Thursday, March 31, 2011

"Was it not so, O Timor Tom?"

Finally, the second of four drawings of the named whales from chapter 45: The Affidavit. This piece is titled Was it not so, O Timor Tom! thou famed leviathan, scarred like an iceberg, who so long did'st lurk in the Oriental straits of that name, whose spout was oft seen from the palmy beach of Ombay?

12 inches by 8 inches
ink on watercolor paper
March 29, 2011

Available in my Etsy shop.

My book has a cover

For anyone who didn't follow the Tin House Books or Amazon links, and also because it looks fantastic and I wanted to put it right here on the blog, below is the cover to my upcoming art book collecting all 552 of these Moby-Dick illustrations...

Friday, March 25, 2011

Big book news from Tin House!

UPDATE: Some clarification about the Amazon listing for my book. There will actually be two editions. One is a hardcover (which MAY have a slipcase) which is more expensive and is listed here. The other edition is a lower priced paperback which can be seen here. Sorry for any confusion. This was a very pleasant surprise to me as well!

It's just about official now! My publisher Tin House Books now has my upcoming Moby-Dick art book, titled Moby-Dick in Pictures: One Drawing for Every Page listed on their web site in their "Coming Soon" section. And, for the first time, everyone can see the cover. This is tremendously exciting. I'll post the cover here on the blog in a little while, but I feel like Tin House ought to have first dibs on sharing that so if you'd like to see it along with the "Coming Soon" announcement, you can check it out right here.

Amazingly enough, it is also already listed for pre-order on Amazon. It's such an incredibly strange feeling to see myself, and my name, listed on Amazon. No cover there yet, but price and a tentative publication date of October 11. I knew Tin House wanted to shoot for either October or November, with the date timed to coincide with the 160th anniversary of the publication of the novel in England (October) or the United States (November) so this seems right. Anyway, you can see that listing right here.

Holy smokes.

Timor Tom, comin' along...

I had hoped to finish this one last night, but time conspired against me. It's just about finished, and is now only awaiting a more or less monochromatic ocean blue ink wash to give it some color, similar to the warm orange ink wash on Don Miguel, the first piece in this series of four.

So here below is my drawing of the second named whale, Timor Tom. The line that this illustrates come from chapter 45: The Affidavit, and is as follows...

Was it not so, O Timor Tom! thou famed leviathan, scarred like an iceberg, who so long did'st lurk in the Oriental straits of that name, whose spout was oft seen from the palmy beach of Ombay?

Please excuse the slightly cropped scan. I'll have the full color version up tomorrow or Sunday at the latest.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It's over...

S.P.A.C.E. is finally over and life can slow down a bit. For those interested, there are a few photos I took at the show at my other blog here. Could be interesting, could be decide.

Also, the second named whale, Timor Tom, is almost complete. I just need to add a bit of background detail and a blue ink wash. I should have that scanned and posted in a day or two.

Finally, I sold a fairly good amount of art at the show, but there are lots and lots of brand new pieces for sale, many for around $5.00, in my Etsy shop so take a look if you were interested in having something of mine hanging on your wall.

More soon. Book stuff, whale know.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Visit me at S.P.A.C.E. in Columbus, Ohio

The Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo, or S.P.A.C.E. is being held in Columbus, Ohio this weekend and I will have a table there. The show times are 10am to 6pm on Saturday and 10am to 5pm on Sunday. Admission is $5 for one day or $8 for both days. Here's the floor plan...

I will be at that pinkish magenta colored table, which is number 110, near my friends from the PANEL collective. I'm not sure which colors their tables are on this floorplan, but Dara Naraghi, Tom Williams and Craig Bogart will all be at one of them.

So if you're in the area and you've always wanted to meet me, stop on by. I'll have plenty of copies of my new art zine The Solar Brothers, Volume III for sale for $3 and a whole bunch of other original to get rid of too. None of it will be Moby-Dick art since I have to hold on to that until the book has been finalized and sent off to the printers, but there will be a lot of drawings and original comic art. I expect to be able to start selling the Moby-Dick art this summer, which really is just a few months away now.

And if you're having problems finding me, I'll be wearing this lucky hat...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The 'Moby-Dick' art book starts coming together

On Monday night, I came home from work to find a long-awaited package from the publisher Tin House Books sitting on the doorstep. I knew it was coming, but seeing it just sitting there was still thrilling. I grabbed it, ran to the closet studio, dropped it on the drawing table, and took a deep breath. Here is what it was like to open the package. First, the box sitting on my table...

Carefully slicing it open, I awful lot of packing material...

I couldn't get that stuff pulled out and thrown away fast enough, it seemed. Finally though, I got to the contents all carefully stacked and rubber banded together complete with a detailed letter from the folks at Tin House Books...

And here, my friends, is everything there was in the package, carefully removed and spread out on the table waiting for me to dive in. I'll explain each in detail, but here's the rundown. On the far left, you can see the letter. The upper left corner is a bundle of text with illustration titles. The upper right is 2-page spread studies. The far right is a giant mailing envelope with the entire book printed out (no covers yet). Back to the lower left are some tint studies. And finally on the lower right are some promo postcards Tin House is printing up.

First, the tint studies. The art book will actually be printed on a nice, thick, matte-finish paper with a lovely creamy off-white color. It looks really exquisite. One of the issues Tin House ran into was that some of my illustrations were so close to the paper color that the borders of the art were lost. You can actually kind of see what I mean in this photo. The illustration just kind of bled into the page and got lost. Somehow, through digital magic completely beyond me, the art people at Tin House found a way to put down what they called a layer of tint that nicely defines the art without really changing any of the colors in the illustration. They sent me a handful of illustrations printed with and without the tint layer to see which I preferred. The tinted pieces look fantastic.

Here are the text corrections. Lots and lots and lots of red proofreader marks. I've got to go through all 552 very carefully and make sure the text, punctuation, media, dimensions and dates are correct. I'll probably be working on this at S.P.A.C.E. this weekend.

These are the studies for the 2-page spreads. I apologize, I didn't actually take pictures of the spreads. The Tin House people mentioned that the illustrations for page 258 and page 299 were extremely large, yet because of their dimensions they would actually end up being the smallest illustrations in the book. They suggested taht for these two pieces only, the book contain a two page spread. They do look fantastic at this large size. I am concerned that a bit too much of the art may be lost in the gutter between the pages, but we'll see.

The bundle of postcards. These too look really great, and Tin House even did an amazing job designing the back of each. I hope to be able to get some of these myself, and if I can get a decent number I'll post something about sending a bunch of them out to you all.

And finally, the most exciting part by far. Each and every one of the 52 illustrations printed exactly as they will appear in the book. My job is to carefully look at each one and make sure there are no obvious errors or problems as well as to carefully check that the colors are as close to the originals as the printing process will allow. I can't even put into words how incredibly exciting it is to see the whole thing get this much closer to actual publication.

The people at Tin House have just done an astounding job with this book. Everything from the paper to the font choices to the layout is just stellar. The book is really shaping up to be a beautiful object, and I am thrilled beyond words right now. I can't wait to see the final thing and share it with you all!

Monday, March 7, 2011

So what do you think?

It felt very strange to post those Solar Brothers drawings on this blog. For about a year and a half, this blog has really just been about the Moby-Dick illustration project and there didn’t seem to be any room for any other kind of art or writing. Even though the whale illustrations are complete, there is still much to cover since the book will be coming out in October or November, I will be selling almost all of the art starting some time this summer, and hopefully there will be a few gallery shows. So there are reasons to keep the blog going. But I’ve been wrestling with a few issues, and I’d like to write about them here so I can ask for your help. There are three.

Question #1
I’ve been considering just making this blog the home for all of my future creative endeavors. Even though the URL contains the words “Every Page Of Moby-Dick” I’ve seen blogs with stranger names, so that doesn’t seem like a real barrier. I know I will continue to make art and illustrate stories, and it seems a bit schizophrenic to begin a new blog every time I begin a new project. So what do you think? Is there room on this blog for me to continue to share my art and my new projects, or do you think I should simply start another blog for that? I am very curious about your thoughts.

Question #2
The issue of what to tackle next has been hanging rather heavily over me. I had hoped that it wouldn’t become a serious issue, but despite my best efforts it seems to be getting to that point. There are several reasons why. First, as some of you know, I commute 90 minutes one way to work, so I spend at least 3 hours in my car every day. It really is very hard, and the only thing that makes it bearable is that my wife and I are fortunate enough to work the same schedule in the same city, so we carpool and we keep one another sane on the long long drives through the boring southwestern Ohio countryside. Because of that commute, and the normal demands of daily living such as spending time with friends, reading, exercising, doing laundry, and so on, time is an absolutely precious commodity to me. While I have no regrets about the Moby-Dick project, it did completely take over and devour my entire life for over a year. It was hard, it was lonely, and it was incredibly bleak and depressing at times. A big part of that was the pace I set for myself, since from the very beginning I had committed to making one illustration per day. I don’t think I will work at that breakneck pace again for the foreseeable future. But because whatever I decide to do next will undoubtedly take up a sizeable portion of my extremely limited free time, I have to make that choice wisely.

And here is why making a wise choice seems so challenging right now. I had mentioned a few projects I was interested in, such as illustrating other books that were important to me like Lindsay’s A Voyage To Arcturus or Ohle’s Motorman or Eddison’s The Worm Ouroboros or even Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness. I shared that list, and a few other ideas, with a few trusted people who have a good grasp of the book and art market right now and they kindly but firmly indicated that most of the books I was interested in were very obscure and it was highly unlikely that any publisher would be willing to put out a book of the art. Even Heart Of Darkness was labeled as a bit too familiar, and I can really see the sense in that. The publishing industry is a tough place right now. The emphasis is really on digital books, not print books, and there really is so much amazing art and creativity available for free on hundreds of blogs and web sites that it's hard for a publisher to justify shelling out thousands of dollars to print a book when interested viewers can find something free online.

And that’s where I have to make some difficult decisions. I had never set out to be an artist, or a published artist, or an illustrator. I did this all for personal reasons and for a love of making images. Knowing there will be a book of the Moby-Dick art has been a wonderful thing, and no matter what happens after this I will always have that. But I have to decide, do I continue to simply follow my heart and do what I want regardless of how commercial or marketable the results might be? Or do I look at it another way and see this Moby-Dick book as a pathway to greater opportunities which I am very fortunate to have? Either choice involves the sacrifice of time – time I could be spending with my wife or with friends or out in the world. And more than anything in this past year, I missed my wife tremendously. It is fiendishly hard to figure this out, you see. The one thing I do have going for me right now, strangely, is time. For once, I don't have to have a decision made by some kind of deadline but eventually I'll have to figure something out.

Question #3
Finally, my editor at Tin House books has asked me what my plans might be regarding showing this art in galleries. I have no real experience with this, although I would love to show the art far and wide to whoever might be willing to hang it. Does anyone out there have any advice on this, or does anyone know any galleries that might be willing to host me? See, I don’t know if you’re just supposed to visit a gallery with a bundle of art in hand and ask for a show, or if I should be emailing gallery owners across the country or if there is an application process or what. I had always believed that a BFA or an MFA were more or less necessary for any gallery show, but that doesn’t seem to be as much a rule as I had begun.

More people than I ever dreamed now visit this blog and while not all of them comment or email me, many do. That has really been a good thing for me. Kind of transformative, really, in helping me feel a bit more connected with people than I was. So if you are reading this and you have any advice, I’d be grateful. You can leave it in the comments or email me at mattkish87 [at] gmail.

As always, you have my thanks.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Upcoming appearances and the Solar Brothers

Well, it's not exactly Moby-Dick related, nor is it my next project, but I will have a table at the Columbus, Ohio Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo, or S.P.A.C.E. on Saturday March 19th and Sunday March 20th. I've actually been tabling at S.P.A.C.E. for many years now, going all the way back to 2003. I used to make my own comic, called Spudd 64, and in a strange sort of way that's what eventually led me here.

This time around though, I'll have the third volume of a small, handmade art book series I've been doing for the last two years. It's called The Solar Brothers and this will be the third and final volume. It's really just a collection of strange drawings, things I imagine I would see if I could travel to other suns. The whole thing is handmade with cardstock covers that I spraypaint myself, xeroxed interiors, and hand-sewn (by my wonderful wife) Japanese stab bindings. I believe some of you reading this post might have a copy of volume 2 because I sent a few of those out to people that bought some of my art in the last year. Here are some photos of that volume, and this should give you a pretty solid idea of what volume 3 will look like.

First, the cover. What looks like white, or silver, is actually a lovely metallic bronze spraypaint...

The title page. One of the only things I made with the assistance of a computer...

One of the drawings...

And the back cover...

Admission to S.P.A.C.E. is $5 per day, or $8 for both days, so if you're in the Columbus area and want to visit me, stop in and say hello. I promise to regale you with all sorts of stories about this last year and give you some inside info on the upcoming Moby-Dick art book. I'll have a bunch of copies of the new "Solar Brothers" zine for sale, and a lot of non-Moby-Dick art, drawings, paintings and original comic art for sale for pretty cheap.