Abarat Insight - Mater Motley

...Delving into the archives at Clive's house, it's always fascinating to come across early sketches and artwork that show how an idea can develop on its way to publication.
With thanks, as ever, to Clive, this page showcases another example of how the images and narrative of Abarat are formed and change in the process of creating the Abarat books...

Mater Motley belongs with that certain class of evil character who carries an air of regality about them. Unashamedly wicked, she lacks the constant dichotomy between light and dark which wages in her grandson, Christopher Carrion.
A queen must be borne aloft by her retinue and as Clive contemplated this image of Mater Motley's arrival at Carrion's tower, he worked through a number of versions of her procession of attendants before finally settling on showing her alone on her animated mummified hand.

Clive Barker - Mater Motley rough

Clive Barker - Mater Motley sketch

Clive Barker - Mater Motley rough

Clive Barker - Mater Motley sketch

Clive Barker - Mater Motley final oil

Mater Motley

Extract from Night Conversations, Abarat Book Two

[Christopher Carrion]'s meditations were interrupted by the sound of barking birds, followed by an eruption of martial drums that echoed back and forth between the towers. He got up and went to the window. Far below him (thirty-seven stories, in fact), a mighty procession, illuminated by inumerable lights, was winding over the rocky landscape and through the arches that lay between the Twelfth and Thirteenth Towers. About half-way down the length of this procession, borne high on a throne set on the severed wrist of an immense mummified hand, which had somehow been given animation, was Carrion's grandmother Thant Yeyla Carrion, commonly known as Mater Motley. She was not wasting her precious time while she travelled but was hard at work sewing by the light of flickering torches. The Prince didn't need to wonder what she was working on; it was always the same obsessive labour. She was sewing together the skins of stitchlings, half-human sacks into which the living mud from the Todo Mines would be poured...

More Abarat insight...

Elathuria and Numa Child, The Wormwood
The Scattamuns, from acrylic to canvas
Three paintings from their original sketches through to the canvas

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