Friday, February 11, 2011

Favors, selling art, I'm still alive, etc...

It's been about two weeks now since I finished the final illustration. What have I been doing? Well, I've stayed pretty busy but haven't been in the studio at all. The time has been taken up mostly with the day job, spending time with my wife, trying to get to the gym more, struggling to survive the brutally cold temperatures and the ice that covered us for a few days straight (there are still broken trees and branches I have to find the time to cut down and dispose of), shipping off the art that people bought from my Etsy shop (all but one drawing sold, which shocked me) and thinking a bit on what a next project might be. All in all, nothing too eventful, really, although honestly I am still a bit tired.

I never ever expected the outpouring of kindness that my final post elicited. 32 comments! That meant the world to me. Really. Rather than answer every one in that thread and clutter the whole thing up, I've been working on a post to more properly address it. I should be able to share that in a few days. And I still have a few more comments I need to answer on the final illustrations as well. Slowly but surely I will catch up.

So, a few things I do need to update every one on. Quite a few people, who I think might have come to this blog a bit later in the project and understandably missed the "Questions people ask me" post about selling these Moby-Dick illustrations, have written to me to ask if these pieces are for sale. I will be selling almost every single one of them this year, probably in late summer, after the book is ready to be sent to the printers. There may still be a gallery show in Columbus, Ohio but that won't be until the book comes out in October or November. I am going to be selling the majority of the art in my Etsy shop, probably in 50 page chunks. If you'd like me to email you to let you know when I am going to be adding new art to the shop, send me an email ( mattkish87 [at] gmail ) and I will add you to the list. Your email address will be kept totally confidential and I will BCC all the recipients, so your privacy will be protected.

Second, if you are interested in obtaining a specific illustration and you'd like me to hold that for you until I am able to sell, please email me and let me know which one. Regretfully, I can't absolutely guarantee anything, especially if multiple people want to buy the same piece, but I do have a plan to help ease that. What I will do is, when I am able to sell certain pages, I will contact the first person who emailed asking me to hold it and let them know the price. I'll give them a few days to get back to me with whether or not they would like to purchase it. If they decline or don't answer, I will move on to the next person, and so on. Any unclaimed pieces or pieces that don't sell this way I'll just put in the Etsy shop.

I'm sure a lot of you are wondering about what I will charge for the art. Honestly, I don't know that exactly yet, but I can give a few rough guidelines. Simpler pieces and pieces from the first 100 pages or so will probably run between $30 and $60 depending on their size and complexity. Pieces from later in the book will probably be $50 to $90. The larger pieces, generally the ones on the double-sized electrical diagrams which measure 10.5" by 15.5", and the really complex and detailed pieces will probably be $100 to $300. I will definitely work with anyone who is interested to allow for partial payments and shipping all at the same time to save on costs. If you have any questions, please let me know and I'll do my best to answer.

Finally, I have a favor to ask. I am leaning very heavily toward doing an illustration per page of the 1922 Gnostic science fiction novel A Voyage To Arcturus by David Lindsay. It's another book which has always been very important to me and has really shaped some of my thinking. The copy I first read was a beautiful little paperback from the Ballantine Adult Fantasy line, with an amazing cover by artist Bob Pepper. Here it is...

Disappointingly, I loaned it to a friend in college in the early 90s and never got it back. I have a newer trade paperback edition, but the cover is just dreadful. Apparently a lot of people agree with me because I couldn't even find an example of it online and believe me, I looked for a long time.

My favor is this. If any of you out there reading this either have a copy of that Ballantine paperback in good condition that you're willing to part with, let me know and I would be happy to buy it from you. Or if you know where one lies, or regularly haunt used bookstores and have seen a copy, let me know. I know I can get this from a secondhand seller on Amazon for relatively little money (it looks like there are copies available for around $3.50) but I'd rather see if I can get it from one of you first. Somehow I feel like it's a bit more meaningful that way, and I'd rather work through this new illustration project with a Ballantine paperback because that is my first connection with the book.

Alright, more posts coming soon. More art. More Moby-Dick art, more book news...lots of stuff.


  1. Glad to hear what you're up to - I've missed seeing a new piece every day.

  2. Ha! I started to go through the posts to see which pieces I would like you to put me on the list for, and there were so many I gave up. Just let me know when you are ready to start selling them. (I think the most beautiful is p.176, but everyone probably wants that one!)(Especially now that I mentioned it)

  3. I may want to put dibs on a couple of pieces, I'll go through the archives and let you know which I'm interested in.

    I emailed you about that copy of Voyage to Arcturus...
    If the ugly edition of you have is the Bison Frontiers of the Imagination edition, then I'd have to agree! Plenty of great titles in that line, but almost uniformly awful covers (except for Circus of Dr. Lao).

  4. You know, you could/should (?) auction (some of) your art of... maybe like this guy does...

    Firstly, it'd be fair
    secondly, you'll establish market value for your pieces

    Love, love love the project, was following you from early on and actually tried to read some Moby Dick alongside you but got sidetracked and lost the storyflow.
    Will have to give the book a new try soon!

    All the best!

  5. Elizabeth, I had all these visions for what it would be like when I finished. I would have all this free time! I would go yachting, smoke cigars, have drinks with umbrellas in them in some tropical location, and so on. Weirdly, I really missed drawing every day and in some ways I even missed the discipline that the daily grind forced on me. I'm still not ready to jump right back into that now, and it has been wonderful beyond words to spend time with my wife again, but it's time for me to get back to work again.

  6. Sadly or, I guess for me, happily, 176 was popular even before you mentioned it. There are currently 5 people interested in it, although really that's the exception rather than the rule. A very few pages have 2 people expressing interest, a decent number have only one, and honestly hundreds of pages are as yet unclaimed.

  7. Joe, you've got a lot of credit with me so just let me know what you're interested in when you feel like it.

    And yes, that Bison Frontiers edition is awful! Riddled with typos too, some of which even change whole words! All the more reason why the Ballantine edition is superior. And really, I'd buy anything with a Bob Pepper cover illustration.

  8. Projektmanagerin, I do appreciate those suggestions very much. I'd have to think long and hard about auctioning though. I do like that it is a bit fairer, definitely, but I still feel occasionally weird taking money for art because up until now I usually gave it away or traded it for things. I'm not sure if I'll ever get used to selling it and I worry that if I auction it I might seem like I am money-hungry. Which is a weird paradox because I DON'T think that about other artists who auction their art. Much to consider.

    The book collecting all of this art will be out this October or November, so hopefully it will be easier for you to jump back into the novel with the illustrations at your side. That would give me great joy!

  9. That's the same edition of A Voyage to Arcturus that I used to have. I wonder what it was with that particular one - perhaps all the copies have appeared at a séance somewhere and been shredded.
    I did find a different edition, but I'll keep my eyes out for you as well.

  10. Charlie, that would be fantastic. That Ballantine Adult Fantasy line had some of the finest covers ever to grace a paperback, so I think that the remaining copies are generally held on to by their owners. Not necessarily because of any cash or collector's value but because they are wonderful stories with beautiful covers. I'll track this down one way or the other.

  11. hello! hello! hello! lie i said, i would on visits to my own blog, glance and hope yours was not stuck on "task complete" (like "game over") and ahrdly thought to hope when i went this morning after some time away - and so, what a pleasure!
    i too will attempt to scroll through and see what i so wanted to have (some series at times) as drawings appeared.
    for now, just glad to have news of you and know you're well.

  12. Just writing to say congratulations on finishing it: what a mammoth task, and inspiring! I appreciated you being there day after day: although I didn't love every piece, I always loved seeing what you'd done each morning before starting my own work.

    It's an extraordinary achievement. Thank you.

  13. I have the book! I emailed you earlier - please contact me thru that email to let me know how I can get it to you!

  14. One palce i found that has older paperback book is Brattle book shop in boston, they may have a copy



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