I have some very exciting news to share! All 552 of the illustrations I am making for this Moby-Dick project will be collected into a real art book, to be printed by the fine publishers at Tin House Books!
This is really thrilling for me in so many ways. I never ever in a million years would have expected this to happen at all. It certainly wasn’t my intent when I began this project, and even when some friends suggested that I investigate it, I just didn’t think it was a possibility. I think what makes me the happiest about this all is the fact that now anyone and everyone who has been interested in this project can own all of the (eventual) 552 illustrations for a very reasonable and affordable price, right on their own bookshelf to look at whenever they want. The book will be able to stand on its own as an artifact of this endeavor, a permanent record. It is also an honor, and a humbling experience, to be able to contribute something small to the enduring legacy of Herman Melville’s monumental novel.
I don’t have many details yet, but I will continue to share them over the coming months as things become clearer. Right now, at this pace, I expect to finish these illustrations some time in March of 2011. Maybe a bit sooner, maybe a bit later, but too far in one direction or the other. Apparently book publishing, especially for a project of this magnitude, can take some time so the book will not be available until some time in very late 2011 or early 2012. I know that seems a long way off, but when you consider that I’ve just crossed the halfway point in my own illustrations, it actually seems quite soon. More details, such as format, page count, price and so on will follow whenever I learn them.
As always, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to a few people who made this book possible. First, and always, nothing would be possible without the love, support, encouragement, critique and friendship of my amazing wife. I can’t emphasize enough how she is really such a crucial part of this endeavor that it simply wouldn’t be possible without her. Second, I owe an avalanche of thanks to artist and illustrator Sophie Blackall, without whom this book would never have happened. She is such an incredible artist that it still amazes me that she tracked me down and sent me such kind words. But she was really the one that started this whole process and there would never ever have been a book without her putting things in motion. Finally, there are no words adequate to describe the gratitude and affection I have for my agent Seth Fishman of Sterling Lord Literistic. I will be honest, initially I was very reluctant and a bit suspicious of the very concept of an agent, but Seth put up with my seemingly endless questioning and doubt and showed nothing but incredible patience, good humor, warmth and kindness. Through email after email, phone call after phone call, he has shared with me priceless advice and great wisdom and has proven himself to be someone I can trust completely. This project couldn’t be in better hands, and he put in so much hard work to get this through to the publication level it is astonishing. And all because he really believes in this project! That really means a lot to me. Seth is a genius and a great human being and this book is truly his as much as it my own.
Okay, I am going to leave this post up for a few days because I am so excited I want everyone to be able to see the news! As soon as art posting resumes (some time Thursday morning, maybe Friday morning at the latest) I will all at once post the 4 or 5 pieces I will be working on this week. If you have any questions about the book, please don’t hesitate to send me an email and I’ll get back to you right away.
A book! A real art book! Holy smokes! I am still in shock!