A Gawain and the Green Knight workbook


Work-books are mostly for play. Of course serious stuff gets done in them, too, but all under the general banner of play. So in this little Moleskin book, I’ll make image after image, most of which won’t have any function other than to serve as warm-ups to the main feature, which will be worked out elsewhere in much larger sketch-books.

Green Knight

So far I’ve only made tiny portraits, though details of costume and armour will also be worked through in the pages, including deciding on whether I’m going for a fourteenth century ‘Age of Chivalry’ look, with Le Morte d’Arthur knights in shining armour and plumed helmets, or take the more austere approach of an earlier age. (Possibly even with a nod to Byzantium.)

Anyway, here’s my starting point.

Green Knight

Green Knight

Variations. Here Gawain wears a coif-de-mailles under a bascinet with a simple, shield-shaped face-guard that lifts up on a hinge.


Soon I’ll be building complex maquettes: Gawain on his steed Gringolet, and a Green Knight with a removable head for the decapitation scene! There is also going to be a model of Camelot. It’s all go!

17 thoughts on “A Gawain and the Green Knight workbook

  1. Dear Clive, just a quick and very belated note to say how much I love that little top sketch of Gawain. This American girl grew up on the Knights of the Round Table and is still entranced – but what I love about the sketch is its freeness and “inner” quality. (I saw Camelot on Broadway when I was in fourth grade – a gift from my grandparents, who knew how much it would mean to me – and will never forget hearing Richard Burton as Arthur, intoning the final soliloquy when everything has fallen to pieces. It was magic, and moved well beyond the usual confines of “musical comedy.”)

    • Beth, life at the Artlog knows no boundaries of time. Things get posted here and people drop by, catch up or are accidentally swept in from elsewhere via Mr Google Search!

      I’m pleased you like the sketch. He is much preoccupying me. I am a little in love with our Gawain.

      Camelot. Yes. I think that there was magic in it, especially with a great actor in the role of Arthur. I saw Lawrence Harvey play it in the West End, round about 1964/5. I loved the music and the design. The latter was incredibly elegant.

  2. Gilgameshian is rather a good word, and I also just loved the film Camelot, it was such a magical place. If I were to choose an image, I think No. 4 seems the most interesting. He’s definitely not the most handsome one, he looks more like a pilgrim in a white robe in an early Stanley Spencer painting to me. Also he looks like he might be quite short, altogether an unlikely hero.

  3. I think I’m in love with Gawain! You have captured integrity, compassion, and wisdom in just a few swift strokes, how DO you do it……?.I like the idea of publishing your little moleskin book, xxxL

  4. Oh this is going to be SUCH a treat. I agree with Maria, being so fond of artists sketchbooks I’d love to see the little Moleskin printed page for page, these portraits are full of such character and charm, I adore them.

  5. ‘A law was made a distant moon ago here
    July and August cannot be too hot
    And there’s a legal limit to the snow here
    In …….!’
    However it emerges it will be from the glorious soup of your imaginings
    Love as ever
    B xxx

  6. Oh my. You’ve shown us here from your mole hill so many variations already. It will be most enchanting to see where you and Gawain and the Knight will merge. Personally I love 2 and 3 of the Knights – I guess they seem very Ur to me, very Gilgameshian (which I think is so sexy and star-born), and yet at the same time very modern. And knowing you I can see already that Gawain two is more likely the gent who is whetting your pen and scissors. What fun we’re going to have witnessing.

  7. My sense of anticipation as you enter the preparatory stages for the ‘Gawain and the Green Knight’ series is akin to knowing that my favourite film director is about to make a movie of my favourite book! I am curious about so many things including how the main characters will look, the costumes; the set dressing; the locations; and the choices you will make in telling the story visually.

    This post has definitely whetted my appetite for the feast I am sure is to come. I particularly like the first sketch of Gawain, but then I do have a soft spot for your Saint George!

  8. I will just say this:
    I already love your little moleskin book, and I hope you make copies of all the pages, and that it, and all other earlier little moleskin books of yours get published in book form. Soon.
    Leonardo’s or Michelangelo’s drawings and sketches are a feast to watch, and help understand their big works better, so…

    • Maria, to produce all the books you would like, there would have to be a department working out of Ty Isaf with nothing to do other than dedicate itself to the publishing and distribution of your wish-list. Unfortunately that department would consist of me and Jack. So, there can be new work, or there can be a book department, and I think I’m going to have to stick with the former.

      But it’s very sweet of you to be so enthusiastic and supportive. Thank you.


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