Fuchsia Groan Concept Design from Mervyn Peake’s ‘Gormenghast’ Trilogy

For my Final Major Project of my Degree, BA Make Up and Prosthetics for Performance I have been working on Mervyn Peake’s ‘Gormenghast’ Trilogy again. I have been focusing a lot of designing on the character Fuchsia Groan. She is described as a girl with ‘wild’, ‘inky black hair’ and covers her bedroom top to bottom with drawings. She also spends a lot of her time in her ‘attic of make-believe’. I want her hair to become part of her drawings, ‘coming alive’ with her imagination and moving into the spaces that surround her. The attic (the place she regularly escapes to) is a dark shadowy land where she enters her own world of imagination, a place where she can do and be who she’s wants. When she is there her hair will grow with her imagination and the shadows that fall on the walls will show images of her deep desires for her ‘prince charming’. When she reads her favorite book in the attic the ink from her hair runs down her face, onto her body and makes tattoos on her skin illustrating the writing. I want to capture her creative, passionate personality in all these drawings. As she ages through the text and loses her hope for a better world for herself she finally gives into her loneliness. At this point her hair will start to fall and weigh her down. When she eventually dies/commits suicide the ink will run out of her completely and trickle down her body into the water of the flood.

Her face is ‘in a sense, ugly of face, but with how small a twist might she not suddenly have become beautiful’. I interpreted this quote from ‘Titus Groan’ as her having very out of proportion features, they would look like each ear, nose, mouth… and so on, had come from different people; one of her features alone is perfect but together form a very strange assortment of looks.

Here are some initial concept drawings for the project. I am currently working on making the pieces for this character and trying to find ways to bring her hair alive. Looking at the use of projections, puppetry and stop motion animation. It’s an exciting project and I’m also looking for a photographer to come and photograph the final work. Eventually I want to create the animation I have story-boarded so if any creative people are interested in helping me film, photograph or light this project I would be thrilled to collaborate. Please get in touch and I’ll keep updating on the progress of my work! Contact, gracemccomisky@gmail.com


Wig fully grown


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