Monday, January 7, 2008
A few years ago Night Shade Books requested a silver foil illustration for a five-volume collection of William Hope Hodgson's fiction. Much of Hodgson's fiction refers to the sea (he was a sailor) so an imaginative map seemed appropriate. One version of the illustration, with more details and finer lines, was used for the frontispiece. Details were simplified--and the lines thickened--for the dust jacket version which was printed with silver foil. The result was appealing enough to inspire another publisher to contact me about their "silver-foil" dust jacket, an opportunity that I declined. Preparing artwork for silver-foil printing is boring and interferes with my idiosynchratic style of drawing.
Friday, January 4, 2008
This is a preliminary layout which will be replaced (in about three weeks) with the final artwork. The author--Matt Cardin--and the publisher waited patiently for six months while I dawdled, awaiting "sacramental" inspiration. Alas, the Gods do not speak to me on cue. It's better to wait until the right concept materializes. It's better to wait until there is certainty. Otherwise, there's the likelihood of a false start.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
I've had the good fortune to create artwork for books published by Ash-Tree Press. More Tales of the Uneasy, published a few years ago, is a collection of spooky stories by Violet Hunt. The dust jacket for a book of ghost stories doesn't have to include a ghostly figure . . . or any figures, because absence can imply presence. The cottage implies that there is (or was) an inhabitant. The pink bird, so present on the front cover, is mysteriously absent on the back cover. Arguably, an ethereal mystery is evoked. Illustrations can be emblematic. Illustrations that are "narrative-driven" or "narrative-specific" are like a snapshot of an event, which, in a way, refers to photojournalism more than poetry.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Acquainted with the Night was the first in an ongoing series of supernatural anthologies published by Ash-Tree Press. I'm not always a fan of my own artwork. I disliked the figures on the front panel because they are trite, and are generic enough to be Halloween clip-art. As far as I'm concerned, unoriginal equals unintelligent . . . and unintelligent equals unimaginative. Unimaginative work clutters fantasy and horror; and I when I fail artistically I add to this clutter. But the image on the back panel (praised by Tom Ligotti) is one of my favorite.