• Description
  • FAQ
  • Comments
  • Backers

“Cloudbusting” – a graphic novel

Helen Dearnley

The working title for this graphic novel is “Cloudbusting”

It is written and illustrated by Helen Dearnley BA (hons) Fine Art & Illustration University of Lincoln.

The concept occurred in a dream after going to sleep reading Eric Drooker’s Flood, and conflates the dream alongside real events, following previous research.

Entirely conceived during the 2012 UK floods, and illustrated from the perspective of a single parent searching for work during the age of austerity.

The starting point of Cloudbusting is a dream, in which a female and a male colleague are seen working together, heaving a large, heavy, covered object up a hill. They appear as small silhouettes.

The characters in Kate Bush’s original video have been re-appropriated to place the woman as the “Professor”, and her male colleague working together.

At the point after the government come to destroy the research at the end of the video, the pair are torn apart from each other, the female protagonist finds herself trapped in a vitrine in The Depository. Messages are communicated in dreams represented by blackbirds, and a map is drawn up to plan an escape.

Bereavement causes the vitrine to shift into a vast greenhouse.

From the outside, it appears as The Lake House from the titular film, an entirely imagined place with a tree growing in it. Meanwhile, the male protagonist attempts to use the Cloudbuster in a wintery landscape.

Blackbirds now fly through a frozen day time skyline over the Brayford Pool, and domestic scenes involve a mysterious witch-like adversary that spews paper aeroplanes from her mouth, and is defeated by the three blackbirds, who peck out her eyes, turning her into an umbrella, which is then used to fly from the cuckoo’s nest.

A sequence of images specifically referred to as “Jobkill”, follow on from Hariton Pushwagner’s scenes from the Apocalypse Frieze, and the graphic novel Soft City, documenting experiences searching for work as a single parent, subject to DWP bureaucracy. The female protagonist flies over the city skyline and is shot down by a sniper on the roof of the Jobcentre, finding herself back in The Depository.

Escape from The Depository via a paper aeroplane that cracks the vitrine, and the pair are reunited.

And people walk around the city with their umbrellas, much like Flood, but it is Lincoln, summer, 2012.

Together the pair work on the Cloudbuster, testing out new theories from research gained with its application in snow. But now it is summer, and the city starts to flood. they point the Cloudbuster at a copy of Flood, and the ending changes...


  • LEVEL 1: £3.00 - Cloudbusting graphic novel digital pdf poster

  • LEVEL 2: £5.00 - A3 poster print from Cloudbusting

  • LEVEL 3: £6.00 - PDF digital copy of page 1 and invitation to the launch

  • LEVEL 4: £8.00 - Chapter 1 of Cloudbusting as PDF, invitation to launch

  • LEVEL 5: £10.00 - PDF Cloudbusting mini zine plus above

  • LEVEL 6: £15.00 - Print pre-release copy of chapter 1 of Cloudbusting plus above

  • LEVEL 7: £20.00 - A copy of Cloudbusting, the full graphic novel, invitation to launch

  • LEVEL 8: £30.00 - Limited Edition signed copy of Cloudbusting, invitation to launch

  • LEVEL 9: £50.00 - Signed copy of Cloudbusting with limited edition giclee print, invitation to launch

  • LEVEL 10: £100 - Signed copy of Cloudbusting with framed giclee print, invitation to launch

  • LEVEL 11: £300 - Signed copy of Cloudbusting and illustrator's talk, invitation to launch

  • LEVEL 12: £500 - Signed copy of Cloudbusting and  portrait commission, invitation to launch

Q: Your graphic novel will retail at a much lower price than the price of the prints in the exhibition, is the price too high??

A: The prints exhibited at Wilgress Books are Limited Edition prints.
There are a total of 24 prints.
The price is worked out as the time costs of producing the prints, of selecting which prints to show, editing images for print, sending to the printers, materials costs for prints and framing, putting up the exhibition, the time for the private view and take down of the work.

The cost is worked out via a-n's Artist Fees Toolkit based on a day rate fee, divided by the amount of work for sale, plus a percentage for use of the shop space.

The graphic novel when printed will be mass produced, which will lower the cost of each individual graphic novel according to demand.

If the work shown was original illustrations, the price would be much higher, as the time taken for each individual illustration would be factored in.

Q: Why don't you exhibit original artwork?

A: Because the time costs for producing original work would be far higher than the price of prints, and people don't want to pay the price of original work.

Prints are a more affordable way for you to purchase images, and being limited edition means you get an exclusive piece ahead of the release of the finished work.

Original artwork would be more suited to a gallery.

Q: How long does it take for you to complete each page?

A: It depends on the amount of frames and imagery involved. A one - page single illustration takes one to two hours max.
A series of six or more frames on a page would take at least half a day to draw and ink.
The more detailed double page illustrations take at least a day to illustrate, colour and ink.

Q: You should illustrate more images of Steep Hill, because rich people will buy them.

A: This is not a question, it is your opinion, and there is no evidence of this.
The graphic novel Cloudbusting is located in Lincoln, but it explores many complex issues, and is based on personal experience.
I do not spend all my time going up and down Steep Hill - there is a narrative behind those images that cannot be conveyed by single images alone, but you will have to buy the finished graphic novel to follow the narrative.

Cloudbusting is not targeted at people who would like pretty images of Lincoln to go in their lounge, and for specific requests, you should contact me for separate fine art commissions.

Backers (2)

  1. James pledged £500
    2 years ago
    Level 12
  2. Backer pledged £50
    2 years ago
    Level 9

This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work!

Please upgrade today!