Tragic Hero Artwork by Ruth Crean: Gertrude Rutch

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We’ve all read endless sci-fi and fantasy with buxom bar wenches and simpering princesses, sadly forests have been destroyed to depict female characters as two dimensional props for the male leads. I talked about how I fell into this trap when I first started writing my book, and have thankfully written and clawed my way out of this pitfall by creating well rounded female characters – or at least I’m trying.

One of these women is Gertrude Rutch; “the busiest feminist icon you’ve never heard of”.

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As usual these drawings are by Ruth Crean, the resident illustrator at Orbis headquarters. She played around with making earthy but functional clothing for her, influenced by all those episodes of Star Trek: Next Generation where all the aliens wear beige drapey fabric – you know the episodes I’m talking about!

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It was a logical decision for Ruth to use herself as a model for this character, as Gertrude more than a little resembled the chronically blunt feminist drawing her. It was vaguely cringe inducing, especially since Gertrude was the first set of drawings that she embarked upon after a long dry spell of no practice. Over time Rutch found her face as Ruth gave into the self immolation.

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