Title: Not drowned entirely, though. Rather carried down alive to wondrous depths, where strange shapes of the unwarped primal world glided to and fro before his passive eyes; and the miser-merman, Wisdom, revealed his hoarded heaps; and among the joyous, heartless, ever-juvenile eternities, Pip saw the multitudinous, God-omnipresent, coral insects, that out of the firmament of waters heaved the colossal orbs.
9.5 inches by 6 inches
ink on paper
October 10, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
MOBY-DICK, Page 402
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)
oh i see the same-same eye from your note. i feel at home thereReplyDelete
On the other hand, that is immaculate black and white. One to die for!ReplyDelete
Fantastic. It looks like it should be in a Ditko Dr. Strange comic.ReplyDelete
Lizzy, there is a whole, long amd complex series of recurring visual symbols and motifs in nearly all of my art, going all the way back to my earliest drawings and comics in the 1990s. Developing this personal visual language wasn't intentional, it was something that slowly grew over time. I found myself returning to the same symbols and ideas over and over, and these began to take on personal meanings for me. Careful observers will notice these images recurring, even in a finite project like these "Moby-Dick" illustrations.ReplyDelete
Titus, its funny, I was thinking of this drawing when I read (and commented on) your previous remark about my use of color. This piece was actually about half-drawn at the time of that comment and I thought "I wonder what she'll think of this." While I do delight on confounding people, this actually was not an attempt to be a slippery artist.ReplyDelete
Sean, being mentioned in the same sentence as Steve Ditko is a compliment second only to being mentioned in the same sentence as Jack Kirby. Those are very kind words indeed, my friend. Thank you.ReplyDelete
Alright, a few words about this piece here...ReplyDelete
First, this is another one of my favorite moments from the novel. It is difficult to explain what is happening without launching into a lengthy explanation of the chapter, but I'll try. Due to a hand injury, one of the sailors on Stubb's boat is injured and when this happens, a member of the crew must fill in. Young Pip, a carefree child with no experience whaling, is called upon to fill-in. Pip is terrified of the whales, and on the first attempt to harpoon a whale, Pip jumps overboard in fear. He is rescued by Stubb and Tashtego are furious because they lose the whale. On a second trip out, Pip jumps overboard again. Unwilling to lose the whale, and believing that Pip will be rescued by one of the Pequod's other boats, Stubb orders Tashtego to cut the line and set Pip adrift in the ocean.
Melville does not indicate for how long Pip drifts alone in the ocean, but the text implies that it is a significant length of time. While Pip is adrift, he is exposed to such solitude, such magnificence, and such horror that his soul is forever changed. Melville alludes to Pip's soul being drowned, drifting to the bottom of the ocean where it sees the "strange shapes" of the "primal world," "colossal orbs" and more. When he is finally rescued, Pip is forever changed. To the other sailors, Pip has become an idiot. Ahab senses in him a kindred spirit though, and becomes very protective of little Pip.
A bit more...ReplyDelete
I had been thinking for a very long time about how to approach this image. I was fascinated by Pip's visions, and wanted this piece to really do them justice. At first, I was thinking of doing something more ornamental, similar to some of the early, French fantasy comic work of Philippe Druillet which I adore. But I thought it was crucial that for this piece, I looked only inside myself for inspiration. So with the idea of these visions passing before Pip's staring eye as my starting point, I simply began to draw with the pen. No sketching, no pre-planning...just intuitive drawing.
Initially I was going to add color to this piece to help the viewer to distinguish the creatures from one another more easily. As I finished though, I felt the piece was so beautiful and so textured in black and white that I decided not to color it. My wife remarked that the blackness surrounding Pip's eye was such a stark contrast to the creatures that color would dilute the effect. In the end, I think black and white was the best decision.
The piece is on white paper because, in this case, I did not want any elements from a piece of found paper to clash with the lines I was drawing.
Some of you have occasionally asked about my earlier art and the comics I made. This piece is very similar to them, especially my comics. So this is, in a sense, "vintage Matt Kish art."
Finally, while I absolutely love the line "He [Pip] saw God's foot upon the treadle of the loom, and spoke it; and therefore his shipmates called him mad," which comes just after the line I illustrated, I chose not to illustrate that line for several reasons. First, I wasn't sure if my truly meager artistic abilities were up to it. Second, and more importantly, the artist Robert Del Tredici has already done what to me is the definitive illustration for that line and I simply couldn't get his art out of my head while I was trying to imagine how I would illustrate that line. His is just that perfect. So for now, I'll leave this be although I may come back to it again when this project is finished.
One last thing (I promise)...ReplyDelete
This piece took FOREVER. In spite of being only about 6 inches by 9 inches this took me almost 8 hours of drawing. For me, since I only have at best an hour or two each weeknight to work before I have to go to sleep, that means almost 4 days of work. Honestly, it was starting to really stress me out. A LOT. So I am really relieved to be past it, and that it turned out pretty well.
WHOA! My favorite piece so farReplyDelete
Thank you very much Shan, after pouring myself into this thing for days on end those words are very good to read. There are times when I wish I could have done something like this for every single one of these illustrations, and I occasionally still daydream about that possibility. The only real worry there is that it would take me the rest of my life to finish the book and I'm not yet sure I want to never go outside again.ReplyDelete
Rock! This just goes on forever...ReplyDelete
Just like the drawing of this illustration. Ha!ReplyDelete
Seriously though, I guess my comments did get a bit long, Buck. I probably should have made them a separate blog post, but I'm usually so reluctant to write about that kind of stuff. I feel a little more comfortable putting it in the comments because that way reading my ramblings is optional. I've been thinking about posting more "About this picture" posts, and Daryl L. L. Houston (of the Infinite Zombies blog) has been especially encouraging. We'll see.
WOW! This is easily one of the best yet. The texture on the orbs is lovely.ReplyDelete
Many many thanks, Joe. I actually saved drawing the orbs until the very end because I really love the kind of peace that comes over my brain while I am making all those little stippled dots on the orb. It's kind of a reward for me after the hours of almost agonizing stress and toil drawing monster after monster after monster.ReplyDelete