Thursday, September 30, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 392

Title: Others having broken the stems of their pipes almost short off at the bowl, were vigorously puffing tobacco-smoke, so that it constantly filled their olfactories.

7.75 inches by 10.75 inches
acrylic paint and ink on found paper
September 29, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 391

Title: Drawing across her bow, he perceived that in accordance with the fanciful French taste, the upper part of her stem-piece was carved in the likeness of a huge drooping stalk, was painted green, and for thorns had copper spikes projecting from it here and there; the whole terminating in a symmetrical folded bulb of a bright red color.

8 inches by 10.75 inches
acrylic paint on found paper
September 28, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 390

Title: Coming still nearer with the expiring breeze, we saw that the Frenchman had a second whale alongside; and this second whale seemed even more of a nosegay than the first. In truth, it turned out to be one of those problematical whales that seem to dry up and die with a sort of prodigious dyspepsia, or indigestion; leaving their defunct bodies almost entirely bankrupt of anything like oil.

5.25 inches by 6.5 inches
ink on found paper
September 27, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 389

Title: Presently, the vapors in advance slid aside; and there in the distance lay a ship, whose furled sails betokened that some sort of whale must be alongside. As we glided nearer, the stranger showed French colors from his peak; and by the eddying cloud of vulture sea-fowl that circled, and hovered, and swooped around him, it was plain that the whale alongside must be what the fishermen call a blasted whale, that is, a whale that has died unmolested on the sea, and so floated an unappropriated corpse.

10.75 inches by 7.75 inches
acrylic paint, ink and marker on found paper
September 27, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 086 (re-drawn)

(For various reasons, a handful of these illustrations needed to be redrawn. These are the new versions.)

Title: "Cap'ain, you see him small drop tar on water dere? You see him? well, spose him one whale eye, well, den!" and taking sharp aim at it, he darted the iron right over old Bildad's broad brim, clean across the ship's decks, and struck the glistening tar spot out of sight.

9.25 inches by 6 inches
ink and marker on found paper
September 26, 2010

(Original version below)

MOBY-DICK, Page 052 (re-drawn)

(For various reasons, a handful of these illustrations needed to be redrawn. These are the new versions.)

Title: Nothing exists in itself.

7.75 inches by 10.75 inches
ink on found paper
September 24, 2010

(Original version below)

MOBY-DICK, Page 049 (re-drawn)

(For various reasons, a handful of these illustrations needed to be redrawn. These are the new versions.)

Title: I'll try a pagan friend...since Christian kindness has proved but hollow courtesy.

7.75 inches by 10.75 inches
ink on found paper
September 24, 2010

(Original version below)

MOBY-DICK, Page 033 (re-drawn)

(For various reasons, a handful of these illustrations needed to be redrawn. These are the new versions.)

Title: Each silent worshipper seemed purposely sitting apart from the other, as if each silent grief were insular and incommunicable.

6 inches by 9.25 inches
acrylic paint, collage and ink on found paper
September 20, 2010

(Original version below)

MOBY-DICK, Page 028 (re-drawn)

(For various reasons, a handful of these illustrations needed to be redrawn. These are the new versions.)

Title: However, a good laugh is a mighty good thing, and rather too scarce a good thing...

7.75 inches by 10.75 inches
ink on found paper
September 21, 2010

(Original version below)

MOBY-DICK, Page 024 (re-drawn)

(For various reasons, a handful of these illustrations needed to be redrawn. These are the new versions.)

Title: Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian.

7.75 inches by 10.75 inches
ink on found paper
September 21, 2010

(Original version below)

MOBY-DICK, Page 388

Title: But is the Queen a mermaid, to be presented with a tail? An allegorical meaning may lurk here.

9 inches by 12 inches
collage on construction paper and chipboard
September 26, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 387

Title: "Please, Sir, who is the Lord Warden?"

"The Duke."

"But the duke had nothing to do with taking this fish?"

"It is his."

"We have been at great trouble, and peril, and some expense, and is all that to go to the Duke's benefit; we getting nothing at all for our pains but our blisters?"

"It is his."

"Is the Duke so very poor as to be forced to this desperate mode of getting a livelihood?"

"It is his."

"I thought to relieve my old bed-ridden mother by part of my share of this whale."

"It is his."

"Won't the Duke be content with a quarter or a half?"

"It is his."

6 inches by 8.5 inches
ink and marker on found paper
September 25, 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 386

Title: "De balena vero sufficit, si rex habeat caput, et regina caudam."

Bracton, l 3. c. 3.

Latin from the books of the Laws of England, which taken along with the context, means, that of all whales captured by anybody on the coast of that land, the King, as Honorary Grand Harpooneer, must have the head, and the Queen be respectfully presented with the tail. A division which, in the whale, is much like halving an apple; there is no intermediate remainder.

12 inches by 7 inches
acrylic paint, collage and ink on construction paper
September 24, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 385

Title: What all men's minds and opinions but Loose-Fish?

8.25 inches by 12 inches
ink and watercolor on watercolor paper
September 24, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 384

Title: ...though the gentleman had originally harpooned the lady, and had once had her fast, and only by reason of the great stress of her plunging viciousness, had as last abandoned her; yet abandon her he did, so that she became a loose-fish...

8 inches by 11 inches
collage on wallpaper sample and chipboard
September 23, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 383

Title: I. A Fast-Fish belongs to the party fast to it.

II. A Loose-Fish is fair game for anybody who can soonest catch it.

8.5 inches by 7 inches
acrylic paint, collage and ink on found paper
September 21, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 382

Title: Thus the most vexatious and violent disputes would often arise between the fishermen...

9.25 inches by 6 inches
collage and ink on found paper
September 20, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 381

Title: Almost universally, a lone whale - as a solitary Leviathan is called - proves an ancient one.

8.5 inches by 7 inches
acrylic paint, colored pencil and ink on Bristol board
September 19, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 380

Title: ...he leaves his anonymous babies all over the world; every baby an exotic.

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

Hanging by a thread...

Well, the computer seems to experience the most problems, and makes the most noise, when it is trying to access parts of the drive, or other programs. Going online doesn't seem to present big problems, but opening Fireworks (the program I use to take the scanned images of art, crop them, color correct them, and convert them to JPGs for posting online) really seems to push it to its limit.

Fortunately, today we found a remarkably inexpensive and quite powerful laptop, so things should be okay eventually. The only real complication now is finding another good program to edit my scanned art. I've grown very comfortable with, and fond of, Fireworks but to buy that program now would cost me over $300. That's more than half the sticker price of the laptop, and money I just don't have. I'm investigating some alternatives, but I definitely need something that's more robust than the free photo editing software that comes with most computers. For example, I need some fairly subtle ways to adjust the brightness and contrast, and I need the use of a clone stamp too. We'll see what I come up with.

In the meantime, for now, the old PC and the old scanner seem to be clinging to life, so I was able to get the most recent two pieces scanned and posted. You'll see them both today.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Massive hard drive failure!

Yesterday afternoon, my computer, which had been running a little slow anyway, started making a rather ominous clicking and skipping sound deep in its guts. The problem, almost definitely, is that the hard drive is hanging by a thread and ready to fail at any time.

The good news is that I have everything - well, almost everything - backed up on discs. When I get a new computer, I may have to re-scan a few of the most recent pieces, but beyond that I can simply load back in all the TIFFs and JPGs since those are on disc.

The bad news is this takes time out of the weekend since I will probably have to shop for a new laptop, printer / scanner (the one I have now is reliable but ancient and almost surely will not talk to a new PC) and might delay posting of new art for a day or so while I figure out the details of scanning, editing the images, and so on. I'll be able to post blog entries, just not images, for just a day or three. But I will still be making art and as soon as things are up and running you'll see a big blast of art to get me caught up.

This is frustrating because we have been having minor and major computer problems all year. Honestly this thing is kind of a piece of junk and we will never buy from this awful company again. Ugh.

Wish me luck in the laptop hunt!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 379

Title: In cavalier attendance upon the school of females, you invariably see a male of full grown magnitude, but not old; who, upon any alarm, evinces his gallantry by falling in the rear and covering the flight of his ladies. In truth, this gentleman is a luxurious Ottoman, swimming about over the watery world...

7.75 inches by 10.75 inches
acrylic paint and ink on found paper
September 17, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

A visit to my studio...

Recently a few people have asked me why my "studio" is in a closet. Well, that's kind of a long and personal story, but oddly enough, that tiny studio has become a very comfortable place for me and I actually like it quite a bit better than a large, room-sized studio. It feels very calm, focused, private, and almost embryonic when I am in there and I truly think I do my best work in that small space.

I used to have a blog post somewhere that functioned as a "tour" (ha!) of my studio but now it's gone. I must have deleted it myself, although that is very odd since I, as a rule, don't self-edit these posts. In any case, since a few people asked and since I have rearranged a few things in the studio, I decided it would be a good idea to write up a new studio tour blog post, complete with photographs. This is where almost every single one of these Moby-Dick illustrations from page 65 onward (that's when we moved) has been created. A few were done in hotels while traveling, or at my desk while I was at work. Alright, let's see this place. First, this is what you'd see if you were standing in the bedroom, outside the studio and looking in...

The closet is quite small. Maybe four feet wide and six or seven feet deep. The ceiling is fairly high, which is a little strange, but there is some nice shelving in there which is great for storing art supplies. Okay, first, the walls. I painted them that brilliant turquoise blue on purpose. I love that color and think it's simply beautiful. It reminds me of the ocean, the bright sun, and heat. All of which are very calming to me, and help me settle my mind and focus on the art. You'll get a better glimpse of the precise shade of blue a few photos down. So you can see a few pieces of art on the wall (including a fine and huge portrait of me painted by the inimitable Aaron Cael [blog here and art here]), the drafting table immediately in front of you facing the back wall of the closet, two shelves full of art supplies and books overhead, a string to turn on the light, and an extension cord on the floor for the lamp over the table. Nearly every single night for the last 10 months my wife has seen me sitting in that chair hunched over that table painting or drawing or somehow making Moby-Dick art. Sometimes late into the night. Let's walk inside, shall we?

Ah, yes, it's a bit brighter now. You can see the drafting table a bit better and a small bookshelf, hidden behind the open door, to the right. Down below the table are a few larger pieces of framed art that I picked up over the years and simply have no room to hang. Alright, I know you want to see details, so lean in with me...

Man, look how messy the surface of that table is! Believe me, I am a very tidy person and clean it diligently. But over the years ink has stained it, paints have been ground in to the finish, and bits and pieces of all kinds of other media have somehow left their mark. At first it bothered me because I wanted a pristine surface, but over the last year I have actually become incredibly fond of this table and its well-worn and much-used surface. It's home.

Okay, to the left you can see my Polaroid camera hanging downward as well as the lamp (it came with the table) that I use when I draw. It's to the left because I am right-handed and that way I don't get shadows from my hand across the art while I am drawing. On the left rear part of the table you can see two small incense burners, a collection of cheap acrylic craft paints, a few glasses or cups for brushes, a bottle of sake (inspiration!) and two empty bottles of lime Jarritos soda (my second favorite refreshment, when I let myself indulge in something that sugary). To the right of that is one large resin Buddha with two smaller Buddhas in front of him (one resin, one jade, all three for good luck), a few fortune cookie fortunes stuffed between the figures, a lucky piece of jade I've had for a long time, and two more incense burners. These are the ones I use most often, and when I can I like to burn so much incense the room fills with smoke. It's probably terrible for my lungs, but something about it really transports me to that kind of altered consciousness I sometimes need to make art. I guess it could just be lightheadedness from lack of oxygen though. To the right of that is a roll of toilet paper for blotting up excess ink or paint, an amazing painting of Queequeg on a wooden panel that I bought from good friend the artist Tom Williams, just in front of that painting a "Magic: The Gathering" card game card for a monster called a plague fiend (which is a bit of an inside joke because my wife says it looks like a "mutated ant" which for some reason always makes me laugh a lot), a strange and wonderfully hideously sad-looking clay dragon my mother bought for me many many years ago (you can see his three horns and white eyes), a little canister of incense cones, the rubber "Q" stamp I use on many of the Queequeg illustrations on top of that cannister, one of my two white plastic paint trays, and attached to the right of the table the black plastic tray that holds my charcoals, a few erasers, exacto knives, and assorted supplies I need but don't use regularly.

Finally, on the wall right in front of the table is, at least mentally, the most crucial stuff. See, this is my view every minute that I am in the studio. If I am not looking down at the art I am making, this wall is what I see three feet in front of my face. So what I put there is very important because I am going to spend a lot of time looking at it. What's on the wall has to be interesting, stimulating, centering, and inspiring. Let's start on the left. First, there is a black and white xerox of a photographed portrait of Herman Melville. It's hanging there for obvious reasons, but I do talk to him and he talks back to me. I'd like to think he approves of what I'm doing, but he can be a stern taskmaster. Beneath Melville is my digital watch, which functions as my studio clock since time seems to stand still in there and I could easily see myself working through the night if I didn't pay attention. Right in the middle is a framed and staggeringly beautiful collage entitled "Anamorphic Gate" by my friend the artist Jeffrey Meyer. I've mentioned before how much I love his work, especially his collages, and he has been very kind and encouraging to me, so it's been really enervating to have an original work of art from him hanging right in front of me while I work on my own. To the right of that, at the top, is a small brush-and-ink study I did for page 222. I generally don't do a lot of sketching or studies before I make an illustration, but I was so nervous about using a brush exclusively for an illustration that I felt I really needed to practice. The study, and the finished piece, turned out amazingly well (still one of my absolute favorites from this project) so I keep the study pinned to the wall as a sort of reminder of my triumph. It's a very good memory. Beneath that is a weird painting of a nude, hippie-ish woman that I cut out of a Heavy Metal comics magazine many many years ago and mounted on cardboard. I don't know why I've held on to it so long (other than the fact that it is a very well done painting and the woman is beautiful) but it's always been a part of my studio wherever I've gone. Finally, the last piece of art on the left is a framed photogravure of a Chinese nude by Heinz von Perckhammer. I believe it is originally from a 1928 book, although I have had it framed for many years. It too is exquisitely beautiful and inspirational. Oh, yeah, way down on the floor in the lower right corner is a big wooden art box for carrying supplies when I travel and a blue fabric sack of plastic toy dinosaurs from my 1970s childhood.

I mentioned that the studio is essentially self-contained, even for a room so small, and now I will show you how that can be. Sit down in my chair and look up...

These are the shelves above my head. They are a bit high so I have to get out of the chair and stand up to reach the topmost one. Let's start there. Off to the left, in back, is my photographic enlarger. I used to take a lot of black and white photographs but due to the time and expense of maintaining a darkroom, I don't do so much of that any more. I like to hold on to the enlarger though, just in case I want to go back to that. Right now, it just holds my hat. A little farther forward you can see my can of spray fixative (for charcoal and colored pencil art), a can of house paint that functions as a bookend (good because it's so heavy!), a cereal bowl that I use to collect the colored pencil shavings so I can tidily dispose of them, and a row of all sorts of books that I ended up with from library discards and used bookstores. These are just some of the books I use for this project, although I have stacks and stacks of found paper going back many years from books that were, quite literally, falling apart and impossible to shelve. It's incredibly convenient having these books shelved like this since I can just reach up and pull one down, hunting for a good page to work on.

On the smaller, narrower shelf below is a stack of old magazines and comics to the left. I use paper from these as well, just not as often. There's an assortment of binders, storage bins, and Itoya art portfolios in the back of this shelf, but that's mostly just storage and little-used stuff. In the front are my bottles of ink. From left to right, Higgins, Winsor & Newton, and metallic. I rarely use the metallic ink because it never shows up right in scans or online, but the rest of the bottles I use constantly. And I am diligent about replacing them, in order and all lined up, on the shelf every night when I finish. I maintain a tidy studio.

Now, swivel to the right a bit. Let's see what we have here. On the wall are my templates. I rarely use these any more. A big part of what I hoped to accomplish with this project was to teach myself to trust my hand, whether I am using a pen or a brush. I felt that I had become too dependent on rulers and templates and drawing had become fairly miserable for me. So far, it's been a rousing success and I now officially love using a brush, something which terrified me even a year ago. To the right is a cheap bookshelf stuffed with books I use as inspiration, or just to take a break. It's almost entirely graphic novels. On the bottom shelf are surplus bottles of black ink, a few cans of spraypaint, spray adhesive, and other supplies rarely needed but still important. Way up on the top of the bookshelf is a stack of electronics repair diagrams from the 1960s (still the paper I love drawing on the most), my cup of markers, and a few CDs. I don't know why I keep them in there since I always listen to my iPod. I think it's because I liked the covers and the design.

Look a little farther back, almost over your right shoulder, and you'll see what always gets hidden by the door unless you are in the studio with the door closed.

More books for inspiration. A stack of three white cardboard boxes which hold the zines and comics I've made over the years and occasionally send to friends or people that buy art from me. A stepladder for changing the light bulb and reaching way back on the highest shelf. And a row of short glasses holding colored pencils, other markers, different kinds of pens and a whole motley assortment of art supplies.

So there you have it. My tiny closet studio. It's strange, but it feels like home. Even when I finish this project I will keep using that room to make art. Somehow though, maybe because of the color and the way it reminds me of tropical oceans, I think I will always associate it with these Moby-Dick pieces.

MOBY-DICK, Page 378

Title: The waif is a pennoned pole, two or three of which are carried by every boat; and which, when additional game is at hand, are inserted upright into the floating body of a dead whale, both to mark its place on the sea, and also as token of prior possession, should the boats of any other ship draw near.

7.25 inches by 10.75 inches
acrylic paint, ink and pencil on found paper
September 16, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A few words on today's piece...

For the illustration for page 377, in the post immediately below this, I tried something I had never done before. I have been interested in printmaking for a very long time, and there is something that appeals to me on a very deep level about prints. I like the democratic aspect of printmaking. For many people, price is often a real barrier when purchasing art, and since there is always only one copy of a painting or a drawing or a sculpture, the price tends to reflect this uniqueness. Prints, on the other hand, whether they are silkscreens or etchings or lithographs or woodcuts, can be mass produced in editions of 10 or 50 or even 200. The presence of so many versions of the same image makes the possibility of owning one much more realistic for everyone. Even I own many prints, even from good friends, and very few pieces of original art. I simply can't afford originals most of the time, while I can afford prints.

I have been thinking a bit lately about what I might do once this Moby-Dick illustration project is over, and I think I am going to work on making some prints based on the book. I don't have the money or the space to be able to afford a silkscreen rig or a press, so I am going to begin with woodcuts and linocuts since these can be worked on by hand, with knives and gouges, and printed by hand without a press. In the course of my recent research on printmaking, I came across the monoprint which is something I hadn't known about. In the simplest terms, making a monoprint involves creating images with paints or inks on one surface, generally metal or plexiglass, and then pressing a piece of paper against this surface to transfer the image to the paper. Each monoprint is unique and cannot be exactly reproduced, so in that sense they are more like pieces of original art rather than prints in an edition. Still, there is something about them that is very appealing to me.

The illustration for page 377 is a monoprint. First, I laid down a field of blue acrylic paints and let it dry. Then I painted over that with some watered down white acrylic paint to mask the colors a bit. Next I took a sheet of glossy paper from a catalog, painted the outline of a whale and its tail (bent to the right) in black acrylic paint, and then pressed this glossy page on to the page I had covered with paint. It didn't turn out exactly how I had imagined it would which to me is always delightful. The black paint was rather thick and had already dried in some places, leading to the strangely ghostly, indefinite image you see below. Since this was to illustrate a crazed and wounded whale that had been thrashing about madly, I was actually quite pleased with the shakiness of the lines. Next, I painted the outline of another tail in the center, printed that, and finally painted a third tail angled to the left and printed that. I let the black paint dry a bit, slightly enhanced the ropes and the cutting spades with some dry brushwork, spattered just a very few red ink blood drops on the image (I didn't want to overdo the blood this time) and the piece was finished.

This was a fascinating experience for me, and I'm looking forward to experimenting with monoprints more in future illustrations. Much about this piece surprised me. I was expecting the whale I had painted to reproduce in finer more definitive lines instead of the shaky blobby outline that resulted. But that accident was a good once since I was actually more pleased with the finished image. I imagine that thinner, more watered down paints or perhaps even inks would produce drastically different results. Plus, this monoprint was created using the additive technique, where paint or ink is laid down and printed. The subtractive techique, which involves coating the printing board with paint or ink and then wiping or scratching some of it away before printing could yield even more amazing results.

If any of you have any experience with monoprints or advice on best materials or media to use, I'd be very thankful if you could share it with me.

MOBY-DICK, Page 377

Title: But at length we perceived that by one of the unimaginable accidents of the fishery, this whale had become entangled in the harpoon-line that he towed; he had also run away with the cutting-spade in him; and while the free end of the rope attached to that weapon, had permanently caught in the coils of the harpoon-line round his tail, the cutting-spade itself had worked loose from his flesh. So that tormented to madness, he was now churning through the water, violently flailing with his flexible tail, and tossing the keen spade about him, wounding and murdering his own comrades.

7.75 inches by 10.75 inches
acrylic paint and ink on found paper
September 15, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 376

Title: As when the stricken whale, that from the tub has reeled out hundreds of fathoms of rope; as, after deep sounding, he floats up again, and shows the slackened curling line buoyantly rising and spiralling towards the air; so now, Starbuck saw long coils of the umbilical cord of Madame Leviathan, by which the young cub seemed still tethered to its dam.

5.25 inches by 8 inches
colored pencil on found paper
September 15, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 375

Title: But far beneath this wondrous world upon the surface, another and still stranger world met our eyes as we gazed over the side. For, suspended in those watery vaults, floated the forms of the nursing mothers of the whales, and those that by their enormous girth seemed shortly to become mothers.

8.25 inches by 12 inches
ink and marker on watercolor paper
September 14, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 374

Title: ...then, with the tapering force of his parting momentum, we glided between two whales into the innermost heart of the shoal...

8 inches by 7 inches
acrylic paint and ink on found paper
September 13, 2010

Sunday, September 12, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 373

Title: we thus tore a white gash in the sea, on all sides menaced as we flew, by the crazed creatures to and fro rushing about us...

8 inches by 7 inches
acrylic paint and ink on found paper
September 12, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 372

Title: The compact martial columns in which they had been hitherto rapidly and steadily swimming, were now broken up in one measureless rout; and like King Porus' elephants in the Indian battle with Alexander, they seemed going mad with consternation. In all directions expanding in vast irregular circles, and aimlessly swimming hither and thither, by their short thick spoutings, they plainly betrayed their distraction of panic.

7 inches by 10.25 inches
acrylic paint and ink on found paper
September 9, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 371

Title: ...when all these conceits had passed through his brain, Ahab's brow was left gaunt and ribbed, like the black sand beach after some stormy tide has been gnawing it, without being able to drag the firm thing from its place.

5 inches by 6.5 inches
colored pencil and ink on found paper
September 8, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

More tattoos (not based on my art this time)

Blogger Derek Woods contacted me a few weeks ago to share photos of this phenomenal Moby-Dick-inspired tattoo he’s got growing on his left arm. Derek gave me permission to post a photograph here, so take a look at this...

You can see a bit more over at Derek’s blog, awesomely (and relevantly to Moby-Dick) named theSHARKmassacre here.

The tattoo includes all sorts of brutal and beautiful whale and harpoon imagery as well as the text for the final chapter. It's really visceral and gorgeous, and I'm a bit envious actually. Derek says the tattoo was inked by Jon Mordin at Sid's Tattoo Parlor in Santa Ana, California. Between Derek’s piece and the amazing tattoo that blogger Daryl L. L. Houston just got (an image based on my illustration for page 131, which still just blows me away with how cool it is to know my art is actually on someone else)...

...I’m getting monstrously inspired to add some ink to my own skin once I finish this project. Right now I am not sure if I am going to do something based on one of the illustrations I’ve already completed, or if I am going to work with the tattoo artist and build something completely new, but no matter what I choose the tattoo will be related to Moby-Dick and this project.

Derek says there is still a bit more work to be done on his, so as the piece nears completion and he posts more photos, I’ll share the links.

Out of curiosity, does anyone else out there have a Moby-Dick-related tattoo? And are there links where I might be able to see it and possibly share it here? No worries if you'd prefer to keep it private, I won't post anything without explicit permission from you. But I think it would be fascinating to see some of them.

MOBY-DICK, Page 370

Title: ...a continuous chain of whale-jets were up-playing and sparkling in the noon-day air.

8 inches by 7 inches
ink and marker on found paper
September 7, 2010

The poet JoAnne McKay, and my art

Scottish poet JoAnne McKay contacted me a bit ago asking if she could use some of my illustrations in her newest collection, a stunningly gorgeous little book titled Venti. I was a bit shocked since I have never been asked to share my work quite like this before, but it was very easy to say yes because JoAnne's poetry is simply remarkable. Jagged, yet clever, rich and gorgeous but never too full of itself. I always feel as if I am very poor with words, and I am certainly no reviewer, but you can (and definitely should) visit JoAnne's blog, intriguingly titled Titus the dog and read many fine examples of her fantastic verse.

Since this illustration project of mine will be taking the better part of a year and a half, I was stunned at how quickly JoAnne was able to design and assemble her new, handmade poetry book but it is truly a thing of beauty. I am an absolute sucker for handmade art objects like this, and prefer them to anything printed in the thousands by some vast printing press somewhere, regardless of whatever "production values" go into it. So, to borrow a bit from JoAnne's post, the book Venti is a handmade art and poetry book featuring illustrations (a few of my own) and verse from JoAnne with three differently colored covers, a hand-embossed label, each hand-stamped and in its own presentation envelope. It's really just absolutely gorgeous and you can see exactly what I mean, as well as some fantastic photos of the book launch and a poetry reading by JoAnne herself, in this post on her blog. Best yet, she has provided handy links on how to buy, so this is almost certainly your best opportunity to own some of my illustrations for your very own.

JoAnne, I can't thank you enough for including my illustrations in this wonderful collection. I am humbled, and it means a great deal to me.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 369

Title: Hence it is, that, while other ships may have gone to China from New York, and back again, touching at a score of ports, the whale-ship, in all that interval, may not have sighted one grain of soil; her crew having seen no man but floating seamen like themselves. So that did you carry them the news that another flood had come; they would only answer—"Well, boys, here's the ark!"

15.5 inches by 10.75 inches
acrylic paint and ink on found paper
September 6, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 368

Title: For a long time, now, the circus-running sun has raced within his fiery ring, and needs no sustenance but what's in himself. So Ahab. Mark this, too, in the whaler.

9 inches by 12 inches
acrylic paint, ink and marker on found paper
September 5, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 367

Title: Dissect him how I may, then, I but go skin deep; I know him not, and never will. But if I know not even the tail of this whale, how understand his head? much more, how comprehend his face, when face he has none? Thou shalt see my back parts, my tail, he seems to say, but my face shall not be seen. But I cannot completely make out his back parts; and hint what he will about his face, I say again he has no face.

7.75 inches by 10.75 inches
acrylic paint and charcoal on found paper
September 5, 2010

Sunday, September 5, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 366

Title: Standing at the mast-head of my ship during a sunrise that crimsoned sky and sea, I once saw a large herd of whales in the east, all heading towards the sun, and for a moment vibrating in concert with peaked flukes. As it seemed to me at the time, such a grand embodiment of adoration of the gods was never beheld...

8.75 inches by 8.75 inches
ink and marker on found paper
September 4, 2010

Saturday, September 4, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 365

Title: So in dreams, have I seen majestic Satan thrusting forth his tormented colossal claw from the flame Baltic of Hell.

6 inches by 9 inches
ink and marker on found paper
September 3, 2010

Friday, September 3, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 364

Title: Five great motions are peculiar to it. First, when used as a fin for progression; Second, when used as a mace in battle; Third, in sweeping; Fourth, in lobtailing; Fifth, in peaking flukes.

7.75 inches by 10.75 inches
marker on found paper
September 1, 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

MOBY-DICK, Page 363

Title: At the crotch or junction, these flukes slightly overlap, then sideways recede from each other like wings, leaving a wide vacancy between. In no living thing are the lines of beauty more exquisitely defined than in the crescentic borders of these flukes.

7.75 inches by 10.75 inches
ink on found paper
September 1, 2010