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First World War Project October Update

Updated: Feb 13

Hi everyone, I wanted to give you all an update on what I’ve been up to and how my new First World War project is going. Last week was a bit crazy with client work so I didn’t have time to update my blog. I am hopeful that I will be able to share the first part of the client project I was working on soon, I am just waiting for the client to announce it first. I did manage to watch 100 Days To Victory on iPlayer that a friend had recommended to me at the weekend. It is a docudrama focusing on the Allies hundred days offensive at the end of the First World War. I’m not really a fan of docudramas as I find the acting is normally terrible but I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in history. I did watch the rugby but the less said about that the better!

Last week I also managed to sketch out my fourth illustration for my new First World War project, which is a map of the first Battle of Ypres. With that map and the first three maps I have already completed I have a good understanding of where this project is at. I also know what I need to do to improve and where the project is going. I know for a lot of the smaller actions of the First World War that are part of larger battles for example, that I don’t need to include as much detail like I did for the Race to the Sea map. I have been able to compile a rough road map for the rest of this year leading up to Christmas, which focuses on the Western Front in 1914. This includes the First Battle of Ypres, that I am working on now. Then the battles of Langemarck, Gheluvelt, La Bassee, Armentieres and Nonne Bosschen. I am guesstimating that these illustrations will take me until around the 20th of December, then I have three options for the new year.

Option one would be to produce a map on the next chronological battle on the Western Front in 1914, which would be the Battle of Hill 60. I know I have missed some battles and I do plan on revisiting them. I wanted to start with battles that were well known as it is easier to research them which allows me to focus on the design. I will be illustrating the sieges of Liege, Antwerp and Maubeuge.

Option two is to jump forward in the war and illustrate the second and third battles of Ypres, and the minor actions around them. This would mean I have completed most of the battles around the Ypres salient. This would allow me to understand how a series of maps based on the same piece of land would work and that knowledge would be useful going forwards. It would help to influence the multiple battles around Amiens and Mons for example.

Option three is to illustrate the Cloth Hall in Ypres in 1914. The photos and videos of the Cloth Hall are some of the most iconic and destructive images of the First World War. This would allow me to break up the map illustrations with one of my architectural drawings. I can also use it as a way to show the destruction the war caused on one small town in Belgium. For each battle of Ypres I will illustrate the Cloth Hall, from a fully intact building in 1914 to a ruined building in 1917.

Once I have finished the first Battle of Ypres map I am going to start running polls on my Patreon where you can decide which of the smaller actions around Ypres you would like to see me illustrate next. Then I will run a poll on which of the three options you would like me to follow. I hope this gives you a good understanding of the direction of this project and my thought process for the rest of this year and the start of 2024. If you would like to follow me on Patreon and help me decide what I am going to illustrate next then you can follow me here.

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