I'll be honest with you, I don't normally do a lot of research when it comes to backgrounds or settings---unless I'm illustrating a specific product or location---but on this, my biggest solo project by far, I decided I wanted to take my time and produce panels of art that people wanted to come back to and look at again and again; or just stare at it.
One of my earliest influences was Asterix the Gaul. I loved these books for the very same reason I've just given above: that being the desire to come back over and over again just to view his lavish illustrations. Now I'm not saying I'm on the same level as Albert Uderzo, but if I have to stand on the shoulders of some giant, then I could think of no finer ones than his.
Well, seeing as this was going to be a labour of love with no client commissioning me---and I didn't actually have to do it, I just had an unerring desire to do so---there was absolutely zero pressure on me for the first time in living memory. Therefore, thinks I, why not give it my all and produce the book I wanted to see with all the lavish art that past deadlines had largely prohibited: stand or fall, this was either going to be my finest hour or my greatest disaster.
Anyway. Page 1 went well. I sure as hell did give it my all and here it is, in it's entirety. Ladies and gentlemen I give you the Village of Sleepy Hamlet. Page 1 complete, only 124 to go....whimper.