Tuesday, 2 August 2011

A Study In Mixed-Media


It's Holmes and Watson!

... Okay, not by any traditional standard, but I'm a big fan of the BBC version and also love the Downey Junior/Law portrayal (though I find the film otherwise patchy). And the way in which I appreciate things is by putting them through the prism of my own convoluted character design process.

The thing that particularly fascinates me about Holmes, apart from all the obvious things that ake his a popular character, is the little acknowledged fact that he's 27 years old in A Study In Scarlet. Not only has this been worked out according to other canonical facts - to me he really reads like a young man. The nervous arrogance, the ambition of a man at the beginning of his career, the lack of money, the need to share his flat. Indeed, when Watson first meets Holmes, he mistakes him for a student. Arthur Conan Doyle was 27 when he wrote the story. I'm 27 now. It's no wonder I find a 27-year-old Holmes interesting.

Watson, I think is a bit older - he's gone through medical traing AND seen active service in the army. Early 30s at least.

The thing that makes them one of the great partnerships in fiction is the same thing that ALL great double-acts boil down to - not that I can define exactly what that is (the right balance of mutual dependancy and antagonism?) but I mention it because I was thinking about Russell Brand while I sketched Holmes. His relationship with friend and radio show co-host Matt Morgan prompted me to relate him to Holmes: the sharp intelligence, the ego, the bohemianism, the outsider status (which I think all comedians have to some extent - interested in people but not of them), the dependance on a few strong human bonds, one in particular...

Anyhoo. A vague narrative evolved as I was working: a Hound-Of-The-Baskerville's-style situation; Holmes and Watson called urgently to the murder scene from their beds (I guess explains Holmes shirtlessness?); an outdoor murder scene drenched in mud and blood.

So this, therefore, is Holmes and Watson having a quiet smoke in a blood-trampled porch, recovering from the gore in the case of Watson, who is remarkably squeamish for a soldier and a doctor; and beginning to theorise in the case of Holmes.

It was really just a character design exercise but I'm tempted to contextualise the figues more - hint at the nighttime setting, the stone wall they're standing against etc...

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