View Full Version : Dai's Journal

05-04-2012, 01:59 PM
One of my hobbies is pen and paper roleplaying (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabletop_role-playing_game) - we basically sit around a table, everyone with a character to play, one person as the gamemaster who comes up with the situations and gets to play all non-player characters and we tell a story together.

One of the games takes place in Victorian England in 1890 and my character, Dai, is an ex-soldier who spent much of his life in India, but now lives in London. I have to get him out of town for six months or so (to help a story along) and I decided that he'll return to India and he will travel back through Persia and then take the Orient Express back home. All this will take part outside the story we tell, but I decided that I want to create a journal for it. The book will then be a gift for the woman Dai is in love with, I may give the journal to the guy who plays the woman, but I'm not sure yet. depends on whether I feel I can part with it when I'm done :lol:

If you want to follow the story we tell, I blog about it here (http://bookscorpionslair.blogspot.de/search/label/Cat%20and%20Dai)

The journal starts in Varanasi, also known as Benares.

MY source is here (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Early_morning_view_of_ghats_in_Varanasi.jpg), I fudged a bit with the layout of the ghat to keep me from going insane.

05-04-2012, 05:31 PM
Ver-ry interesting. :D This is an awesome idea. I always loved the props and such people brought to gaming.

05-04-2012, 06:37 PM
Hi Jennifer. . . wow, that sounds very fun. I will check out your blog tonight when I am home (just on break now). How many people are in your group that is creating the story?

05-05-2012, 02:50 AM
DrDebby, I love props, they instantly make the story feel much more real.

Rainy: We're three people: the gamemaster, me (Dai) and another player who plays a young woman, Cat. That's fairly small, my weekly gaming group is much bigger, sometimes with up to seven people.

05-05-2012, 06:24 AM
This sounds like an awesome idea. I look forward to following along with the story.

05-05-2012, 08:20 AM
I totally forgot to say: the journal is a 5 x 8.25" Moleskine with 250g paper. I plan to use mainly graphite pencil and FC Polychromos coloured pencils like I did for the first sketch, but there may be the odd watercolour and oil pastels.

05-06-2012, 05:38 AM
Page 2: food!


I got the Aloo Tikki and the halva from Wikipedia and the rest was drawn from life and memory.

05-06-2012, 10:42 AM
and another page

here's a closeup of the woman (a bit dark, sorry)

Flickr has been a great source for images for this, especially since the search includes images with a CC license. Marigold
and woman

I probably can't keep this pace up, but I'm having a blast doing the research and sketching it all. It's a nice challenge to myself and I'm stepping out of my comfort zone (I rarely draw humans for example).

05-06-2012, 03:11 PM
Great drawings and information too. Hope you keep this up as it's very interesting.

05-06-2012, 10:51 PM
Its great that the idea has captured you so well. It is wonderful to feel inspired to create such a great piece of work. I love the information and the drawings. Very nice sketch of the woman.

Joan T
05-07-2012, 12:39 PM
What a fun idea!!! Great job on the sketches and the info on the pages.

05-07-2012, 01:18 PM
Another page, I sketched the snake on my lunch break and finished it after I came home from work.


The man Dai saw die from a snake bite was his friend and partner (the men of the Rifle Brigade (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rifle_Brigade) already worked as sniper and spotter at that time) and to say that snakes are not his favourite animals is a huge understatement. I'm sure he sketched this from the back of the crowd.

Again, my reference images came from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_cobra

05-07-2012, 01:27 PM
Marvelous snake drawing.

05-07-2012, 05:17 PM
Nice drawing of the cobra, I would HOPE that the snakes' mouthes are not sewn shut. That would be very cruel, but then again the irony of India strikes me. Such a colorful country, and oh so cruel the things they do there.

05-07-2012, 09:55 PM
Unfortunately, it's something that is done, although more in Africa than in India as far as I know.

And of course snakes react not to the music, but to the vibration and the movement of the flute (they're deaf), but Dai doesn't know that.

I'm happy you all enjoy the journal so far, thank you for all your comments! :)

05-09-2012, 09:42 PM
Great and interesting idea for a journal - combining it with the RPG. I'll be following along!

05-10-2012, 05:47 AM
When I created Dai, I had a few points to spare (you get a number of points to spend on skills for a character) and I decided that he knew how to ride an elephant. It's not like I'm ever going to use that in our game, but I liked the idea anyway and you never know, it may come in handy after all.

I used a photo I took as reference. Mostly graphite pencils (HB and 2B) and a warm grey CP for skin tone. The writing on the previous page has blended through because I used too much fixative spray. Oh well.

Joan T
05-10-2012, 10:18 AM
Great that you are sketching and keeping up with this.

05-10-2012, 12:57 PM
Oh my, Dai's trip just doubled in length when I found out that there was no way to get through Turkey at that time by train (he's about six months too early or he could take a train for at least half the distance). So I'm off to get some books about Turkey in the library and now the 50 double pages I have left will easily get filled.
Next page will deal with Ganesha, I think, since he's already on the subject of elephants. :)

05-10-2012, 06:54 PM
what an interesting idea :)

05-10-2012, 08:29 PM
Great elephant. This is wonderful combining the real world with the RPG.

05-12-2012, 04:08 AM
So, Ganesha. Dai has adopted quite a few Hindu customs and Ganesha is important to him. Originally, I wanted him to be in India for the Ganesh Chaturthi, a big festival for Ganesh worshippers, but then I found out that at the time, there was no public event like there is today. That would begin in 1893.


my first sketch - I really hate drawing hands and I'm just glad that there are only four. I'm in no hurry to draw Kali.


Somewhere along the way I lost track of the folds in his leg, it looks a bit weird. My reference photo came fro Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ericparker/6837030600/sizes/m/in/[email protected]/

05-12-2012, 05:05 AM
a very good idea. It reminds me of a game called "le Tarot des contes". It's a pack of cards, each card (with abstract shapes) represent either action, character, the beginning or the end of a story... it helps structuring the story. there are rules and playing cards is telling a story.

05-12-2012, 05:14 AM
I know only the classical tarot, that's a neat variation.

05-12-2012, 02:23 PM
Fascinating information. The multi-armed beings have got to be difficult to deal with. You did a great job, I can't even get 2 arms to come out right. :o

05-13-2012, 10:35 AM

The translation of the Ramayana Dai talks about can be downloaded here:
It really is a great story and if you don't feel up to reading it in verse, there are many good re-tellings.

Reference photo from Wikipedia: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1d/Semnopithecus_priam.jpg

05-13-2012, 03:23 PM
Wow. Jennifer, I love the concept of this journal. I used to get into table top roleplaying a lot, just don't have any gamer friends local in San Francisco to start one up again.

That's a great idea to fill your character's down time with a journal of travel to India, and if I was the GM, there would be at least one point in the story where Dai's elephant riding skills would become relevant - perhaps in relation to a zoo or circus that has an escaped one. That's too obvious a plot bunny!

Awesome drawing of Ganesha even if you had trouble with the hands. I had trouble with hands for a long time too, the trick is that less is more, especially with outlining when the line width might be half the width of a finger. Leaving the lines broken and only hinting at them helps, while getting the gesture and shape of the hand as a whole. It's like noses.

Great Hanuman langur too. I recognized it without reading the text. The food and scenery are good too, especially the old woman at the Ganges. Keep going! You've got me hooked on Dai's story now.

05-13-2012, 08:50 PM
More wonderful information. Great Hanuman langur drawing.

05-14-2012, 02:33 AM
Thank you all for your comments :)

Robert, yay, another gamer here at WC :) If you should be in the mood for some gaming, http://www.meetup.com/ is a good place to find groups, I know quite a few people who have found groups to play in with it.

, the trick is that less is more - I'm slowly learning that. I tend to obsess over details and often that doesn't work well at all. But when I just throw down some lines and leave the rest to imagination, I'm always surprised how well that works.

05-18-2012, 10:49 AM

a better look at the sketch

Dai was born in Wales, has lived in India for twentyfive years after joining the army at seventeen and has moved to London only five years ago.

Reference photo from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jal_Mahal_Jaipur.jpg

05-18-2012, 03:14 PM
Great Jal Mahal drawing. Poor Dai, hard to find a place to call home.

05-20-2012, 05:41 AM


Bhalu as in Jungle Book, of course. But it will be another four years until Kipling publishes it, so Dai doesn't know that.

Dancing bears are now illegal in India. The reason why they attack humans is probably that they know us to be predators and sloth bears prefer to fight when confronted with danger.

Ref photos from Wikipedia
and Flickr

42 more pages to go. I think it's time for Dai to leave India and begin the Persian leg of his journey.

05-20-2012, 07:16 PM
More wonderful information. For being a dangerous creature in the wild, it looks so cute!

05-22-2012, 07:45 AM
They look immensely pettable and cute,, but I guess that's only until them come running towards you.

Dai has left India. I almost had a huge anachronism because I drew the Gateway of India
and only realised when I was done that it was built in 1911. Well, at least I did catch my mistake. So instead, I chose a dhow:


Dhows are common ships in that area and have been in use for a very long time. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhow My ref photo is on the Wikipedia page.

05-22-2012, 01:28 PM

I have no idea whether there really is or was a caravanserai at Bushehr, but it seems it was indeed a starting point for travelling inland. Lord Curzon's book on Persia has been invaluable to me in planning the Persian part of Dai's journey and apart from that, it's fascinating to read.

Reference images for the camel once again came from Wikipedia

Joan T
05-22-2012, 02:53 PM
Great pages!!! Keep them coming!

05-23-2012, 08:41 PM
This is a wonderful travel journal. You are really putting a lot of thought and work into each page. Brilliant.

05-24-2012, 04:49 AM
Joan and Debby, thank you :) I love researching stuff and I already learned a lot while doing this journal. It's almost like planning a real trip.

05-24-2012, 08:23 AM
wow, wonderful attention to details and timelines!! I like the dhow boat and all the info you are sharing with each drawing.

05-25-2012, 01:24 PM
Jennifer! I cannot even tell you how much I lovelovelove this! I have longed to start a journal for one of my characters but you actually did it! The details in the writing are so wonderful (yes, I read them all). This is what makes the character come alive! The background of your character is one that I'm particularly interested in since my current favorite character is in a Pathfinder game and she is part Kele****e and Vudrani (Persian and Indian). Great combination of sketches and writing.

Have to say it again. LOVE it! :D

EDIT: Geez, that filter is pretty brutal. Fine, I'll shorten it up to part Kelesh. LOL

05-26-2012, 10:09 AM
Thank you, I'm glad you enjoy it :) I'm also relieved to hear that you can read my handwriting :lol: It's been a while since I wrote that much by hand. I'm having fun coming up with little things that happen to Dai on his way, thinking about what he would find interesting.
He has learned to speak Dari in Afghanistan so he can at least make himself understood in Persia (Dari and Farsi are quite similar) - Dai has a talent for languages and loves to learn them.

The region where he is now (it's August) can have temperatures of up to 36°C. But at least the figs are ripe.
I was inspired by this photo: http://www.flora-iran.com/gallery-p2.html

05-26-2012, 12:19 PM


The creature is a sun spider, also called a camel spider. They are harmless and not aggressive, but they are indeed capable of delivering a powerful bite when bothered. There are many urban legends about them, imcluding the camel killing one.
They are not spiders, but belong to their own arachnid order http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_spider
It looks as though it has ten legs, but the front pair are not legs but pedipalps

I used this as a reference photo
and the colours come from a variety of species that does live in the Near East, the Rhagodia.

Since I don't speak or read Farsi, I looked them up on Wikipedia, then switched to the Farsi Wikipedia and used this site to give me the romanized version of their name
I have no idea how accurate this is, though.

05-27-2012, 10:22 AM


Jrbal are gerbils and these two are Persian Jirds, Meriones persicus. I keep them as pets and they are native to Iran, so of course I had to include them.

05-27-2012, 05:36 PM
Again, this is fascinating. The sketches, the detail. Very interesting. Keep going. :)

05-29-2012, 11:41 AM

Here's a photo of the gate in 1969 before it was completely renewed.
fouman.com/Y/Picture_View-Shiraz_Quran_Gate_1969.htm (http://fouman.com/Y/Picture_View-Shiraz_Quran_Gate_1969.htm)
I couldn't find any older photos and I had to take a guess at the colours and decorations. Here's the current Qur'an Gate: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qur%27an_Gate (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qur%27an_Gate)

I slipped into a verbal anachronism with "way too", but when I noticed it was already too late. I don't pre-write the diary entries because then I am sure to misspell things and I can't erase the ink. Oh well, can't be helped.

Joan T
05-30-2012, 11:22 AM
Nice job on that spider...he doesn't look harmless to me. I like that entry gate too.

05-30-2012, 01:10 PM
Great entry gate.

05-30-2012, 02:16 PM
Fun project! I'll need to read each story page carefully :)

05-31-2012, 09:00 PM
I really liked catching up on your sketches - particularly all the critters!

06-10-2012, 06:51 AM
Joan, Debby, eyepaint, John: thank you for your comments :)

I forgot the journal at Mr Bookscorpion's, so no updates during the week. Now I have it back and I can finally finish the two pages I started last weekend.


The Hafezieh looks different today. The actual tomb of the poet is outside and by now there is a beautiful pavilion built over it that I would have loved to draw. Take a look here:

Here's my reference photo:
Again, I had to take a guess at the actual colours and I fudged a bit with the architecture. But there really is/was an orange grove behind the memorial hall.

I found the poem here:
and I liked it immediately. The other poems I found were either too long to quote or love poems - they are beautiful and worth reading, but Dai doesn't feel up to quote such poetry for Cat. Not yet anyway, with their relationship still unclear and so much still left unsaid.

06-10-2012, 07:25 AM


References from Wikipedia:

and Flickr

I'm still not sure what Dai will do with Shai once he has completed his journey. I don't think he will be able to take her home, that would be far too expensive. But just sell her? I just don't know. But like Dai, I have time to think about it.

06-10-2012, 11:42 AM


There hadn't been any major expedition to Persepolis in 1890, but there was interest in it and archaeologists would visit and do minor excavations, artefacts were brought to museums ect. Herbert Weld Blundell is an actual person, I just took the liberty of preponing his expedition to Persepolis by a year.

Concerning the sketch, I really like using graphite pencil for the shadows and blending it with coloured pencil, it creates a very nice effect I think. I used a 2B graphite pencil and warm grey II CP, with some yellow added to the necks of the eagle-bulls.
Here's my reference:

06-10-2012, 04:21 PM
Glad to see this continuing. Really like the mule picture.

06-11-2012, 02:33 AM
Thank you, Debby :)

I learned just now that the chimaera is a Huma bird: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huma_bird

06-12-2012, 06:57 AM


I found the horse at the website of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. I don't know if it really had wheels, but it does have holes in its legs, so I think it's a good guess. It was found much later than 1890, but I found it so charming that I wanted to include it.

The website has a vast collection of photos from Persepolis and the museum there has a collection of actual artefacts that's well worth a visit from what I have read.

Joan T
06-12-2012, 02:02 PM
I like how the journal is progressing! Keep it up!

06-12-2012, 08:19 PM
A little creativity in the story is good. Like the little toy horse.

06-14-2012, 11:50 AM
Thank you, Debby and Joan. I try to keep the journal as historical correct as possible, but some creative anachronisms I can live with :lol:



Despite (or precisely because) having served the Empire for twenty-five years, Dai is highly critical of it and of the whole thought that countries like India are in need of being brought civilisation. It's something that amazed Cat when they talked about it for the first time, she had until then never given much thought to this. She doesn't necessarily agree with Dai, but it got her thinking.

Reference photo from Wikipedia:

06-14-2012, 06:38 PM
Marvelous journal entry. I agree with Dai about learning a language if you are staying for more than a few days.

06-16-2012, 11:50 AM
Thank you, Debby :) I think it's always much nicer to know at least a few words of the language and usually people are much more ready to make an effort to listen when you try to speak their language.
When I came up with Dai as a character, I decided early on that he would at least speak Hindi - even English is only his second language (after Welsh).


The more I read about and research Iran, the more I want to go there myself. It's a truly beautiful country, I really had no idea. The many Flickr groups collecting photos from Iran, even from specific provinces, are a huge help when I look for inspiration.

Here's my reference for the latest entry:

The flower grows at an height between 1200 and 3000 metres, so no wonder Dai feels short of breath.

06-16-2012, 04:29 PM
Nice flower. Very inspiring, the amount of research you are putting into this.

08-14-2012, 01:20 PM
I took a break from the journal over the summer, but now me and Dai are back in the saddle.


a striped hyena, ref photo from Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidbygott/4046054029/


Khaju Bridge in Isfahan, ref photo from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khaju_Bridge
Take a look at the article to see the whole bridge, it's absolutely gorgeous.

30 pages left in the journal and about 3000 kilometres until Dai reaches Istanbul.

08-14-2012, 05:56 PM
Glad to see you continuing this journal. Great sketches.

08-17-2012, 01:14 PM

I don't know if I got all the fact right about Zoroastrianism, it's quite complex.
Ref photo from Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mehrab1131/4575458387/

08-17-2012, 07:35 PM
Doesn't matter if you have everything about Zoroastiranism correct. It's the understanding of Dai through the journal. It's a marvelous journal page(s).

Joan T
08-18-2012, 12:29 PM
Glad to see you continuing your journal! Nice!!

11-20-2012, 09:43 AM
I bet you thought I forgot about this :D I just haven't been posting, but I've been sketching quite a lot. I'm still not done, but on the last ten pages...I cannot believe it.


a Tower of Silence http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tower_of_silence
reference from Flickr
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/2094523414/

and a pomegranate

reference from Flickr
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/1805929554/
Slavery was still going strong at around 1890 in the area, although it had just been outlawed in the Ottoman Empire (I don't know about Iran) and there had definitely been cases of Europeans finding themselves sold as slaves.

11-20-2012, 07:32 PM
Jennifer, so cool that you are continuing this journal. The bits of information and history along with the illustrations is inspiring.

11-21-2012, 08:08 AM

a Dalmatian Pelican
ref image on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/vorderstrasse/7330839946/

Dai's not kidding about the size of these birds. They can reach a length of up to six feet! That makes them the largest pelicans and one of the largest birds overall. They are also the largest species of bird still capable of flight.

Badab-e Surt (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Badab-e_Surt), a place similar to Mammoth Hot Springs at Yellowstone.
reference on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ninara/4598288079/
I failed miserably at capturing just how spectacular that place really is. Take a look (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Badab-e_Surt_Samaee.jpg)

Mount Damavand
ref on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/hamed/164348283/

11-21-2012, 04:22 PM
More great information and illustrations. This is a fascinating travel log.

11-22-2012, 03:55 PM
just found this journal, brimming with information and super pics. All are great, especially like the story about the elephant and the mahout. look forward to reading/seeing more...

11-23-2012, 02:30 AM
Thank you, Debby and Scattykat :)


Caspian Terns http://www.arkive.org/caspian-tern/sterna-caspia/
ref from Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/caspian_tern/2525383027/
They are quite large birds, around 50cm long, and I don't think being divebombed by them is a very enjoyable experience. Dai seems to agree.

Any bird colony is a noisy place and Caspian Terns have a particularly loud croak, almost like a heron. So sleeping in was no option - not that Dai sleeps very late in any case.
ref from Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/from-me/207455439/

01-03-2013, 09:36 AM
enjoyed catching up with your pics and interesting writings, unique peep into your busy interesting day today life, thanks...

Joan T
01-03-2013, 12:05 PM
Love the writing as well as the sketches!!!

01-03-2013, 04:17 PM
Somehow I had missed seeing your postings in November, so caught up now. Great job on the Caspian Terns - they are a very interesting species.

01-03-2013, 04:27 PM
I am quite certain I commented on the birds when it was posted. But, it seems to have disappeared. :confused: Great bird sketches and beautiful sunrise. Glad to see this continuing.

02-14-2013, 05:49 AM
I'm officially done with the journal :clap: Just wrote the final words and we are going to play Dai's return home and to Cat this evening, so I'll get to see the other player's reaction to it. I can't wait.
I just didn't get around to posting the sketches in the meantime, so I'll do it now.


Rudhkan Castle http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudkhan_Castle
ref photo on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ninara/6038009696/

02-14-2013, 02:00 PM
Congrats on a project finished. The castle ruins are great.

02-15-2013, 04:48 AM
Cat's player was thrilled about the book. He didn't expect it (although almost everyone of our mutual friends knew about it) and it added a nice little touch to our roleplaying session yesterday. But it was much harder than I expected to give the book away. I always planned to do so, but after nine months of carrying it around with me, it feels strange to be done with it.

I learned a lot while creating this journal and the thing that surprised me most is how diverse Iran is. There's everything from deserts to snowcapped mountains to jungles. I'd really love to see it myself one day.

reference on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ghaleye_Rud_Khan_%2840%29_4.jpg

Alamut - I fudged a bit here because in 1890, what little was left of Alamut Castle was certainly not visible from the foot of the mountain. The garden story is almost certainly a myth, like so much else that is being told about the Assassins. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassins
reference on Wkipedia: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Alamut,_Iran.jpg



02-15-2013, 07:18 PM
It's called artistic license. :) These are great pages. And even tho' you gave the book away, you have scanned every page so have a copy of it for yourself as well.

Joan T
02-15-2013, 09:06 PM
Great job on this!!! It is hard to give away a journal. I felt that way when I did the one for the Sketchbook project. You get attached to them.

02-16-2013, 05:07 AM
Very hard to give away, well done!

02-16-2013, 06:55 AM
Thank you all :) I was really surprised how attached I had grown. I had no problems giving away single sketches, but this was different. It was worth it, though.


reference: i147.photobucket.com/albums/r294/jedediah667/Burgers%20Zo... (http://i147.photobucket.com/albums/r294/jedediah667/Burgers%20Zoo/IMG_5818.jpg) own photo, taken at Burgers Zoo in Arnhem
Caspian Tigers died out in the 1970s. They were slightly smaller than Siberian Tigers and more vividly coloured. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caspian_tiger (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caspian_tiger)


reference on Wikipedia: commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TabrizBazar.jpg (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TabrizBazar.jpg)
Perspective is my bane. When I'm done, I can see how it's wrong, but I don't know how to fix it. I'm working on that, though :D

02-16-2013, 04:09 PM
More great pages and story. The tiger in the grass has to be one of my favorites.

02-17-2013, 06:44 AM
I'm glad you like it - I'm kind of meh about the tiger myself, so it's good to hear :)



en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thaddeus_Monastery (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thaddeus_Monastery)
reference: www.flickr.com/photos/af6872/2837436392/in/faves-58702601... (http://www.flickr.com/photos/af6872/2837436392/in/[email protected]/)
This sketch really killed me. I just couldn't get the perspective right of the two towers. In any case, it's a really striking building in real life and not something I would have expected in Iran.


and now Dai is in Turkey. The symbols on the gravestones are pretty weird, there are even more than I drew and they do look like some kind of sun symbols to me.

reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Armenian_gravestones._Lake_Van._.JPG

02-17-2013, 02:04 PM
Your research and combining the images with the journal entries is superb.

02-17-2013, 04:30 PM
wow, on meeting a tiger! - still enjoying your entries, hope you haven't encountered any more bandits...

02-18-2013, 05:37 AM
You have created a fantastic journal! :thumbsup:


02-18-2013, 11:36 AM


reference: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Van_kalesi.jpg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Van_kalesi.jpg)
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_Fortress (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_Fortress)

Isabella Bird is real and she was amazing. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isabella_Bird (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isabella_Bird)
You can download her books for free here: www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/b#a393 (http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/b#a393)
I allowed myself a bit of creative license with her. She did travel through Persia and Turkey, but she took almost the same way as Dai and didn't begin her journey in Turkey. But I wanted to include her in the journey because I admire her very much.

Van Fortress blows my mind. It's so very old and has changed hands so many time, yet still here it stands.



reference: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Urartian_Art_04b~.jpg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Urartian_Art_04b%7E.jpg)
Again, a bit of creative license here. There was no dig at the site of Toprakkale (Van) in 1890, but it had been investigated and there were treasure hunters. Which is how the British Museum and the Hermitage Museum acquired pieces of the same thrones in the 1870s. The little statuette here is now in the Hermitage.

Wikipedia has a whole article dedicated to Urartian art and it's well worth reading, they made such beautiful things. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_of_Urartu

This is my personal favourite of all the sketches, I just like how it came out.

Joan T
02-18-2013, 05:25 PM
You've really done a lot of work for this. Nice!

02-18-2013, 06:37 PM
What a marvelous artifact. Great story you are creating.

02-18-2013, 06:45 PM
Impressive work to get all the additional information about your sketches in here - very fun and informative.

02-19-2013, 05:52 AM
Thanks, I'm glad you're all enjoying the journey with Dai and me :)


Sümela Monastery - I'm not sure I would be up to that climb. I wonder how long it takes to get supplies up there.
reference: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sumela_Showing_Location.JPG (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sumela_Showing_Location.JPG)
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%BCmela_Monastery (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%BCmela_Monastery)



reference: www.flickr.com/photos/superchango/4886109469/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/superchango/4886109469/)
I don't think the Lion's Gate was visible in 1890. But I liked it too much and Hattusa is an amazing place. Excavating began in 1893 and continues to this day. Parts of the city wall certainly were visible in 1890 and it must have been clear that a huge city once stood there.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hattusa (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hattusa)

Turkey begins to look like a great place to spend my holiday at this point. At least I could go there without having to worry about my safety, unlike Iran.

02-19-2013, 03:08 PM
The ruins are fabulous. The monastery is great.

Joan T
02-19-2013, 03:45 PM
I really like this one of the lion's gate!

02-20-2013, 02:50 AM
Thank you, Debby and Joan :)



reference: commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Green76.jpg (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Green76.jpg)
Chameleons don't change colour according to their surroundings, they do it to show their mood. Their courtship displays are especially awesome.
This is en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chamaeleo_chamaeleon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chamaeleo_chamaeleon) - the only chameleon native to Europe. The majority of the species live in Madagascar and there are really spectacular ones out there (including one that could comfortably sit on your thumbnail...as an adult)


reference: www.flickr.com/photos/kkoshy/6919230283/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kkoshy/6919230283/)
An Egyptian vulture, one of the vulture species native to Europe: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_Vulture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_Vulture)
It's a bit overweight.

02-20-2013, 03:19 AM
It must have been hard to part with. Great project!

02-20-2013, 07:51 AM
Thank you :) Cat's player very much appreciates it, so that makes it a lot easier. And I already have the next RPG sketch project lined up, for my own campaign: sketching characters, creatures and locations my players encounter. That should keep me busy :lol:

02-20-2013, 03:19 PM
So cool you've got another project lined up. The chameleon and vulture pages are awesome.

02-21-2013, 04:33 PM


I giggled the whole time I was writing this page. Turtles really have a nasty bite and Dai has taken away quite a scar from this meeting.
Trout tickling is real - you gently stroke the underside of the trout with your fingers, from its tail to the gills and it will freeze. You can then just take it out of the water.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apparent_death (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apparent_death)
reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Caspian_turtle_%28Mauremys_caspica_rivulata%29,_El-Al_river,_Israel.JPG
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mauremys_caspica (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mauremys_caspica)


reference: www.flickr.com/photos/tinou/229061663/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/tinou/229061663/)
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spice_Bazaar,_Istanbul (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spice_Bazaar,_Istanbul)

02-21-2013, 04:51 PM
More wonderful entries. Love the turtle story.

02-22-2013, 10:24 AM
Thank you :)


reference: www.flickr.com/photos/hijukal/4972035842/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/hijukal/4972035842/)
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maiden%27s_tower (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maiden%27s_tower)

reference: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Galata_tower_istanbul.jpg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Galata_tower_istanbul.jpg)
for the cupola on top, which is how the tower looked from 1875-1965:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Galata_Tower.jpg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Galata_Tower.jpg)
The snow story is inspired by something that my mum once told me. She grew up in the Rhine-Ruhr area of Germany during a time when pollution control and smog were terms no-one had ever heard of.

And so we've come to the end of this journey and the journal. From Constantinople, Dai travels by train to London where he sees Cat again and presents her with the journal. The next time we play, he will ask Cat to marry him, but ssshh - it's a secret :D

02-22-2013, 03:25 PM
Beautiful journey and journal.

02-23-2013, 11:39 AM
Thank you, Debby :)

Joan T
02-23-2013, 01:15 PM
Love the creatures!!! I enjoyed reading about the encounter with the chameleon and the turtle.

03-02-2013, 06:29 AM
more lovely pages, I had to laugh at the turtle page, love the lion gate, you see some fab things ...