Monday, March 19, 2012

My next book: Heart of Darkness

It is with great excitement that I can finally announce that my next published book will be a fully illustrated edition of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness.


I am especially pleased that this edition will contain the full text of Conrad's novel as well as 100 of my illustrations. I am honored once again to be working with publisher Tin House Books, and they did such an incredible job with my book Moby-Dick in Pictures: One Drawing for Every Page that I am confident this book will be a truly unique version. The tentative publication date is October 2013.


The illustrations accompanying this post are from a series of ten pieces I created illustrating Heart of Darkness for an upcoming anthology titled The Graphic Canon, volume 3. These will function more like studies for what I plan to explore with this complete, definitive Heart of Darkness that I've begun work on, so you are seeing what is the beginning of how I want to approach this. Unlike my Moby-Dick illustrations, these new Heart of Darkness pieces will be on plain white paper and will be in a much more consistent visual style.

I'm simultaneously excited and frightened. Heart of Darkness, along with Melville's Moby-Dick, David Lindsay's A Voyage to Arcturus and Mervyn Peake's Titus Groan, is one of the books that has fundamentally shaped my thinking. Exploring it visually like this, journeying through it line by line, page by page, image by image will be extremely intense. Heart of Darkness is such a complex, multi-layered, psychological narrative that the prospect of illustrating it is immensely challenging. And yet I am excited to start, and to share these pieces.

While I shared each and every one of my Moby-Dick illustrations on this blog, at the rate of around one each day, I will only be posting 30 to 50 of the 100 Heart of Darkness pieces. That's primarily because I see the text of Conrad's novel as being an indispensable part of this project and the best way to experience the art will be in conjunction with a reading of the book. Nonetheless, you will still be able to see almost half of the art before the book is out, and I will continue to work on other projects as well.

I do hope you'll continue to visit. I have a few more older pieces of art I'd like to post on this blog for posterity, and you will see a lot of Heart of Darkness this spring and summer. The pace of posting will slow a bit as I spend more time drawing, but that will only make the art more lush.

16 comments:

TOILET WORLD! said...

those 2 drawings there are signs of grand things to come

mordicai said...

Oh man I've mean to hit up Titus Groan for so long!

Buck said...

Looking forward to this, hurrah!

Zach said...

I am so excited! How soon will we be able to pre-order the book? Of course, I'll be watching for updates on your blog. Thanks for all the work you do to share your talent with the world, Matt.

Titus said...

Oh Matt, that's fantastic news.

Rather incredibly, Melville's my number 1, but I have Conrad at number 2. Freaky.

Matt Kish said...

Scrap Princess, many thanks. I'll be honest, this is an intimidating project. The Moby-Dick book grew out of something I was already doing, so this is really the first time I will be creating art specifically for publication. It terrifies me, but I'm up for the challenge as long as it doesn't kill me.

Matt Kish said...

Mordicai, you need to get on that. They are always shelved in fantasy which is odd because there is very little fantastic about them. I suppose if one gets hung up on genre labels they would best be called speculative fiction. Regardless, they are wonderful wonderful books.

Matt Kish said...

Buck, I'm really glad you still check in. I've got a lot more art coming, so I hope you like what you see.

Matt Kish said...

Hello Zach, and thank you for the kind words. I don't imagine pre-orders will even be possible until around a year from now, next spring. Right now, I've got to have the art completed and turned in to Tin House by January 1, 2013. Then a few months for them to design and lay out the book, adding in Conrad's text. Then off to the printers by summer for the October 2013 release. I wil keep the blog updated, and this time I hope very much to have a big gallery show of all 100 pieces in the same space.

Matt Kish said...

Titus, that is a very odd and wonderful bit of synchronicity. I think in some ways, they are very much of a piece, but each has staked his own ground. A friend recently asked me why so many of my favorite stories involve long journeys by water, and I am still pondering that.

Zach said...

Oooh, cool! A big gallery show would be great--especially if it's within traveling distance of little Rhody ;-).

Matt Kish said...

Zach, I would love to get to New England some time. So far, in spite of the obvious connection between 'Moby-Dick" and Nantucket / New Bedford, I have not been able to make it up there. That looks like it might change in July, since I will probably have a chance to travel to Nantucket and talk about my book, but things are still being planned.

As for 'Heart of Darkness,' I have no idea yet where that road will take me, but I will keep everyone posted.

richard said...

this is fantastic news - looking forward to seeing your pictures to this seriously dense text.

I'm starting to think I should do an illustrated Dana's Two Years Before the Mast.

Matt Kish said...

Hello Richard, I'm excited as well although in many ways this project seems, to me at least, significantly more challenging and harrowing than "Moby-DIck." THe text is indeed dense, and it cuts to the very core of the thoughts and ideas that I struggle against. The stasis, the futility, the...well, the darkness. It should be an interesting body of work once I am complete.

Anonymous said...

Best of luck, Matt! I'm sure it will be great.

--Allen Crawford

Matt Kish said...

Thank you Allen, I am very curious to see how this will all look between two covers, definitely.