Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Very Merry Halloween

On this evening of evenings, may Dracula rise from his coffin in good humour, may the Wolf Man roam the countryside in reasonable safety, may the Mummy find his Tanna leaves with little difficulty, may Frankenstein's Monster be understood by not only the blind, may the Invisible Man find himself without losing too much of his mind, may the Witch fly free from cannon fire, may Fruit Brute and Yummy Mummy return to Monster Mansion, may scarecrows gambol by the light of the moon, may skeletons dance with impressive harmony, may zombies communicate more articulately, may spooks and spectres find merriment without fear of being chased by cats, may Garfield be not pursued by dead pirates, may Charlie Brown construct his costume more skillfully, may Linus see the Great Pumpkin, may haunted houses be even more so, may the candy corn be sweet, may the Jack-O-Lanterns be lit and may this world and the next be wished a very merry Halloween.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Snarky Cheshires and Ghostly Etiquette

Several nights ago I was replacing light bulbs and distributing literature in an attic that is seldom, if ever, the location of my footsteps. I keep in order such places in the event a listless spirit or bogle might be passing by and wish to have a nice read before they continue with their spooky business, for, as the historian had said after my putting him to inquiry so many years ago, “It might behoove one to keep such spaces well lit and tidy, which is the method behind this exercise – for ghosts can be induced to mischief if treated carelessly.” It so happened that on the evening I am accounting, my large, tuxedo cat had a mind to accompany me in this task, and directly following an exasperated comment on the deplorable disposition of a herringbone lampshade, made note concerning my latest illustration which he attested may be somewhat “lacking.” Being more than nettled, I addressed him haughtily and inquired, “In what, oh master?” To this he responded with an expression singularly feline, and at length suggested I consult the conceptual sketches I had done of the Cheshire for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and from these I might be enlightened. It took me a moment to realise that I had in fact, never produced a sketch of the Cheshire Cat, despite my illustrative excursion into Wonderland the previous year. “Brute,” said I, “you know very well I have accomplished no such sketches.” To which he quipped was precisely his point, and that in place of the “foolishness” I was at that time in occupation, I might consider producing an image of the feline who had been, according to him, “most worthy of attention to begin with.”

Never wishing to commence a creative instigation upon a flame I myself did not ignite, I was uffishly pestered then at the tempting nature of the suggestion, for the Cheshire Cat is after all, wonderfully charming, utterly delightful, and possibly the most familiar face in Wonderland. My dear tuxedo knew very well that I could not resist such a prospect, and purred triumphantly as I sat and began conceptualising the fellow later that evening.

Now, when executing an illustration that is intended to be a visual representation of a scene or story written by someone other than myself, I try to be as faithful as I possibly can to the author’s descriptions, while at the same time dressing it freshly in apparel of my own. The illustration I offer below is perhaps the furthest I have allowed my liberty to stretch, for there is no mention, as far as I know, of Jack-O-Lanterns in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The image of the smirking fellow perched atop a grinning pumpkin was too much an attraction that I gave in to my insistent reverie and situated him thusly before Alice. I do hope Lewis Carroll, the brilliant authour and creator of Alice and her adventures would consent to this bit of visual emancipation. After all, the Cheshire Cat is written to have only appeared upon the bough of a tree – who is to say he did not move about at some point during the interview?

Below is the latest sketch I have composed for the Cheshire Cat found in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. The scene takes place in Chapter Six, directly before the Tea Party.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Toothy Villainy of Wisdom

Having a tooth removed from one's head is probably one of the single most distressing operations one might be unfortunate enough to undergo. Like most humans with teeth, I was the unwitting subject of four useless dental growths that are unscrupulously propagated as being wiser than any of the others before them. Three of these monstrocities were discharged soon after they made known their plans of despotism, foolishly leaving the fourth to brood and scheme at its leisure. Recently, this remaining miscreant began subjecting my mandible to excessive discomfort. Having sheltered this tooth for more years than is sensible, the devil was finally removed the day before yesterday following a considerable struggle. After witnessing the brute's tenacity in retaining its situation, the fight was, in retrospect, by no means fair, nor was it quick. The procedure was a battle, in all sense of the word, and after a length of time sufficient to promote worry, following volumes of incessant prayers, the tooth, at last, was excised. However, as it was directly held before me clamped in the jaws of that ominous-looking tooth-extraction device, it looked very incensed and offered me a few words, strangely enough with a dialect not unlike a certain Edward G. Robinson, that I cannot duplicate if I wish to retain my integrity as a gentleman. Now as I sit and record this experience, I am certain that not only was that tooth ill-tempered, but rancourous as well, for the requital of pain that has arrived following its removal is beyond description.

I have provided a sketch of the fiend as it looked succeeding extraction.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Haunting Expressions and The Hands of Orlac

Among the gloomy procession that marched through the psychological fog of German Expressionism, the emotionally charged masterpiece, Orlacs Hande, or The Hands of Orlac, may very well be one of the most haunting. The brooding atmosphere which lists within Orlac's world is as elusive as a snark, yet tamed accordingly by the very capable Robert Wiene, who had helmed The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari four years prior, and was once again directing the tall, sharp-featured Conrad Veidt in the lead as the tormented Paul Orlac. The film was an adaption of the book Les Mains d'Orlac, by Maurice Renard, and has been twice remade. The most notable being the 1935 Peter Lorre vehicle directed by Karl Freund, who was himself not enirely unfamiliar with the movement which incited the first adaption, having been cinematographer to such films as Metropolis, The Golem, and the Bela Lugosi classic Dracula. The story centers upon an accomplished pianist deprived of his hands in a horrendous train wreck, which are in turn replaced by the hands of a convicted murderer. A nightmarish conspiracy soon eclipses his life as he descends slowly into madness and despair, terrified that his hands "demand blood" and are irrevocably unclean.

I was recently moved to compose an illustration depicting the tortured Orlac - I do hope it maintains the respect for the works that inspired it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Printing Prints of Printable Printings

Out of curiosity and sneaking speculation I thought I would perhaps amble the path of online printing resources, thus offering a few of my works in larger and more three dimensional attitudes. I was referred to a site which deals in such, and so started a small collection of illustration prints available for purchase in various sizes and guises. I am steadily adding to it every few days so I hope you might investigate and extend the word to any who might enjoy these works. And I have also begun doing commissions as well, so any who might want to visit with me about projects or possibilities, feel free to send me a note -

The link to my purchasable prints:


Friday, January 15, 2010

The Hands of the Paper Fan, or Le Ventilateur de non-Sequitur No.2

The second of the Paper Fan procession, what may best be termed as a "relief limited to two-dimension." I am quite certain The Hands of Orlac flavoured my dreams as this partner to the first was conceived. Below is the two together in their intended formation. I am not entirely sure of this project's ambition, but the internal visuals were intriguing and insisted exhumation. "Le Ventilateur de non-Sequitur No.2"

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Le Ventilateur de non-Sequitur

During the afternoon before last I had taken to the foothills of the Loombezzo's for a walk when a rainstorm quickly overtook the vicinity and I was moved to extend the embrace of my umbrella in an effort to keep at least a portion of myself from becoming damp. The breath of the atmosphere became so hurried, I quickly lost grip of the bamboo handle to an impolite gale and my benefactor had been carried into the obscurity of the churning nimbus thundering aloft. Immediately following this occurence an excited paper fan of an alarming size flip-flapped through the surrounding thicket and proceeded in this manner straight towards my position inducing me to take to my heels at once. I was pursued by this frantic beast for several hours until I escaped it's interest and it began chasing an untenanted pram. This unfortunate experience incited the composing of the work below, and further suggested it be one in a series of similar attitudes. Respectfully, here lies: "Le Ventilateur de non-Sequitur No.1"

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Striped Sea Creatures and the Depths That Hide Them

Near the end of last year - indeed, the end of last decade! - I had been working on a series of illustrations for a gentleman in San Francisco for a manual of sorts of his own composition exhibiting a lesson on teamwork. Training manuals, as might well be suspected, are not my forte - but he was a very open-minded fellow and interested in unorthodox avenues of expression, much to my delight. He composed four steps to his programme and I provided a visual accompaniment for each, ending with a cover. This was barrels of fun to do, and below are the five pieces I did for the literature.