Monday, November 30, 2009

Lightbulbhead Cometh...

Recently I was moved to play with wire and clay, which I am apt to due whenever those two find their way into my possession. What resulted was a curious little fellow named Lightbulbhead. Being the Christmas season I shall attempt an attempted attempt at being a toymaker and list him for purchase. This dashing chap can be found in Amalthea's Attic, a delightful "boo"tique which is haunted in Mastic Beach:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Candy Corn on the Road of Yellow Brick

As most sensible people are aware of, Halloween visited for it's annual haunt not long ago - twenty-three days subsequent, in fact. During that blessed season I am usually moved to create an assortment of leaf-men, or scarecrows, and since this tradition began many years past since the Wednesday before last, scarecrows have been of a particular affinity to me. Of course, the obvious suggestion of being stitched together on a cold, autumnal afternoon being a definite influence upon my emotion, as well as the empathy exhumed by the fondness I have for the brutes, it is of little wonder that among the many wonderful characters in literature I have felt an especial sympathy for the Scarecrow from Oz. This inclination towards fellows of the harvest, and indeed, the many forms of golems in general, thus provoked the illustration below. Again, as with Alice, I tried to include all that was described by the creator of the Oz tales, L.Frank Baum, in the initial book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I did, however, take the slightest of liberties in my interpretation of the scene I selected for subject, which takes place in the third chapter - the "post" impaling the poor fellow's back has been translated to a small, dead tree. I sincerely hope the authour would not be upset by this, for if the respect I have for Baum and his creations were to be raised any higher, it's head would most assuredly meet with the ceiling, causing it much irritation and discomfort. That being said, the admiration I possess for the Scarecrow and the stories themselves I pray will not be questioned, and the little contribution below to the visual aspect of the enchanting Oz mythos I pray as well may please and delight.

The following is an excerpt from Chapter Three, How Dorothy Saved the Scarecrow, from L.Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz -

"Dorothy leaned her chin upon her hand and gazed thoughtfully at the Scarecrow. Its head was a small sack stuffed with straw, with eyes, nose, and mouth painted on it to represent a face. An old, pointed blue hat, that had belonged to some Munchkin, was perched on his head, and the rest of the figure was a blue suit of clothes, worn and faded, which had also been stuffed with straw. On the feet were some old boots with blue tops, such as every man wore in this country, and the figure was raised above the stalks of corn by means of the pole stuck up its back.
While Dorothy was looking earnestly into the queer, painted face of the Scarecrow, she was surprised to see one of the eyes slowly wink at her. She thought she must have been mistaken at first, for none of the scarecrows in Kansas ever wink; but presently the figure nodded its head to her in a friendly way. Then she climbed down from the fence and walked up to it, while Toto ran around the pole and barked."

- L.Frank Baum, from "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Crocodiles and a Room With No Doors

The other morning after having awakened to the sounds of crocodiles playing draughts outside my window, I had a brief mental image of a room madly askew and confining, and soon set myself to inking it as the back of my eyes had beheld it. As with most attempts to capture a thought on paper, I am certain I have neglected details which inhabited the original reverie, but I whit this is the closest I am able to express. I am not altogether unaware of the piece's suggestion of possibly being a self portrait, though this was not the intent. Sometimes a little truth cannot help but confess itself in the creation of a fabrication, especially if that truth is subject to extroverted behaviour, or is in fact, of a very flamboyant disposition.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Shameless Plug For A Carrollian Shirt

A time past I did an illustration of the Jabberwocky based on the poem of the same name by Lewis Carroll. I was put to the idea of submitting it for consideration of being printed on a T-Shirt. A bit of colour I thought may look attractive for such a proposition, so I added a bit to the black and white piece and settled on what appears below. Apparently, it takes votes from fellow human beings to help with the possibility of printing - thus is expounded this shameless plug.

I would be overjoyed and resoundingly grateful if you, my fellow blog friends, would take a moment betwixt sips of coffee or hops in Hopscotch to visit the design and vote to your liking. I extend my most thankfully thankful thanks -

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Midnight Meeting at Borgo Pass

The current month being October I am naturally more sensitive than usual to “ghosts, goblins, and the whole race of witches put together” and, searching for an appropriate subject to examine for an illustration, found myself inevitably gravitating towards one of the single most inspirational characters and stories that began haunting my fascination so long ago I must have entered this world with it already tenanted in my brain. "Dracula," by Bram Stoker, is a listing, beautiful novel with waves of intense horror rising throughout the epistolary narrative like impatient heartbeats and its clout as a classic of gothic literature leaves no mystery as to the reason. There are many captivating examples of the un-dead throughout fiction's history, such as John Polidori’s Lord Ruthven or Varney the Vampire from the infamous Penny Dreadfuls, though none have claimed the superiority that Dracula has silently for over a century. In the story, Stoker's description of Dracula’s appearance suggests something quite grotesque and horrifying as opposed to the suave and aristocratic gentleman Bela Lugosi popularized in Tod Browning’s film version which, as Karloff did for Frankenstein’s monster, gave Count Dracula a face and dialect of iconic significance. I admire both versions of Dracula – the original plague-like monster of Stoker’s masterpiece, as well as the baroque, tuxedoed charmer Lugosi presented on stage and film. The illustration following was done with an effort to flatter the former, and was suggested by a particularly chilling point nearing the end of the first chapter of the novel when the coachman transporting Jonathan Harker entreats him to go on with the others to Bukovina, but was cut short by the arrival of Count Dracula’s caleche…

“…They were driven by a tall man, with a long brown beard and a great black hat, which seemed to hide his face from us. I could only see the gleam of a pair of very bright eyes, which seemed red in the lamplight, as he turned to us.
He said to the driver:
"You are early tonight, my friend." The man stammered in reply:
"The English Herr was in a hurry." To which the stranger replied:
"That is why, I suppose, you wished him to go on to Bukovina. You cannot deceive me, my friend. I know too much, and my horses are swift." As he spoke he smiled, and the lamplight fell on a hard-looking mouth, with very red lips and sharp-looking teeth, as white as ivory. One of my companions whispered to another the line from Burger's "Lenore".

"Denn die Todten reiten Schnell."
("For the dead travel fast.")

The strange driver evidently heard the words, for he looked up with a gleaming smile. The passenger turned his face away, at the same time putting out his two fingers and crossing himself.”

- Bram Stoker

Above this and below the illustration is an excerpt from the novel "Dracula," by Bram Stoker.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Ghostly Findings of a Ghost-Finder

Halloween is fast approaching and what more appropriate time to visit the mysterious exploits of Thomas Carnacki than when “the leaves are crisped and sere.” The English investigator of things that go bump in the night was created by authour William Hope Hodgson in the early years of last century. The "Ghost-Finder’s” initial appearance in the publications The Idler and The New Magazine coincided with the ever intriguing age of Spirituality which was pockmarked with candle-lit rooms and mournfully adorned individuals of heightened sensitivities to the visits of the deceased and otherwise ethereal passers-by. The Edwardian detective shares similar shades of tone with the brooding Sherlock Holmes, and as a Holmes enthusiast I can honestly expound of my own conviction, Carnacki as most deserving of sharing a hansom cab with the enigmatic gentleman of Baker’s Street. Of the ghosts haunting the pages of Carnackian adventures one may be reminded at times of the dreadful manifestations of H.P. Lovecraft, who was so wonderfully capable of provoking a sense of fear and uncertainty of the unknown foliations and age of existence. The world of spooks is indeed a large one, and its expanse is jealously fogged. Thomas Carnacki, though skeptical until the very last shadow of scientific causation has vanished, is a most intrepid believer compelled to explore this region and his adventures are utterly thrilling. From what I have been able to unearth concerning the literature and publications of Hodgson’s creation have suggested limited illustrations, which only availed my desire to pen my own. The composition of the drawing below was done simply for love of the craft and the stories. Attempting the somber atmosphere of those stories required a tremendous amount of ink and my nose has been greatly piqued by the applications.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Immortality and Mayflies

I am recording this only to state a point which not only nettles me, but instigates a curiosity of its impression upon my fellow human beings. I find that more often than not my brain is surprisingly taxed with the knowledge that, as far as I or any living being is aware of, one has but a single lifetime to animate their inspirations and influences. A considerable volume of time that would be best spent sleeping is increasingly becoming exhausted by the contemplation of just this fact, and I daresay every morning I wake up a trifle madder than I had been the previous day. My mortality finds this thoroughly hilarious and spends a great deal of time informing my ambition just how much. The acquisition of lifetimes, like smell-collecting, can be very difficult and best left to Biblical notables though not necessarily people with very large noses, unless they occupy antediluvian earth. Though this does not necessarily impede my thoughts on the subject, and I am afraid it will only strengthen their reserve because they can sometimes be tenacious even when asked not to be. Furthermore, I have just learned that the Dolania americana mayfly exhausts it’s lifespan in a matter of minutes. This bit of knowledge makes me feel very unusual and a bit ashamed for complaining. In any event, I should like several additional lifetimes, or the ability to execute compositional feats at alarming speeds. I hope this is not unreasonable.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Jabberwock's Waistcoat

Lewis Carroll’s masterpiece, “The Jabberwocky,” is perhaps the zenith of nonsense poetry, whose titular villain is deliciously suited to stalk the wilds behind the Looking-Glass. The origin of the poem began in a periodical the young Charles Dodgson (years before Alice and the pseudonym of Lewis Carroll) composed exclusively for the delight of his family entitled “Mischmasch.” The poem at this time consisted of only the first stanza, and was named respectively, “Stanza of Anglo-Saxon Poetry.” The original verse was hand-lettered by Dodgson in slightly varied spelling from its present form in “Through the Looking-Glass,” as well as accompanied by definitions slightly differing from Humpty Dumpty’s. The original poem ran thus:

Twas bryllyg, and ye slythy toves
Did gyre and gymble in ye wabe:
All mimsy were ye borogoves;
And ye mome raths outgrabe.

This wonderful bit of fun was later lengthened of course to what is presented in Alice’s second adventure, where it confessed an even more alarming world filled with bizarre flora and several new beasties including its fantastical namesake, the Jabberwock. Sir John Tenniel’s original illustration is quite a treat to look at, and it is amusing to note Carroll’s initial apprehension to it with regard to its potential of possibly frightening his younger readers. Fortunately, Tenniel’s Jabberwock remained and has forever been a particular feast for the eyes hiding within the pages of “Through the Looking-Glass.” One aspect of Tenniel’s illustration that has always warmed my heart is his inclusion of a waistcoat about the ferocious bugbear so pandemically feared. With my interpretation of the poem I attempted a similar path in beastly apparel, and of course, tried to retain all the attributes defined in the story, as well as the Tumtum tree. I do hope my contribution offers some degree of amusement.

The poem "The Jabberwocky" in its entirety found in "Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There." Nonsense at its very finest -

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;

All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

- Lewis Carroll

Monday, August 17, 2009

There Is Nothing Funny About A Humpty Dumpty At Midnight

The tragic story of Humpty Dumpty and his unfortunate accident is another nursery rhyme whose immortality has prospered considerably, I am sure, by it's association with Alice. Interestingly, in the actual rhyme Humpty Dumpty is never declared to be in fact, an egg - this being the answer to the riddle the verse was originally presented as. There is by no means a paucity of origins for the title, including the identities of several historic notables, a very disagreeable sounding drink and of course the famous cannon at Edinburgh Castle which was reputed to have exploded into bits upon firing. The latter to my knowledge being fact, the former possibilites may be subjected to a raised eyebrow. In any event, Humpty Dumpty is a treasure, and in the world of Alice perhaps one of the spookiest residents behind the Looking-Glass. His exceedingly wide mouth and ill temper, not to mention his being a considerably over-sized talking egg, eloquently claims the fellow to nightmare. The only specific presence upon his person (or egg) is a cravat, which Alice is mystified by in deciding whether it is this or a belt, so again the door to interpretation creaks open. Ultimately he confessed a liking to a species of Cab Callowayian topper and tails which somehow seemed appropriately jazzy.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tweedledum and eedeldeewT

Among the gloriously unnerving inhabitants of Looking-Glass world, which is quite apparent to be - or most singularly related to - Wonderland itself, is Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Described as "two fat little men" by Lewis Carroll in “Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There,” the notion exists (though not written, strengthened I am certain by John Tenniel's original brilliant interpretations) that they are in fact twins - which has been the custom ever since - and even enantiomorphs. Residing, of course, on the other side of a mirror this idea seems appropriate, and ceaselessly intriguing. A truly delicious attribute to Alice’s adventures is that, although described in great detail, they still invite endless interpretations. In my mind, Tweedledum and Tweedledee have always exhumed the complex topics of duality and identity, and the two attired completely in black and white seems almost natural. With these first two illustrations, and any more I may produce, I am striving to include every detail Lewis Carroll penned as well as re-imagining them through my own perception. I do hope he would approve.

Presented beneath as it appeared in "Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There" is the original nursery rhyme. The poem is attributed to several different authours, though history is still not of a mind to confess.

Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Agreed to have a battle!
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
Had spoiled his nice new rattle.

Just then flew down a monstrous crow,
As black as a tar-barrel!
Which frightened both the heroes so,
They quite forgot their quarrel.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mad as a Hatter With a Pair of Scissors

Upon being informed of an impending event providing incentive to compose a series of illustrations for the enchanting "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking-Glass" by the brilliantly snarky Lewis Carroll, I was at once in a state of heightened exultation. In my visual interpretations it is quite apparent I am fond of top hats and mad grins – like a chef who adds pepper to every dish, even dishes who protest, I seem to somehow manifest one or both of these into quite a volume of my work, even a piece dedicated to frowns and people without heads. So it is not surprising how I gravitate towards the deliciously smiley enthusiast of top hats, the Mad Hatter, as well as selecting him the subject of my first illustration. These two books contain a host of the most charmingly bizarre characters ever to have lived in the memory of a work of literature, and the Hatter is quite positively one of the most enchanting citizens of Wonderland. Of course joining him we have the Hatter’s two good friends the March Hare and the Dormouse, not at all of a mind to permit the fellow a soliloquy. In the event that these attempts may amuse, I shall try to post each piece as it is completed on this blog, as well as include them of course on my website. I do hope they may make you smile – even if top hats are not accessible where the smiling takes place.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hearts and Funny Papers

Despite noble efforts I am usually awake throughout the night. This being factual, I am frequently provoked into falling asleep against my consent during the day. This afternoon, after having awakened from one of these attacks, I discovered very passively that I was rather dispassionate. To be sure, I opened my rib door to assess the curious feeling, and Ah-Ha! - my heart was missing. “This accounts for the feeling, I am certain,” I said to no one in particular. So I arose, procured myself a cup of coffee, and searched the house for my elusive heart. Finding my cat examining a lampshade I asked if he had seen it, to which he replied he had not and further added I should be more responsible in retaining any organs I may possess so as not to have frightfully bizarre and bloody things running around the house, which he said was most distressing. At last, I found my skittish necessity in the library reading the funny papers, and, pretending he didn’t notice me, continued to do so as I stepped in. I could tell he was in a very foul mood, so I sat in the chair opposite and considered possible ways to begin a conversation with a bitter heart who was trying to ignore me. I did not have to think long, for at this point the fellow impatiently spoke up. I shall not record every word he threw at me, nor the impolite phrases – I shall just say that he was very displeased with me. Apparently, and I cringe at the irony of typing this above my previous post, he was exceedingly dissatisfied, and “horrified” with my diet. He suggested I think over the concept of moderation, and consider more innocuous selections for nourishment – or else, he threatened, he would bleed excessively on my books, making them quite stained and considerably unsettling to read. I quickly apologized for my behaviour, and agreed to manage my diet more responsibly.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

It's Alive

With little reserve I confess an undying adoration for breakfast cereals of unnecessarily lofty sugar content and endorsed by interesting cartoon characters. This fondness met its acme of delight when introduced to Smurfberry Crunch, which was discontinued the decade before last for reasons I am certain will not be sufficient for understanding, nor forgiveness. However, this night I was given a realization upon the identity of another beloved comfort of childhood, one that I believed had met its death with a host of its persona grata so very many years ago - the indescribably astounding treat of glee-inducing smiley face oat bits and circus shaped marshmallows of a texture only Heaven could have suggested, Kaboom. Kaboom! What fondant thoughts of blissful saccharinity this name instills! How many Saturday mornings it managed to brighten, adding even more to the mirth that was awakened by the glorious cartoons that made that morning so very singular. Yes, Kaboom is quite alive, and the spooky clown mascot, though a trifle less spooky at present, is still as pleased as ever to not be dead.

If inflection was provoked by the condensing of merriment into little, grinning toasted oat somethings, that inflection may very well be, "Kaboom."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Salt Water Taffy and Swordfish

The single most curious thing about salt water taffy is that it is one of the most delightful confections that has ever been presented, and is produced and packaged solely by a family of swordfish off an eerily green coast of the Atlantic. I have recently seen the aquatic facility in which they accomplish this – its identity betrayed by a series of pied smokestacks rising from the depths several miles from the coast billowing emissions in all manner of the spectrum, a vision quite worth a photograph, but at the time my collodion equipment had not yet arrived so I was left only to rely upon memory - and was so impressed with the ingenuity and ambition of the fish, that I decided to accept the suggestion of a very dear friend that I should instigate a record presenting selections on literary and illustrative endeavours, as well as the progression of experimentations currently, and soon to be currently, in proposition. Another suggestion offered me concerning the initial grounds of such record, was made by another acquaintance who tends to charm with fake blood and prosthetics – it was her notion that an appropriate way to begin a series of accounts, or even a lengthy novel or indiscernible stage-play, would be by introduction. So, with admiration for her macabre inclination and wit, I shall do as the King of Hearts so concurred, and “begin at the beginning.”
I am an authour and illustrator attempting establishment and currently spend a great deal of time listening to the beautifully melodious monster lps so prominent years past, complete with mad scientist laughter, witch cacklings, cat growlings, wolf howlings, dramatic representations of considerably undesirable circumstances, and an endless supply of Peter Lorre impersonations. I am quite a decent sort, and not at all uncommon or strange, despite my preference for severely stormy nights opposed to severely sunny days. I have been illustrating for a number of years and have acquired several wonderful friendships of kindred spirit through freelancing as such. Recently, I have completed the illustrations of a quaint scary-tale written by a good friend and authour that is presently going through its post production phase comprised of unlimited unforeseen bunglings and possibilities. As well as several freelancing projects currently in production, I am working feverishly upon some of my own writings and pray they may see fruition in the near future. Being that I am so recent to this culture of blogging, I apologize for any presentations of mistakes that I may offer that would have been less likely had I been more familiar with the nature of it – I assume that in time, I shall become more accustomed to the custom, as was the situation when I first learned of sneezing, and I hope to further my understanding by attempting to be as frequent as I can in posting these records.