Monday, January 14, 2013

And the answer is...

Thank you to everyone who took the time to share their thoughts on my next project, both in the comments section of the post below and on my Facebook page. Posing that question online like that was a risk because of the possibility that it could appear that I was pandering. While I will admit that there is a certain degree of egotistical gratification in my ability to ask a question of hundreds of people and receive prompt answers peppered with praise for my art, but my decision as to what project to pursue next had been made quite some ago. First though, your comments.

Neither here nor on Facebook was there significant support for an illustrated version of David Lindsay's A Voyage to Arcturus which makes me sad. I truly love that book, and I think it is a fascinating and intensely visual read. I know that I will illustrate it at some point in my life, although if I do, those illustrations may remain forever unpublished. I am reminded of a conversation I had with my agent shortly after my Moby-Dick in Pictures book had been released. He asked me what I would like to do next and I mentioned several ideas, including Arcturus, which is what I wanted to do most. My agent, who is a genuinely decent human being, said something along the lines of "If you want to do that, I encourage you to. But, no one will publish it, no one will pay you for it, no one has heard of it, and no one cares." His point of view seems to be rather accurate. Still though, that is an idea that is dear to me and it will happen. I just don't know when.

I may be fortunate enough to be doing something visual with Hodgson's The Night Land but this will hopefully involve some collaborators and may contain a musical element as well. I can't say much about this, but that project is definitely incubating.

The Lovecraft thing, while intriguing and a curiosity to me, is more a pleasant diversion. Hopefully I will get a chance to work this some day, but for now it will remain an afterthought.

Some of the suggestions I received in the comments were fascinating. Klaas Smets' remark about David Ohle's phenomenal novel Motorman is almost eerie. That book blew me away when I read it, and it has done so harder and more viciously with each subsequent reading. It's a book that seems to lodge itself in my mind, never too far from my thoughts, and I've considered trying to illustrate it many many times. A few things have stopped me though. First, it would hard. Really really hard to illustrate. Second, David Ohle is still alive and there is a part of me that is terrified of doing something that he would consider either offensive or just lousy and stupid. If he even noticed or cared at all. But that is a strong contender, Klaas, and I wonder if you knew how much that book meant to me?

Jeffrey Meyer's suggestion to try something non-fictional was a pleasant surprise. I've never ever considered that in the past but the idea really has me thinking, particular in regards to Freeman Dyson and perhaps Buckminster Fuller. Maybe.

Ultimately though, my mind had been made up several months ago. Don't take this as some kind of specific or official announcement, especially since there is still a lot of work to be done on the Heart of Darkness book which won't even be published until this fall, but what I'd like to do next is an original story, loosely draped around the story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. It will be visual, although whether it will be a straightforward graphic novel or some other kind of picture story, I haven't yet decided. It will be meant for adults though, and will be about guilt, redemption, war, murder and gardening. I've been thinking about this for months, and I am absolutely terrified since I am not the best writer or comic artist at all, but I think it's a good story, well worth reading, and I think I can pull this off.

So that's where I've been leaning for some time, and now that Heart of Darkness is complete, I can take some time and really think this through. I'll let you know.


  1. forward on! as we say here
    tho your leaning differs from mine - lean on!

  2. I think you'll like what I end up making Lizzy. And I am young, so there is lots of art ahead!


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