Saturday, July 31, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 329

Title: ...the whale's vast plaited forehead forms innumerable strange devices for the emblematical adornment of his wondrous tun.

3 inches by 5 inches
ballpoint pen on found paper
July 30, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 328

Title: Now, mark. Unerringly impelling this dead, impregnable, uninjurable wall, and this most buoyant thing within; there swims behind it all a mass of tremendous life...

22 inches by 10.75 inches
acrylic paint, colored pencil, ink and pencil on found paper
July 30, 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 327

Title: Wherefore, you must now have perceived that the front of the Sperm Whale's head is a dead, blind wall, without a single organ or tender prominence of any sort whatsoever.

6 inches by 8.5 inches
colored pencil, crayon, ink and marker on found paper
July 29, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 326 (twice)

(This was a strange time. I spent some time working on the illustration for this page, fairly happy with the color scheme and the way it was turning out. Oddly enough, at almost the same instant I completed it, the image for a second version leapt into my mind. It was a simpler and perhaps more cartoony take on the text, but I was very curious as to how it would turn out so I decided to draw an illustration for the same page again. After I finished both, I was torn. I'm not quite sure which I like best. They are both so different, yet I am fond of them both. I will only include one in this series and in the upcoming book though, so I do need to decide. I am leaning slightly toward one of them, while my wife prefers the other one a bit more. Do me a favor and in the comments section, let me know which one you prefer. I'm not promising I will use whichever one gets the most "votes," but I am quite curious to see what your reaction to these images will be. You can comment anonymously, I don't mind at all if you would prefer not to leave a name. I will probably put the one I am not going to use, the "alternate" so to speak, on the Art For Sale page. Oh, the size, media and date are the same for each piece.)

Title: You observe that in the ordinary swimming position of the Sperm Whale, the front of his head presents an almost wholly vertical plane to the water; you observe that the lower part of that front slopes considerably backwards, so as to furnish more of a retreat for the long socket which receives the boom-like lower jaw; you observe that the mouth is entirely under the head, much in the same way, indeed, as though your own mouth were entirely under your chin.

7.75 inches by 10.75 inches
ink and marker on found paper
July 27, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 325

Title: Ere this, you must have plainly seen the truth of what I started with — that the Sperm Whale and the Right Whale have almost entirely different heads.

6.25 inches by 9 inches
ink on found paper
July 27, 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 324

Title: which case you will take great interest in thinking how this mighty monster is actually a diademed king of the sea, whose green crown has been put together for him in this marvellous manner.

9 inches by 12 inches
ink and marker on construction paper
July 25, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 323

Title: Crossing the deck, let us now have a good long look at the Right Whale's head.

11 inches by 8.5 inches
ink and pencil on found paper
July 25, 2010

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 322

Title: But far more terrible is it to behold, when fathoms down in the sea, you see some sulky whale, floating there suspended, with his prodigious jaw, some fifteen feet long, hanging straight down at right-angles with his body, for all the world like a ship's jib-boom.

9 inches by 12 inches
ink on construction paper
July 24, 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 321

Title: But if you now come to separate these two objects, and surround each by a circle of profound darkness; then, in order to see one of them, in such a manner as to bring your mind to bear on it, the other will be utterly excluded from your contemporary consciousness.

10.75 inches by 7.75 inches
ink, marker and pencil on found paper
July 23, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 320

Title: Far back on the side of the head, and low down, near the angle of either whale's jaw, if you narrowly search, you will at last see a lashless eye, which you would fancy to be a young colt's eye; so out of all proportion is it to the magnitude of the head.

11 inches by 8.5 inches
ink on paper
July 23, 2010

Sunday, July 25, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 319

Title: There is more character in the Sperm Whale's head.

6 inches by 8 inches
ink on found paper
July 22, 2010

Saturday, July 24, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 318

Title: And Ahab chanced so to stand, that the Parsee occupied his shadow; while, if the Parsee's shadow was there at all it seemed only to blend with, and lengthen Ahab's.

10.25 inches by 7.25 inches
ink on found paper
July 21, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

About page 317...

The illustration I made for page 317 is a direct homage to an illustration from the Big Little abridged paperback edition of Moby-Dick that I had when I was 9 or 10. That was the first time I had ever read anything connected with Moby-Dick and that little book, as well as many of the incredible illustrations, made a deep and lasting impression on me. I had thought the book lost for all time, and since I didn't know the exact title, nor did I have the ISBN, I gave up searching for it.

Fortunately, soon after starting this blog, new friend Scott B. down in Georgia mentioned he had a copy of the book and would send it my way. Flipping through that little book was an amazing experience, and I truly felt like a little kid all over again.

Here is the incredible illustration from that book that inspired my own piece for page 317...

MOBY-DICK, Page 317

Title: "How old do you suppose Fedallah is, Stubb?"

"Do you see that mainmast there?" pointing to the ship; "well, that's the figure one; now take all the hoops in the Pequod's hold, and string 'em along in a row with that mast, for oughts, do you see; well, that wouldn't begin to be Fedallah's age. Nor all the coopers in creation couldn't show hoops enough to make oughts enough."

10.75 inches by 7.75 inches
ink and marker on found paper
July 20, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 316

Title: "I don't know, Flask, but the devil is a curious chap, and a wicked one, I tell ye."

6 inches by 8 inches
ink and marker on found paper
July 19, 2010

Cheryl Sorg

Artist Cheryl Sorg, who makes art "inspired by (and made from) books" and whose web site is the home for a simply astounding collection of art, was kind enough to leave a comment several days ago and a link to her own Moby-Dick inspired piece. It is something drastically different than my own work, but it is truly breathtaking. I would post an image here, but I think it's important that you see it for yourself on her site and take a long look through her galleries so you can get some sense of context for her work. It is well worth the time, and I am really stunned that a fine artist of her caliber had such complimentary things to say about my own project.

So, Cheryl Sorg's Moby-Dick piece here.

And Cheryl Sorg's online galleries here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 315

Title: "Aye, will I! Flask, I take that Fedallah to be the devil in disguise..."

7.75 inches by 5 inches
acrylic paint, charcoal, ink and marker on found paper
July 18, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 314

Title: So close did the monster come to the hull, that at first it seemed as if he meant it malice...

10.75 inches by 7.75 inches
ink and marker on found paper
July 18, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 313

Title: Now, during the past night and forenoon, the Pequod had gradually drifted into a sea, which, by its occasional patches of yellow brit, gave unusual tokens of the vicinity of Right Whales, a species of the Leviathan that but few supposed to be at this particular time lurking anywhere near.

9.75 inches by 7.75 inches
acrylic paint, ink and watercolor on found paper
July 18, 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I have been mentioned...

Studio 360 With Kurt Andersen, a weekly radio show about arts and pop culture from Public Radio International and WNYC - New York Public Radio, has an incredibly nice piece about this project their blog here. The piece is titled "Drawing On Captain Ahab," and the author Becky Sullivan wrote some very complimentary things about these illustrations. I am always honored when those who write something about this project really spend some time with the illustrations and try to get a sense of what this is all about, and Becky's piece is very perceptive on those fronts. She also delineates the connections this project has to artist Zak Smith and his similar, earlier project creating one illustration for every page of Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. Any time I am even mentioned in the same sentence as Zak Smith is an honor I'm not sure I deserve. He is an astoundingly brilliant and gifted artist and his work, his vision, just blows me away. It's really humbling.

The Studio 360 blog post also re-posts a few of my images and, in an extra cool touch, uses one of my whale illustrations as their current banner logo. I really liked that.

Finally, down near the bottom, there is an embedded player and a link to their American Icons hour deconstructing Moby-Dick with Tony Kushner, Ray Bradbury and Stanley Crouch. It is an absolutely fascinating listen and well worth the time. Check it out.

Thank you Becky Sullivan and Studio 360!

MOBY-DICK, Page 311

Title: ...poor Queequeg, I suppose, only prayed to his Yojo, and gave up his life into the hands of his gods.

5 inches by 7.5 inches
colored pencil, ink, marker and white-out on found paper
July 15, 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 310

Title: So strongly and metaphysically did I conceive of my situation then, that while earnestly watching his motions, I seemed distinctly to perceive that my own individuality was now merged in a joint stock company of two...

8 inches by 12 inches
colored pencil, ink, marker and watercolor on watercolor paper
July 14, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 309

Title: On the occasion in question, Queequeg figured in the Highland costume—a shirt and socks—in which to my eyes, at least, he appeared to uncommon advantage; and no one had a better chance to observe him, as will presently be seen.

7.75 inches by 10.75 inches
colored pencil, ink and marker on found paper
July 13, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 308

Title: He clutched it in an instant, seized the boat-knife, and impaling the letter on it, sent it thus loaded back into the ship. It fell at Ahab's feet.

6.75 inches by 8.5 inches
acrylic paint, ballpoint pen, colored pencil and ink on found paper
July 11, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 307

Title: Next instant, the luckless mate, so full of furious life, was smitten bodily into the air, and making a long arc in his descent, fell into the sea at the distance of about fifty yards. Not a chip of the boat was harmed, nor a hair of any oarsman's head; but the mate for ever sank.

7 inches by 9.5 inches
ink on found paper
July 11, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

I have been mentioned (addendum)

The Abbot of Unreason, a blogger and self-described "tenth-generation American," has also mentioned me in this very kind post. He seems to be contemplating a similar project, described by him (very accurately, I think) as a "challenge," to create a per-page illustration or series of illustrations for a specific book. He invites his readers to suggest titles in his comments section, and there have been some interesting and rather unorthodox responses.

It's really kind of exciting and gratifying to read that this project of mine might spur similar visual explorations for others. As The Abbot mentioned, it certainly brings the reader much much closer to the literature. I don't know if I will ever get thoughts of Moby-Dick out of my head now.

MOBY-DICK, Page 306

Title: "Beware of the horrible tail!"

10.75 inches by 15.5 inches
acrylic paint and ink on found paper
July 11, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 305

Title: He announced himself as the archangel Gabriel, and commanded the captain to jump overboard.

6.75 inches by 8.5 inches
acrylic paint, ballpoint pen, colored pencil, ink and marker on found paper
July 11, 2010

Sunday, July 11, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 304

Title: Pulling an oar in the Jeroboam's boat, was a man of a singular appearance, even in that wild whaling life where individual notabilities make up all totalities. He was a small, short, youngish man, sprinkled all over his face with freckles, and wearing redundant yellow hair. A long-skirted, cabalistically-cut coat of a faded walnut tinge enveloped him; the overlapping sleeves of which were rolled up on his wrists. A deep, settled, fanatic delirium was in his eyes.

6.75 inches by 8.5 inches
acrylic paint, colored pencil and ink on found paper
July 11, 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 303

Title: "...not the smallest atom stirs or lives on matter, but has its cunning duplicate in mind."

3.75 inches by 6 inches
ink on found paper
July 9, 2010

Friday, July 9, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 302

Title: It was a black and hooded head; and hanging there in the midst of so intense a calm, it seemed the Sphynx's in the desert.

5.5 inches by 8 inches
acrylic paint and ink on found paper
July 9, 2010

I have been mentioned...

From time to time, other writers and bloggers mention this project or link to it and they often write some humblingly kind words. I like to thank them when I catch these mentions, and link to them here.

In no particular order...

My illustration for page 297 seems to have been very well-received since a number of people linked to that page or specifically posted that image. Sandy Longhorn, a poet from Little Rock, Arkansas and the owner of the blog Myself the only Kangaroo among the Beauty posted a nice write-up describing her reaction to the project and her general feelings about the novel Moby-Dick right here. It fascinates me how so many people seem to fall into one of two points of view regarding Moby-Dick: they are either passionate about the novel or have never read the entire thing and would do everything in their power to avoid doing so. Some, like Sandy, have mentioned that they plan on tackling the book once more with my upcoming book of illustrations by their side, as sort of a visual guide for their reading. That is an incredible honor, and I hope my illustrations, as personal and eccentric as they may be, can add something to the novel.

Terresa Wellborn, a librarian (like me) and writer (not like me) and owner of the blog The Chocolate Chip Waffle posted a kind entry about me here. She found out about me from her friend, one of my favorite and most frequent commenters, the poet Hannah Stephenson who shares her amazing work at her fine blog The Storialist.

Novelist Justine Kilkerr, from Brighton in the United Kingdom, mentioned me on her Tumblr blog Discombobulated in this post here. It is always very exciting for me when this project travels overseas like this. I know it's the internet, but the United Kingdom seems so far from Ohio that there is still something almost magical about knowing this art has been noticed there.

It's still so strange, but in a good way, to be on the receiving end of so much attention. I do appreciate it enormously and I am grateful to everyone who has noticed this project and mentioned me. I hope these posts never seem self-involved or self-congratulatory in any way. They are not at all supposed to be little arenas for me to crow about myself. I write these "I have been mentioned..." posts simply to thank those that have written about me or linked to me, and hopefully to send some visitors back their way.

I think that is all that has happened recently. I try to catch them all but I worry sometimes I miss someone. Let me know if I do.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 301

Title: ...there, that blood-dripping head hung to the Pequod's waist like the giant Holofernes's from the girdle of Judith.

5 inches by 8 inches
collage and ink on found paper
July 8, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 300

Title: Thus, while in life the great whale's body may have been a real terror to his foes, in his death his ghost becomes a powerless panic to a world.

10.75 inches by 7.75 inches
acrylic paint, charcoal and ink on found paper
July 7, 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 299

Title: Beneath the unclouded and mild azure sky, upon the fair face of the pleasant sea, wafted by the joyous breezes, that great mass of death floats on and on, till lost in infinite perspectives.

30 inches by 10.75 inches
acrylic paint, colored pencil and ink on found paper
July 5, 2010

Sunday, July 4, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 298

Title: ...when seamen fall overboard, they are sometimes found, months afterwards, perpendicularly frozen into the hearts of fields of ice, as a fly is found glued in amber.

8.75 inches by 9.5 inches
acrylic paint, ballpoint pen and ink on found paper
July 4, 2010

Saturday, July 3, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 297

Title: In life, the visible surface of the Sperm Whale is not the least among the many marvels he presents. Almost invariably it is all over obliquely crossed and re-crossed with numberless straight marks in thick array, something like those in the finest Italian line engravings.

5.5 inches by 8.5 inches
ink on found paper
July 3, 2010

Friday, July 2, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 296

Title: Already you know what his blubber is. That blubber is something of the consistence of firm, close-grained beef, but tougher, more elastic and compact, and ranges from eight or ten to twelve and fifteen inches in thickness.

10.75 inches by 7.75 inches
ink and marker on found paper
July 2, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 295

Title: Now as the blubber envelopes the whale precisely as the rind does an orange, so is it stripped off from the body precisely as an orange is sometimes stripped by spiralizing it. For the strain constantly kept up by the windlass continually keeps the whale rolling over and over in the water, and as the blubber in one strip uniformly peels off along the line called the "scarf," simultaneously cut by the spades of Starbuck and Stubb, the mates; and just as fast as it is thus peeled off, and indeed by that very act itself, it is all the time being hoisted higher and higher aloft till its upper end grazes the main-top...

7.5 inches by 10.5 inches
acrylic paint, ballpoint pen and ink on found paper
July 1, 2010

Thursday, July 1, 2010

New post at Infinite Zombies re: Captain Ahab

Sadly the Infinite Zombies group read of Moby-Dick is winding down, but I'll have a few more posts. The most recent one here is all about Captain Ahab, so take a look if you get a chance.