This comic first took shape on a train journey. I was commuting between Ghent and Antwerp at the time. I had just finished my doctorate and had found my first job outside of academia, as a copywriter in a communications agency. For eight years or so, my mind had been dominated by Oscar Wilde and 19th-century literature; and when I wasn’t thinking about Oscar and Bosie, aestheticism and decadence, dandies and art and lies, gender and double standards, my head was at Hogwarts, trying to figure out the origins and motivations of one Severus Snape.
I always had my sketchbooks with me on the train. I would return home rather late, so the trains were mostly empty. I’d find a seat by a small table and I’d draw. And one day, in the middle of one of my Moleskine sketchbooks, quite out of the blue I started drawing a story. I drew King Lot and his eleven-year-old son Gawain entering a forest to meet Morgan le Fay.
There was no plan. There was nothing. But it felt so good. It felt right. And I thought, “I’ll just see where this takes me.”
Well, it took me 27 pages in, at which point I realised I needed to tell another story first if I didn’t want to throw in a lot of flashbacks. So I left Lot, Gawain and Morgana in the Valley of No Return and went back to Gorlois of Cornwall and his lady Ygraine, and to king Uther Pendragon, who tears them apart. Their story took me about a 130 pages to tell. Then I returned to Gawain, and introduced his brothers, his cousin Owain, and then Arthur and Kay (Cei) made their appearance, with Bedivere (Bedwyr) and Lucan and Pellinore and — well, you get the gist. This story got posted on Livejournal and on my Blogspot, The Sleeper’s Den.
The Long Hiatus
When it comes to drawing, I was self-taught. There came a point where I realised I wanted to gain more confidence and maybe get some formal training in order to draw better. I do care about my story and characters and wanted to present them to you as best I could. So I enrolled at art school for evening classes. But I soon discovered that it was impossible for me to take classes 8 hours a week, do my class assignments, and produce my pages at the same time. So ironically, the classes that were meant to help me draw better and quicker brought the comic to a complete standstill.
But I was still working on my story. I was redrawing the very old and shaky pages I had drawn on the train, making them presentable for publication on the web.
And Suddenly, the Webcomic
So there we are, then. I finished art school last summer and look, I have some postable pages. I installed a new theme on my site and we’re on our way. I hope that readers who like comics and Arthurian legend will come and find me here, to follow Gawain, Arthur, Morgana the Fay and the others on their journey.
There is a new page every Thursday. You are welcome to comment on it, and share it if you like, or just enjoy it quietly in your corner of the world :).