Monday, June 21, 2010

The best and hugest announcement ever!

I have some very exciting news to share! All 552 of the illustrations I am making for this Moby-Dick project will be collected into a real art book, to be printed by the fine publishers at Tin House Books!

This is really thrilling for me in so many ways. I never ever in a million years would have expected this to happen at all. It certainly wasn’t my intent when I began this project, and even when some friends suggested that I investigate it, I just didn’t think it was a possibility. I think what makes me the happiest about this all is the fact that now anyone and everyone who has been interested in this project can own all of the (eventual) 552 illustrations for a very reasonable and affordable price, right on their own bookshelf to look at whenever they want. The book will be able to stand on its own as an artifact of this endeavor, a permanent record. It is also an honor, and a humbling experience, to be able to contribute something small to the enduring legacy of Herman Melville’s monumental novel.

I don’t have many details yet, but I will continue to share them over the coming months as things become clearer. Right now, at this pace, I expect to finish these illustrations some time in March of 2011. Maybe a bit sooner, maybe a bit later, but too far in one direction or the other. Apparently book publishing, especially for a project of this magnitude, can take some time so the book will not be available until some time in very late 2011 or early 2012. I know that seems a long way off, but when you consider that I’ve just crossed the halfway point in my own illustrations, it actually seems quite soon. More details, such as format, page count, price and so on will follow whenever I learn them.

As always, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to a few people who made this book possible. First, and always, nothing would be possible without the love, support, encouragement, critique and friendship of my amazing wife. I can’t emphasize enough how she is really such a crucial part of this endeavor that it simply wouldn’t be possible without her. Second, I owe an avalanche of thanks to artist and illustrator Sophie Blackall, without whom this book would never have happened. She is such an incredible artist that it still amazes me that she tracked me down and sent me such kind words. But she was really the one that started this whole process and there would never ever have been a book without her putting things in motion. Finally, there are no words adequate to describe the gratitude and affection I have for my agent Seth Fishman of Sterling Lord Literistic. I will be honest, initially I was very reluctant and a bit suspicious of the very concept of an agent, but Seth put up with my seemingly endless questioning and doubt and showed nothing but incredible patience, good humor, warmth and kindness. Through email after email, phone call after phone call, he has shared with me priceless advice and great wisdom and has proven himself to be someone I can trust completely. This project couldn’t be in better hands, and he put in so much hard work to get this through to the publication level it is astonishing. And all because he really believes in this project! That really means a lot to me. Seth is a genius and a great human being and this book is truly his as much as it my own.

Okay, I am going to leave this post up for a few days because I am so excited I want everyone to be able to see the news! As soon as art posting resumes (some time Thursday morning, maybe Friday morning at the latest) I will all at once post the 4 or 5 pieces I will be working on this week. If you have any questions about the book, please don’t hesitate to send me an email and I’ll get back to you right away.

A book! A real art book! Holy smokes! I am still in shock!


  1. WOW!!!

    I will definitely be purchasing this!!

    Congratulations on this awesome news--that is so great!

  2. congrats! that's so exciting!

  3. Congratulations on the book! Richly deserved. I can't wait to see it in person. It's been such an amazing project, and I can only imagine how rewarding it will feel for you to have a real, live book that you can flip through and share with others. And hopefully this is just the beginning...

  4. That's spectacular news!

    I'm glad you found someone willing to publish all your artwork from this project, and I look forward to being able to read the novel with your illustrations right at hand.


  5. This is music to my ears! Can't wait to get my hands on the book!

  6. I'm so happy for you!!
    I knew this would happen
    as soon as I laid eyes on your work!

  7. A very heartfelt congratulations! Having a labor of love published is indeed one of the best events in the life of an artist.

  8. Congratulations Matt! A well deserved honor for someone who is a fantastically inspired artist.

  9. I'm elated! Congrats to you my friend. Well deserved.

  10. dear matt
    congratulations! i was sure this would happen. how could it not?! i too will definitely get the book. can't wait!
    keep on.
    warm thoughts from paris

  11. Sincere and humble thanks to all of you. Your comments mean a lot to me, and it's kind of weird but very cool knowing that some day a book of my art will hopefully be living on all of your bookshelves. I will keep posting details on the progress of the book as I find them out. The next year or two looks to be very exciting and eventful!

  12. Absolutely deserved, no question. Not only for the astounding, unique work itself, but for what an amazing person you are. Even with your joking cynicism, I find you to be among the best, kindest human beings I've had the pleasure to know. Wishing you much luck in its success!

  13. Great news! I'm new to your blog (via a Twitter by my blog poet friend, The Storialist). Your art work is awesome original.

    {If you don't mind, I would like to post some of your art on my blogs, linking back to you, of course.}

  14. Hello Terresa, and thank you very very much for visiting and comenting. Hannah is AMAZING, and an enthrallingly good poet and I always look forward to her commentary.

    And yes, I would be delighted and honored if you shared some of my art on your blogs, thank you very much!

  15. Congratulations, Matt. I've been keeping up intermittently, and whilst catching up on your posts today, I was wondering who would end up publishing this. I'm not surprised at all that a publisher jumped on it, and I'm psyched that I'll be able to have a copy.

    Can I just say also that I hope it's a larger-format book? 9" x 12" or something close to the size of the originals would be primo.

    Cheers from one illustrator of ancient texts to another!

  16. Thank you so much Dan, those are very kind words and coming from an artist and illustrator as immensely talented as yourself it feels rather phenomenal. The whole book thing has really just never stopped astonishing me, and I can't wait to see what my work will look like on the printed page.

    I'm not yet certain what format the puboisher Tin House Books is thinking of yet. I too would love a massive hardcover and I think that would really do the art justice, but with over 550 pieces of art I know that cost is a definite issue. I think they are hoping to keep the book's price at around $40 or less which may have an impact on the size. Hopefully it will stay in print for a while though, and I can see it doing that if it is at a lower price point. I will definitely continue to post details about the book here on this blog as they become known to me. I believe the tentative publication date is some time in October or November of 2011, timed to coincide with the date of the first American publication of "Moby-Dick," which to me is awesome.


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