Another step into the Bizarrium

Apologies, dear reader, for the hiatus....many projects have been moving forward both within & without the Itinerant Bizarrium.  Several have involved the creation of more imagery which we will be delighted to share here over the next week or two.

First of all, may I invite feedback on the cover sheet for our dolls.  This will be printed on the reverse side of the story page of each individual character, providing a continuing link in imagery as well as guiding folk to Trouble & Strumpet.  The aim is to continue the vintage circus atmosphere whilst creating a template which can carry forward into future themes.  

Yes?  No?  Maybe?

06.21.2014 | Add new comment

Bombadil von Rammstein Makes an Appearance


At last...some signs of progress with the Itinerant Bizarrium!  Although this is just a draft, with considerable work still to do, I am quite pleased with the look of the thing.  Especially considering that I had no knowledge of Photoshop at all two months ago.  My thanks, therefore, to the ever-patient Steve Cox for teaching me.

If anyone lives in or around Bath, you really should check out his illustration class - you never know where it might lead.



06.02.2014 | 1 Comment | in: bizarrium, Bombadil, dolls

Tiny Paintings

Today, alongside preparing the body of my next doll. I have been working on the vignettes which will appear on the story page of each paper doll.  The plan is to have a large portrait of the featured character surrounded by cameo-sized pictures of other dolls in the series.  

In order to keep the look consistent, I have decided to handpaint these images, then add the portraits via the magic of photoshop rather than create them digitally from the start.  If nothing else, it gives me an excuse to spend time "researching" on Pinterest!  

04.28.2014 | 1 Comment

The Emergence of Madame Othale

One of the first characters to arrive on the scene in Nether Thrubwell has been the Bizarrium fortune teller.  Initially she was a fairly traditional gypsy....


She sat around quite happily in this guise whilst life continued around her, other characters making their appearance & the first drafts of their paper alter egos being drawn.  One of these new people will be a tattooed lady, & in the course of researching vintage tattoos I came across photographs of an intriguing nineteenth century lady sporting a distinctive pattern on her chin.

I am certain that our cousins across the pond will immediately recognise Olive Oatman, but we Brits are less au fait with frontier history, and it has been a joy to research her amazing story.  I am currently two-thirds of the way through reading "The Blue Tattoo" by Margot Mifflin:  In 1851 Olive Oatman was a thirteen-year old pioneer traveling west toward Zion, with her Mormon family. Within a decade, she was a white Indian with a chin tattoo, caught between cultures. The Blue Tattoo tells the harrowing story of this forgotten heroine of frontier America. Orphaned when her family was brutally killed by Yavapai Indians, Oatman lived as a slave to her captors for a year before being traded to the Mohave, who tattooed her face and raised her as their own. She was fully assimilated and perfectly happy when, at nineteen, she was ransomed back to white society. She became an instant celebrity, but the price of fame was high and the pain of her ruptured childhood lasted a lifetime. 


I am shamelessly appropriating chunks of Olive's early biography for a reworking of the fortune teller, having reworked the doll in her image:

The previously un-named seer now bears the title of Madame Olathe - an echo of Olive's own name, plus it is listed as meaning "beautiful" in some native American tongues.  Doubly appropriate, I hope.


04.27.2014 | Add new comment | in: bizarrium, dolls

Further Introductions

All those clever advisors out there,guiding we beginners on our way, seem to think it is a fine idea to introduce oneself and include some jolly snapshots so that our hordes of readers may have a mental picture of the gentle author.  Bah humbug, I say!  Some serious editing needs to be done before I am ready to inflict myself upon you.  In lieu of my face, I believe we shall all be happier if I post a portrait of my familiar - Miss Fifi von Slutwhiskers.


Today Miss Fifi has been guarding the fort whilst I have travelled to the far side of Bath to attend an illustration class.  Bath is such a beautiful city that it would be churlish to complain about being stuck in traffic amidst its splendid Georgian facades.

Having battled my way across the city centre, amongst dawdling tour buses, double-parked delivery trucks, and numerous roadworks, I spent a couple of happy hours under the tutelage of the splendidly talented Mr. Steve Cox, pushing onwards with the paper doll project and taking baby steps into the wonderous modern world of Photoshop.  Who knew such magical tricks could be performed at the touch of a button!

04.23.2014 | Add new comment

An Introduction, Dear Reader....

Although this website boasts an "About" section, I still feel it right and proper to bid you welcome to my newly-situated blog.  Farewell Blogger, hello independence.

For the next few days I shall be uploading images, I suspect; already I have a gallery of costume work in place.  I had forgotten how many plays I have worked on over the years!  And must admit I am struggling to remember the titles & details of some.  So if you spot any errors, please forgive me & send a quick note - I shall endeavour to correct myself with all possible speed.

Corsets next, I think... so brace yourself!  Although I think all images are safe for work. If any are not, I promise to bury them deep in the gallery!

04.22.2014 | Add new comment
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