Blood & Valour Photoshoot #1 – October 27th 2016

In order to create some of the artwork for Blood & Valour, we have been running a series of photoshoots.  Whilst Marcus Pullen’s artwork for the majority of the comic is hand-drawn, Guy Stauber’s elements are created using a mixture of photos and digital manipulation.  Holding our own photoshoots allowed us to get precisely the images that Guy needs to work with.blood-and-valour-shoot

Our first shoot session was with dance practitioner Hayley Barker, and the aim was to create a real world version of The Countess.  One of the key elements of these images of The Countess is her physicality; there are moments where she is using her dark magick, and when all her glamour falls away and she is full of rage.  So it was thinking about the need to capture that physicality that led me immediately to think of Hayley.  I was sure that her experience as a dancer and performer would allow her to capture the essence of The Countess.

Potential costumes were sourced from both the Sarah Siddons Theatre Group in Southampton and The Actors Wardrobe in Wolverhampton.  We had a selection of 8 dresses to choose from, and the final decision on which to use was made on the day of the shoot.  From the moment Hayley put the chosen dress on, it felt like The Countess was coming to life.

4There are four images of the Countess that Guy is creating, a headshot that is incorporated into the cover of the first issue, and three images that fit in the main body of the comic.  The beauty of taking these pictures ourselves is that we could take multiple versions of each image, with slightly different poses, gestures and angles in each.  This has allowed Guy to pick and choose the best images, and in some cases combine multiple elements of different photos to create the final image.

Guy’s artwork is looking fantastic already, and in a future blog we will share Hayley’s reaction to the final images, so keep an eye out for it!

The Actor’s Wardrobe is based in Wolverhampton and offers a bespoke costume hire service, catering to Industry Professionals, Theatre, Film & Television Companies, Drama Groups/Organisations, Educational Establishments and the General Public. Viewing is by appointment only.  For more information check out their website ( or email

The Sarah Siddons Fan Club is a promenade theatre performance company based in Southampton, who create site-specific work based on the history of the site. Their next show, “The Trials of Romsey”, is a Christmas ghost walk held in Romsey on the 12th, 14th and 16th . For more information like the group on Facebook or email:

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