Thursday, February 17, 2011

"Was it not so, O Don Miguel!"

As I mentioned before, there are at least a few more pieces of Moby-Dick related art I had wanted to complete before moving on to something new. These are things that I either did not have the time or the room to complete over the course of the general 552 illustration project or pieces that are inspired by the novel but perhaps not directly related to a specific line or scene.

The piece below is the first in a series of 4 drawings that will be based on the named whales from chapter 45: The Affidavit. I already did a piece illustrating this particular whale, "Don Miguel," for page 197 so this is simply another view. The next three will have a similar composition but the whales will look very different and the color palette, while still monochromatic, will vary.

So, the official title of this piece is Was it not so, O Don Miguel! thou Chilian whale, marked like an old tortoise with mystic hieroglyphics upon the back!

12 inches by 8 inches
ink on watercolor paper
February 17, 2011


  1. hi matt kish
    me, i love the gut-like face and broom-like fins
    also have a special story about whales (and specifically whale tatoos - a family affair) so this lone creature suddenly touches me in a special way
    hope you are well and enjoying life-after-moby-dick

  2. Just stumbled upon your artwork. Fantastic!

    I hope some publisher discovers you and asks you to illustrate some special edition of Moby Dick!


  3. Thank you William. This is perhaps the style of drawing I am most comfortable with. It's been with me for a long time. I am looking forward to the other three whales.

  4. Lizzy! Always a pleasure to hear from you, and I especially liked your mention of the "gut-like face." Almost poetic, that!

    Life after "Moby-Dick" has been strange. I have almost been forced to work on a small collection of sketches, a third volume of the "Solar Brothers" handmade zines I've done before, for a small press show here in Columbus in late March. It has been more challenging than I thought because part of me feels like it is looking backwards a bit too much, when I would rather be looking forward. Still, 7 of the 20 drawings are done and I should finish another tonight. I'll post something about the book soon.

  5. Thank you very much for the kind words, bogpod. Fortunately, there is good news related to your comment. Tin House Books, a fine independent publisher based in Portland, Oregon, will be publishing a complete collection of all 552 illustrations in a lovely art book this October or November. It won't contain the complete text of the novel (if it did, the book would probably have to be 1200 pages and a hundred dollars) but it will have all of the art and the lines of text that go with each illustration. I'll be posting news about the book on this blog as it becomes known to me.


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