woman that she is - has even developed her own modification of the timing device, a truly diabolical modification, although to appreciate HOW diabolical - unless gifted with the sheer imagination of the good nurse - one would have to experience it in conjunction with the straitjacket for a few days and nights; it simply rings a bell, a simple 'ding', every certain number of clicks, the number of which she can set at will; THAT'S how you produce docile acceptance of the cane, strap or even over-the-knee hand spanking (Nurse Hilda always uses a leather glove) - you create  an even worse experience, something your subject can be encouraged to develop quite literally a PHOBIC dread of...

So there is the rhythmic clicking, there is the muted cries of the girl (she knows not to cry out loud or beg for cessation for fear of an increased number of strokes), there is the girl's counting of the strokes - although that will cease at twelve this particular day , since that is the number Nurse Hilda has prescribed, to be replaced by lavish heart-felt thanks for having been corrected in this manner - and of course there is the creaking of the leather straps securing the straitjacket. And there is something else too... 

Bang on the eleventh stroke - so near, but so far - a little bell has sounded, a tinkling little bell - and the girl's weeping redoubles; she has just earned another six strokes.  She has failed to keep absolutely still, and her wriggling and jerking has been given away by a tell-tale bell, actually six tell-tale bells. She has six little silver jingle bells sewn around the reinforced neck and collar of her tough PVC straitjacket; there is a similar arrangement around the neck of the pyjamas that she usually wears, and the cuffs at her wrists and around the bottom of each leg (outdoor clothes are never worn when you're a mental patient - as Nurse Hilda often tells her) - it is an arrangement that make for a wonderful enhancement to deportment training; and all manner of other forms of discipline; and deportment training IS important, even FOR a mental patient.  

And that latter point is her great fear of course - that Nurse Hilda will one day succeed in convincing her guardian to allow her to have her 'put away' in that secure psychiatric care home she says she knows of, where no questions would be asked and where she - Nurse Hilda - could, as she likes to say "REALLY get to grips with the girl".  Not that she has actually SEEN her guardian for a VERY long time; the woman might not even still live in the same house any more for all she knows; Nurse Hilda is very jealous of being in TOTAL control of her care; Nurse Hilda is adamant her face should be the only one her charge sees and her voice the only voice the girl hears; obedience is everything; and dependence breeds obedience; and Nurse Hilda demands TOTAL obedience. Her guardian knows what is going on though; there are cameras.  And her Guardian DOES enjoy watching proceedings; and that is something else Nurse Hilda is always fond of reiterating...

Discipline Under Medication?

This just a jumble of images - a sort of collage - at the moment; and ALL of it needs more work.  In particular the shortcomings with my isolation of Roger Benson's woman figure (originally holding a hair brush but now equipped with a wickedly pliable looking punishment cane) - but also the girl figure once removed from her grey shading layer - are made more apparent once backgrounded by the nurse's uniform dress and now I realise there is still a fringe of her original shaded background here and there, which is irritating.  

So this is all a bit experimental and if you click on the image and check out the file name you'll spot the word 'socks' in there which is how this started out, by my playing around and considering putting socks on the girl.  But I also wanted to play around a bit more with acquiring a halfway decent colour pic of the so-called 'National' nurses' uniform dress of the 1970s, which I have a personal love affair with and which was the inspiration behind by trying to apply that particular check pattern and that particular shade of blue (which I still haven't got right) to Mr Benson's wonderfully drawn 1950s / late 60s woman.  

The thing is that there seems to be a number of fairly high quality B&W photographs around but none to speak of in full colour (I have myself scanned a couple of colour pics in from an old Alexandra Workwear catalogue in the past but they were not very large and didn't scan very well - I seem to remember an even older edition had a full page colour pic but I don't have that one).  So basically I have found myself attempting to colourise the best monochrome pic I colour find - and trying to get that bloody shade of blue right; and trying to get the belt right too, which in my mind ought to be white, and is VERY important for some reason which I cant quite put my finger on.  

Much effort on my part was also expended on creating the spoon and medication, which is intended for another image.  In my mind our young heroine has just had an absolutely agonising and will-sapping caning for refusing her medication.  Now I now of at least a few visitors here who much prefer to think of such discipline taking in the domestic environment, to whom I would say that for my part I don't think the presence of a young woman in a nurse's uniform dress definitely marks out the scenario as necessarily institutional.  Actually I am quite enamoured with the idea of some part of the home having been set aside in some way, isolated from the rest and furnished with all the paraphernalia required to keep a headstrong young lady under control.  

As for the stockings: I quite agree their presence is anything like perfect.  On the other hand, I am not at all sure socks would be right either (white or otherwise).  Surely bare feet are the order of the day?  But have you considered (particularly in the the institutional environment) that on occasion she might be required to wear girdle, stockings and 'heels' for a short while (perhaps while undergoing one-to-one psychological appraisal and counselling) as a sort of cruel reminder of the 'normal' world outside the secure high-walled confines of the care home she has found herself detained in and which she is no longer part of and of her old life?  

Views anyone? For example: Pyjamas with a PVC or latex tabbard worn over the top - perhaps labelled with a 'diagnosis' designed to influence the way people treat her? Pyjamas alone?  Or a one piece dress type of thing such as seen on the girl here?  Or something entirely different? And does it matter whether she is confined at home in some way or institutionalised somewhere nice and isolated?

You'll have to wait a little to see your words in print - not my fault; it is the fault of those who would plant there spam here - but I'll get 'em up and also responded too ASAP.  The trouble is that when I am out and about - as I will be in a moment or two (going down the pub - The Tollgate anyone?) I am at the mercy of the WiFi providers and nowadays blogs and websites such as this one of mine are often blocked.  Bye for now!