"Get your facts first, than you can distort them as you please."
Okay so maybe you don't have to distort the facts, but when you are turning someone elses words into pictures, it can be challenging!
It all starts with the story and as the idea of "Rupp's Skizzenbuch" developed I read and re-read "The Blue Max" several times ( and will probably read it a few more times before I am through). In the images above I was doing a series of sketches to try and describe the aerodrome located at Beauvin, where a large part of the story occurs, based on the descriptions found in the book.
Over time I developed several key reference documents to make it a little easier to look up the facts. The first is a Simple Chapter Summary of each chapter. The second is a Detailed Chapter Summary that outlines the key events, introduction of characters and sorties flown by the different characters.
Language was another interesting aspect of the novel. We have all seen the military dramas from PBS where all the actors are English so they speak with English accents even if they are playing German military roles. Jack had a creative solution to that problem in the novel. He sprinkled in German words and always put them in italics. In the third document, I put together a German to English Glossary for the words used in the book.
The novel covers a dynamic period of time at the end of World War I from February 1918 through August 1918. There are some specific references to seasons and time that help frame the action. There are some very specific dates or events described like the death of Baron Von Richthofen and the day Bruno Stachel receives the Blue Max. The fourth and final document is a timeline that spreads out the thirty chapters over those seven months. I put the timeline against landmark events of the Great War to have a better understanding of what was going at a broader context as the story developed.
I continue to re-read the novel as I develop the story boards for the journal. Rupp is described as an "old campaigner" as well as a blackmailer, a pornographer and squad informant. He is survivor who sees no glory in the Great War.
Jack gave me plenty to work with!
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