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.

Friday, March 16, 2012


Illustration for Book III of Robert Kloss' upcoming novel The Alligators of Abraham.

title: And they had alligator for stone, and slime for mortar.

6 inches by 9 inches
ink on Bristol board
December 28, 2011

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Illustration for Book II of Robert Kloss' upcoming novel The Alligators of Abraham.

title: And the alligators went up all over the land, and they rested in the coasts: very grievous were they; before them there were no such alligators as they, neither after them shall be such.

6 inches by 9 inches
ink on Bristol board
December 28, 2011

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Robert Kloss' upcoming novel The Alligators of Abraham is divided internally into three books. The publisher was able to find room for me to include three black and white illustrations as title pieces for each book. Each of the illustrations reflects to some degree my perceptions of and reactions to the themes and allegories in the novel. This is the first of those three...

title: Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.

6 inches by 9 inches
ink on Bristol board
December 27, 2011

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


The editor at Mud Luscious Press and author Robert Kloss both liked first cover rough the best, so that was our weapon of choice. I re-drew it with more polish and here is that process, from black and white to color to final cover. All, of course, done completely by hand, with no computer trickery.

First, the black and white. This is ink on illustration board...

Next, color added. Mostly Winsor & Newton inks laid down with a brush, but some Pentel marker added for highlights...

I was quite nervouse about hand-lettering the title since I had come so far on the finished piece. I knew I only had one chance to get it right so there was a lot of pressure. Fortunately, it turned out exactly how I wanted it to look. This is the finished cover, as it will be printed...

Monday, March 12, 2012


My third and final cover rough for Robert Kloss' upcoming novel The Alligators of Abraham. This image might look slightly familiar to you but I have made no secret of the fact that I frequently draw inspiration from my own art...

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Last fall, I was invited to create a cover and three interior illustrations for Robert Kloss' remarkable upcoming novel The Alligators of Abraham which will be available later this year from Mud Luscious Press. I was absolutely floored by the book, a bizarre and surreal vision of the American Civil War. With alligators. It is an astounding work and a true honor to be a part of.

I sent three cover roughs and then polished one of them for a finished cover, plus three black and white interior pieces. One of the most exciting aspects of this was that I was encouraged to use a hand-lettered font for the title and cover info, not a computer generated font. It's a pleasure to be able to share these. Here is the first cover rough...