You all wanted the shopkeeper, here he is!
I was amazed how popular the chap in the pawn shop turned out to be, just a minor role in a prequel chapter, yet everyone who's read his single scene so far has told me how much they like him, or want more with him in
It's lovely, don't get me wrong, I do like when characters strike a chord and seem to immediately come to life like this, it's just a bit unexpected because I wasn't expecting too much fuss over an aging fellow with a dark and grimy sort of shop, heh. So, now he has a name, and an introductory portrait : meet Mr Gerald Finch
For those who haven't yet read the chapter he's in, Gerald runs the notorious Jenks & Tulworthy, a pawn shop and general second-hand-goods emporium in Great Barton (where Ambrose ends up after leaving home - this is where he buys his Blue Coat
). This is the kind of shop where you've a pretty good chance of buying most things, and a lot of things which don't come under the heading of 'most things', too, like a stuffed and mounted wild boar head, an Elizabethan scrying mirror, a prison guard's hat (possibly stolen), a glass eye, and most of the good bits of a microscope in a box marked 'buttons'. Just ask him, he'll help you find it, cos he has a ridiculously good memory for where everything
is in all that mess
His portrait is based on a man I saw on tv (this chap
who did a report on Gardener's World a couple of weeks ago), and immediately thought had the perfect
hair for Gerald...on reflection I decided he also had the perfect face
! An odd way to come up with a character design, admittedly, but a lot of people base faces on favourite and very famous film stars, so I'm just using a more obscure inspiration for mine, heh.
It was a lot of fun drawing an older character for a change, I've wanted to try it for a while now but aging-up an existing boy or girl we know in their twenties seemed much harder than having a fresh start on a whole new older face - this portrait gave me the push to try working on the way faces change and gain new detail with the years, expressive wrinkles and smile lines.
One more point of note, look at his eyes : I'd said I wanted to have a character with odd-coloured eyes but thought it might be too different for different sake
when it's quite a rare phenomenon in real life, but I think I can get away with it by allocating one-brown-one-green to a minor character : he's not a star of the piece with some special unlikely feature to make him stand out, it's just that some people do
end up with eyes like that and sooner or later you meet one, why shouldn't it be the nice chap in the pawn shop?