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Paul’s Petrifying Pics

While studying for a Master of Arts Degree in Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University (where I took part in Jane Roger’s brilliant ‘novel’ class with the now acclaimed writer Marina Lewycka of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian fame) I had the good fortune to share a house with artist, architect and all-round visual arts genius Paul Bower. In the early days of Witchfinder I asked Paul if he would be interested in putting together some art for the project which we could then forward to potential publishers. As it turned out we didn’t get round to using Paul’s beautiful designs but I thought it was about time they were shared with the world. I hope you love these early design pieces as much as I do! 

Here we have Paul’s original concept for the DEMON DOOR from Witchfinder: Dawn of the Demontide. I really love this design: the ancient, geometric patterns, the little demon symbols, the five-pointed star with the ‘DF’ (Demon Father) trident at its centre – it’s even better than I’d imagined it. I remember Paul saying that, if he’d had more time on the piece, he would have included a lot more demon emblems and patterns. It just shows the calibre of Paul as an artist that this was his first attempt at the DOOR and very much a ‘work in progress’!

Here we have Paul’s design for a Chapter header with the ominous figure of Marcus Crowden, the evil Coven Master and main villain from Witchfinder 1. I love the striated etched line effect on this and subsequent pics – almost as if the picture is weeping off the page. Crowden is represented perfectly as the shadowy figure he appears to be in the book, but spookiest of all we have our only representation (to date) of that most dreadful of demons – the Nightmare Box. In the books I often call this the most unnerving of all demons because it is so innocent in appearance – an ordinary-looking cabinet… but inside Jake and his friends find a repository of nightmares. Oh, and it floats!

Here we have Bufo Bufo – the poisonous toad from Hobarron’s Hollow. His venomous tongue can inspire the most horrendous dreams and his poison has been known to kill. Another triumph of unnerving artwork – just look at those mesmerizing eyes!!!

And here we have the lean and mysterious Hobarron Tower, driven into the fabric of the countryside like a new pin, just as I described. What horrors lurk within those gleaming walls?

It is a real shame that we couldn’t use Paul Bower’s brilliant artwork in the finished Witchfinder, but I’m honoured that he has agreed to allow me to show it here for the first time.

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