Inspirational Images - Captain Gerard Matrice

Inspirational Images – Captain Gerard Matrice

So, my girlfriend suggested an idea for a series of regular posts on this here website. I’m quite a visual person (despite having literally zero talent in any of the visual arts. Seriously – my stick men are out of proportion) and few things get my imagination fired up more than a really great image or movie. So, twas suggested that I bring some of these to the fore, maybe getting them out to a broader audience and saying a bit about why and how they inspire me.


Captain Gerard Matrice

Captain Gerard Matrice, by John Wigley

Captain Gerard Matrice, by John Wigley

You won’t have seen this picture anywhere, because it was commissioned by me about three years ago from the very talented Mr John Wigley. And, frankly, it is absolutely perfect.

When I first started thinking about writing seriously, my thoughts turned to two areas – writing for Black Library on Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000, and writing steampunk. I’m happy to say that I am still set on my course, and I think I made a good choice.

I’m heavily influenced by the great Bernard Cornwell, and in particular his Sharpe series. My aim for The War of Nations has always been to create, essentially, steampunk’d Sharpe. So I set out to create a character who would be my Richard Sharpe – my main POV character through which I would explore the War of Nations world I was hammering out in my head.

And here he is. When I first started jotting down ideas for the series of novels I will one day write featuring Captain Matrice, I had quite a clear idea of him in my head. However, I wanting to pin him down – I have quite a poor memory, and generally speaking I make a note of just about everything, just in case. As I had such a clear picture, I didn’t want to lose him. So, feeling bold, I turned to the Internet, and commissioned John Wigley (a name I recognised from quite a lot of early Warhammer artwork), who took the paltry paragraph of description I provided him and turned out, well, Captain Gerard Matrice, large as life.

I have a copy of this picture printed out on high-quality paper, waiting to be framed when I finish setting up my study in our flat. Every time I look at it, I want to drive into Word and start writing. The stance, the arrogant, inscrutable expression, everything is exactly right and so exactly the character I think about. I imagine the adventures he is going to have, the knocks he is going to take, the misery I am going to put him through and the ways he is going to weather that misery. In short, the picture makes me want to write.

I doubt this is an uncommon practice (and I would love for anyone who has pictures of their own characters to share them), since having a picture can enhance the mental picture one has of a character so enormously. I’d like to get some more done of other characters and settings I have in mind (frankly, I’d like to be able to draw them myself, but as I said, my stick men are still at the ‘beginner’ level). So, any artist with some time on their hands wants a commission, let me know.

Artwork such as this makes real that which is currently swirling around in my head, urging me to get it down on to the page. I can’t wait to do it.


Please feel free to chime in below with your thoughts on the picture, and with links to those images that get your imagination going. The whole point of this series of posts is to share with you artwork that inspires me, in the hope that it will do the same for you. Please do share those that get you fired up as well.