My car broke down. In the middle of nowhere. No signal of course. Cel as good as dead.

I walked for miles. Or what felt like miles. I had been driving on a country road. Going from nowhere to nowhere. After the car broke down, I walked on the dirt road in the middle of the woods. The road ended. Nowhere! My shoulder bag was beginning to feel heavy. I’d taken everything I could think of. The keys to my place. (What for, I wasn’t going back.) My inhaler, I’m allergic to just about anything. Hay, pollen, cats, dogs, goldfish. Yes, goldfish. Gluten. What have you. Inhaler doesn’t weigh much. All the other useless crap I carry in my bag did.

Night came. In the middle of Nowhere Woods. I found this house. Creepy. Looked like Frankenstein’s castle. Seriously? Or Nowhere Castle? Or Bates’ Castle? There were some lights on. I called out. Anybody home? Well. Nobody home.

Nobody home indeed. At least that I could tell. Front door was open. The lights were on, like gas lamps on the walls? Frankenstein or the Adams family? I had my Mace in my bag. I needed a phone. Still no signal on the cel. A land line maybe? To the left of the door there was an antique telephone with a rotary dial like my grandmother used to have. No tone… Great.

I came into a huge dining hall. Like a Hollywood décor. Boar and deer heads on the walls. Swords and shields. Several armours sans knights inside. (I looked.) A chimney large enough to roast a cow. The thirty feet long table was set for one. I called out again. Nobody. Nowhere.

I sat down at the table. I was starving. What if the food or the wine were poisoned? I tasted the wine. Not bad. A Lalande de Pomerol of a good year. (I’m a wine “major”.)

There was enough food for a battalion. I must say I stuffed myself. Hadn’t had anything to eat since breakfast… Still not a sound in the house. I explored the ground floor. Empty. Kitchen, empty. Sitting rooms. Living rooms. Standing rooms? Lounges and parlours, empty. A Library without any Colonel Mustard. The gas lamps cast an eerie light. I grabbed a chandelier on the table. Not for light. Maybe I could club Frankenstein with it. Started to climb the stairs.

At the end of the corridor upstairs, a door was open, the light on in a room. Perfect for a Dracula movie. The bed was made. Red satin sheets open. Tacky but inviting, I was knackered. Then I heard the footsteps.

Dozens of footsteps. Tiny footsteps? Elves? Little gnomes? More footsteps approaching. Like an army of footsteps. I started to sneeze. Then I heard them. Growling and meowing. Oh! No! Cats. Dozens of cats!


I‘ve decided, to move my sketching a step ahead, to inspire myself from the “great masters”. Some say you shouldn’t. That you should find your style on your own, what have you. I find it useful. Movement. Proportions. Expressions. In this case I inspired myself from a sketch by Jijé, aka Joseph Gillain (1914-1980), one the greatest Belgian author of comics. One might say he practically created the genre of “Franco-Belgian” comics. He also “trained” many other artists, including Franquin and Giraud/Moebius and many others. This particular portrait comes from a Jerry Spring story: “Golden creek. The secret of the abandoned mine”.

Jijé was a master of ink and black and white. In the late 40’s, early 50’s, most if not all printing was in B&W. Jijé’s original character in this sketch was Latina, Mexican. (You can compare with the featured image on the Home page.) My final version looks more “Anglo”. (I’m thinking blue or green eyes) I just can’t “copy” exactly. It’s all right. Every sketch, every exercise trains my hand. There are plenty of Masters in my library to work from.

Thanks for the visit. Take good care of yourself.

Last but not least: Free Ukraine. 🇺🇦

62 thoughts on “FEAR

    • Dankje wel Peter. Yes the expression in my sketch changed ever so slightly from the original. It’s what inspired the story. Do look Jijé up. He was a great artist. Tot ziens.

  1. Je connaissais Spirou, mais pas Latina…
    Tes dessins sont superbes et le texte prenant.
    Merci pour le voyage Brieuc.
    Prends soin de toi.

    • “Superbes”. “prenant”. Trés flatté chère amie. Il faudra vraiment qu’on prenne un café ou une bière à l’occasion.
      Jijé est mort en 80. Soit tu n’étais pas née, soit tu étais toute petite. Il faisait Jerry Spring, Valhardi. Il a même fait des planches de Blueberry pour aider son “élève” Jean Giraud qui était en retard…
      Pour le soin, on va essayer, mais c’est surtout toi. Biz.

  2. My father is an artist, or at least he was until dementia began to take hold.
    He painted in oils and water colours.
    He must have painted hundreds over the years. I have a few if his pieces here ,but I’m told there are many that will be bequeathed to me eventually!
    I hope the state of ‘eventual’ continues for as long as possible.

    I could never even draw a straight line, so I admire your ability.

    As for your fearful tale … Purrfect!

    • I knew your father was in the UK and you hadn’t seen him in a while., I didn’t know about his dementia. very sorry about that. It’s terrible. And I do hope the “eventual” will last as long as possible…
      As for the lines… you can play the guitar if I recall and I totally suck at it…
      The tale was fun to write…
      Hope all is well with you.
      Cheers mate.

  3. I love the way you built the sketch in lay ers in the same way you built intrigue into the story! What a reveal at the end!!… I am allergic to cats too. Keep up the portrait drawing!

  4. Thanks for a bit of BD lore. Copying is part of learning any art. You have to begin that way—musician, dancer, painter, even author— jusqu’à peu à peu ton propre style en sort.

    I agree with Stella. Very Poe-esque.

  5. always lovely to see your art process Brian👏and also…

    Growling and meowing. Oh! No! Cats. Dozens of cats!

    and you’re allergic no doubt🐈🤧

    sending you joy and vibes for more art making ~ smiles hedy

    • LOL. It could have happened. But then my “model” was not a vampire… And she is the narrator.
      Cats? next? I don’t know. I think that’s what Americans call a cliffhanger…
      She is allergic to cats.
      I don’t know whether there will be a follow-up. 😉

    • Thank you kindly Derrick. Particularly coming from you, I appreciate the “more confident line”. I’m trying to let my hand draw without too much interference from my brain… Looks like there is progress then. (And the story was whispered in my ear by the young woman in the sketch. 😉
      Merci beaucoup. 🙏🏻

  6. Es-tu sûr que c’était bien des chats qui descendaient l’ escalier du château hanté ? N’était-ce pas plutôt des jeunes filles de rêve comme celle que tu as dessinée ?
    Tu as eu de la chance de tomber en panne dans un endroit aussi magique ! 🙂

    • Je ne sais pas. Il faut demander à la narratrice, la jeune femme brune…
      Merci de ta visite et commentaire.
      je suppose que ça va un peu mieux?

  7. Fab drawing, Brian! It matters not where our inspiration comes from, or who teaches us.
    The only formal education I had was in fashion school. We learned to draw tall and skinny women,from a formula.
    I have only begun to enjoy drawing in the last 5-6 years.
    I have only begun to get better in the last 3. xx

    • Agree. Totally. fashion school now? Why am I not surprised. The result is great.
      And I can appreciate your time-frames. (Though “better” is probably earlier than that. The key thing is to enjoy it. I think it shows in the result…) 🙏🏻🤗

    • Oh, and thank you for the “fab”. I’m just trying to let my hand be free. It’s what works the best for me. Your partner is a musician, right? I’m sure he knows what I mean by “let the hand play (draw).
      Be good my dear.

  8. Now that’s how you tell a story. Extremely entertaining and a cliffhanger ending, Brian. Also cats! Unexpectedly delightful. Lately the felines seem to be the flavour of the season. Was watching Love, Death and Robots Vol 3 on Netflix and I’m convinced, cats will outlive us all.

    • Grazie Nilla. I just posted it on Tuesday. I might have had another story in mind. But often a specific story comes to mind, and seems to work with the sketch. 🤗

      • everything good here, thank you! but you did invent something new — at least that I haven’t seen quite as maturely & intelligentsly as you’ve done now — a story that evolves with the pictures

      • Thank you. It sort of goes both ways. Sometimes I have an idea of a story, then I draw/sketch paint. in Barbara, I had to pick to the various stages based on the number of verses.
        Sometimes, the drawing dictate the story, as in FEAR.
        Just havin’ fun. Glad you like it.

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