Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Completely self-serving (but still important) post

I do have another blog. That one, simply called Spudd 64 is where I post and talk about all of the non-Moby-Dick related art I am working on. And if you were curious about what I've been up to and what I'll be working on next, read this entry right here. Hope to see some of you old friends from this blog over at the new one!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My art, in Tennessee (again!)...

As I wrote about in this post and this post, prolific and talented writer and blogger Daryl L.L. Houston of Tennessee, has been one of the most encouraging and visible supporters of this Moby-Dick illustration project. It's been fascinating and wonderful for me to see how this project has impacted other people's lives, and in Daryl's case, he was fond enough of one of my illustrations to get a large and fantastically well done tattoo of it on his back.

Naturally it followed that when the time finally came to begin selling this art, Daryl should be the new owner of the original illustration. After all, he partially paid for it in blood, flesh and ink. And so it was with great pleasure that, aside from the tiny handful of illustrations that my wife has claimed, Daryl was the very first person to own a piece of art from this project.

I wrote a small, personal note to Daryl on the back of the piece and he was able to frame the art between two pieces of glass so that both the front and the back will remain visible. Here are two images of it hanging on his wall, above a smaller, alternate Moby-Dick illustration I did that he also owns...

Daryl has also written a very kind post at his personal blog with some amusing details about the tattoo and his wife's reaction to it that you should really read right here.

It's a strange but very good feeling to see one of the real, "official" Moby-Dick drawings finally beautifully framed and hanging in someone else's home. I've already sold the handful of alternate illustrations I did, but I've been holding on so tightly to all the of book illustrations for so very long now that, even though I didn't think it would, it feels very good to let them go to new homes now. Especially if those homes are with people who, like Daryl, have been friends and supporters of this project since the very early days, before it was a book or a gallery show or anything.

I have been mentioned...

Erin Joy, a freelance graphic designer and photographer who was "born in Melbourne, grew up in Hong Kong and studied design in London" has been kind enough to mention this project on her wonderful bsite Between the Neon and the Sea and you can read it right here. Erin's work is quite remarkable as well, and worth a nice long look. Thanks Erin!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Theodor Kittelsen, trolls, and Moby-Dick

I finally found it again! First, look below...

That was my illustration for page 26 of Moby-Dick. The line I illustrated was ...and the nameless, unimaginable, silent form or phantom, to which the hand belonged, seemed closely seated by my bedside. Something about that mention of the "nameless, unimaginable, silent form or phantom" reminded me of an image I had seen as a young boy in a book on fairy tales or fantastic creatures. And today, through a series of strange coincidences, I found that exact image again! It is a piece by the Norwegian artist Theodor Kittelsen and I believe it is titled either "Noekken" or "Nokken" or "The Water Troll" or maybe even "The Water Spirit." Here it is...

Amazing! I remember being almost terrified of that image when I was little. Even now, as a grown man, it still frightens me a bit. Something about that deep, dark water, the weedy head peeking just above the waterline, and those horrifyingly luminous eyes. It has stayed in my mind and haunted me for decades now. And eventually, that 19th century fantasy illustration from what was probably a book on trolls and giants fuelled a part of this Moby-Dick illustration project in 2009. Weird.

Friday, May 13, 2011

My art on the cover of new Tin House Books catalog

I don't Twitter (or Tweet? which is it? ...actually, I don't care) and I pretty much refuse to. Sometimes though, people Tweet (Twitter?) about me and since they're generally pretty nice I like to read them when I can.

So, according to this Tweet / Twitter from my publisher Tin House Books, my illustration for page 534 of Moby-Dick, which you can see right here was used as the cover of the new Tin House Books catalog. Here's a shot of the catalog...

That illustration is easily one of my favorites from the entire Moby-Dick series, and probably one of the best drawings I've ever done. I'm immensely fond of it, and I think it looks quite nice on the cover of that catalog. Hopefully Tin House will send me one so I can take a look for myself. Only 6 more months until the art book hits the shelves!

Friday, May 6, 2011

New cover for the 'Moby-Dick' art book

The folks at Tin House Books have been playing around with some different cover designs for my book Moby-Dick in Pictures: One Drawing for Every Page, and they've come up with a new concept that I am extremely fond of...

If you look closely, you can see that the body of the whale on the cover is comprised of elements and textures from several of my illustrations. This is a beautiful way to integrate the sometimes disparate feel of the illustrations into a cohesive and symbolic whole, and in some ways even mirrors the complex structure of the novel itself. I really liked the old cover, but I absolutely love this new one.