Among other things, I’ve been working away at a new fantasy novel. Looking back, it appears I started it in 2018. Lately I’ve taken it up in a more focused way. The first draft is now sitting at about 30 thousand words, which means I have quite a bit more bridge to build. With this one I decided to do something I’ve never done before, work on text and image simultaneously, letting one inform the other to create something that wouldn’t have appeared otherwise. This is a bit dangerous, as anyone who has written a novel knows they tend to change from one draft to the next, sometimes quite dramatically. But, I am prepared to create some drawings that may, or may not, make final cut, in exchange for the energy they inject into the process. I’ll share a few here as I go along, using the tag “newthing”. Here is the first image, and having said what I said above, I think he’s a keeper.
I’m a couple of days late with this week’s post. Most of the past week was spent marshaling supplies needed for a couple of big illustration jobs, making sketches and basically getting into the creative headspace needed to immerse myself in a multi-month task. I’ve also been in the workshop assembling strip frames for my 8×8 oils, varnishing and trying not to amputate any essential digits. At some point in there I cleaned up the digital file of the Harbinger drawing so that it is ready for the printer in January.
This week I’ll get going on the aforementioned illustrations, and start a couple more of the 8 inch oils. I have an idea for another large ink, so I may spend some time on that as well.
On the writing front, I am almost finished working through the copy edit of Tailor of Echoes. My morning writing project (new novel) is making progress as well. I’ve edited everything I’d written earlier in the year, and now I’m producing new text. It’s very motivating to see that word count climbing.
Currently reading the Quincunx by Charles Palliser and listening to Cluster. If you haven’t seen the Brian Eno documentary called Man Who Fell to Earth, – an odd title given its association with Bowie – it’s on Amazon Prime. I stumbled on it a couple of days ago and it reminded me of a ton of amazing music I’d all but forgotten about.
Until next Sunday. Stay warm, stay healthy.
It’s been a busy week. I’ve been working steadily on Harbinger (see previous post), and on this series of oils (below). These are rough and ready iPhone images off my drawing table and once they are properly finished I’ll put some better shots on my website. Birds and flight seem to be the central theme. I hope you like these in-progress views. I’m really enjoying interspersing my other work with these color pieces. The largest, Cardinal, was actually started the summer of 2019 and had to sit in the studio for a while while I attended to other things. It’s great to finally get back to it. These works will be available for purchase once they are finished, dried and varnished.
Late this week I received the copy edit of Tailor of Echoes from PS Publishing. It doesn’t look too onerous, so I’ll be working though that in the coming weeks, as I also begin work on the illustrations. Progress on the new novel is slow but steady. I have a great sense of my protagonist and the story is unfolding nicely.
What else, oh yes, this week I need to get back to my book blog Amnesiac’s Library. It has been badly overlooked in the past few weeks.
Finally, if you aren’t listening to The Dark Art Podcast, hosted by Chet Zar, get on it. I’ve been listening to some of the recent interviews while I work in the studio. The most recent is Chet’s interview with Kris Kuksi! I had the pleasure of showing with Kris a number of years ago when we were both with Strychnin Gallery in Berlin. Kris’s interview is fascinating. The interviews with David Stoupakis, Matt Levin, Erwin Tschofen, Cris Velasco, Dos Diablos and EGO are also highly recommended.
Truly, finally, if you have a few minutes, please check out my studio sale on Big Cartel. If you use the code ECHO on checkout, you can get a 20% discount on your order.
For the past few weeks I’ve been working on this large drawing called Harbinger (24″ x 18″). Check out the images below. I’m rendering with Pigma Micron 005 pens on 140lb Arches hotpress. I haven’t done a lot of finished work with Microns, so I wanted to give them a real workout to see what they could do. I still have a way to go, but generally speaking I really like these markers on the smooth Arches paper. I don’t think they could replace my trusty Rapidograph pens, but they do permit things the Rapidographs will not, like brushing the pigment onto the paper as the tips deplete, which is kind of interesting, so I’ll definitely use them again. My plan is to offer this piece as a giclee print, in the new year.
In other updates, I am just starting work on the illustrations for Tailor of Echoes, my forthcoming fantasy novel, from PS Publications in the new year. Really excited to start on this project. The novel is currently being copy edited. I also have another book illustration project, a “big” book, but I can’t talk about that yet, so I’ll just vaguepost for now. I’m also making good daily progress on the first draft of a new novel. 28K words in. It’s a healthy start and I hope to get a first draft over the winter.
Finally, Atropa (below) is still available from Copro Gallery. I think the show Roadside Attractions IV (curated by Cris Velasco) is probably over now, but if you are interested in this piece, please reach out to the gallery. I’d also like to thank Erica from that gallery and Cris, who rescued this piece when it went astray on route. You guys are the best!
And it’s snowing, while the Jack O’ Lanterns are still rotting on my porch.
All for now!
Last night I finished Mysterious Garden Ex.1 a new silverpoint drawing. As the name implies, I plan to do a few more of these imaginary plants. This work is available on my Big Cartel webstore.
On another note entirely, I have re-booted my book blog, Amnesiac’s Library. It’s a place where I talk about my book projects and post various bits of ephemera about book related stuff I like. I hope you’ll check it out and give it a “follow”.
Most of this week was spent editing my novel Tailor of Echoes before it goes back to the publisher for copy editing, but today, I needed to break out the technical pens and draw this vignette piece called Rumour. It’s a playful reflection of everything going on in the world right now. The piece is available on my webstore.
Speaking of the webstore, my summer sale has now ended. Thanks to everyone who took advantage of the 25% off deal to pick up a print or original. It’s much appreciated. Please keep checking back as I will be adding new things from time to time.
Finally today, I just wanted to remind you that copies of my illustrated short story collection Magpie’s Ladder are still available on the PS Publications website. If you missed the trailer I made for the book, you can see it on Vimeo. My novels Necessary Monsters and The Lost Machine are now available on Audible in audiobook format from Ecyclopocalypse
I’m not sure how I let two months get behind me without updating my blog, but it’s nice to be back. I’m planning more or less weekly updates for the rest of the year. So let’s catch up.
The big news this week is that my novel Necessary Monsters, published by Underland Press in 2017 is now available on Audible in audiobook format (Encyclopocalypse) Senn Annis did an amazing narration. You can hear a sample on Audible.
In other book news… at the end of last year, I produced a book called The Darkling Lands, Volume 1, under my Radiolaria Studios imprint. It consists of 40 pages of my art and a new short story called Ecesis. I still have a few copies left in my webstore. They come signed, but when they are gone, they are gone.
I’ve already started compiling volume 2 and as soon as the war chest looks a little less scary, I’ll be putting it out. My hope, knock wood, is that it will be 80 pages instead of 40. Like volume 1, it will include a piece of new fiction.
Still on the writing theme, I am currently working on a new novel – well two actually. I know, it’s a sickness. One is the next book in my Irridian series and the other is a completely new fantasy novel. It’s really too early to talk much about these projects, but I will be supplying updates as things progress. I’m hoping to have news about my as yet unpublished novel Tailor of Echoes before too long.
A few weeks ago, I launched a new giclee print offering called Wandering Star. There are a few of these left on my webstore. If I may be so bold, this is a f*n nice print. Again, if you are interested, grab one now because I will not be making more.
A couple more things before I wrap this up. I have revived the Ink in Unfailing Supplies blog that artist John Pierro and I started 10 years ago. Basically, the blog was based on a challenge to create an interpretive work of art around a particular phrase. With the blog re-boot I am opening the challenge to the artist members of a closed Facebook Group by the same name. The first new challenge starts in March.
Finally, I have decided to discontinue my writing blog, Amnesiac’s Library, and consolidate everything here. On reflection, I figure it’s best to have everything under one roof.
Thanks for reading. With my next posts, I’ll be showing you some of my new art. I hope you’ll check it out. As always, you can check out work, old and new, on my artist website.
Sometimes, when making illustrative images, I find it easy to forget that I’m making a thing. This is especially so when most of the engagement with my artwork happens on the web. As grateful as I am for that avenue of engagement, it tends to have a flattening effect. Sometimes I like to remind myself that art is about things (for me anyway). It’s about the visual immediacy of a work created by hand. The way the light bounces off the ink or paint, the dry whisper of the paper under my fingers, the care I must use in handling these objects. That’s why I created The Pact, a little 4 x 4 inch accordion book. It is actually a prototype for some other, slightly larger accordion books I’m planning to produce in the New Year. In the meantime, please enjoy this little movie.
I also wanted to remind everyone that my short novel The Lost Machine is available on Audible as an audiobook. Mark Miller at Encyclopocalypse did a fantastic job bringing this to fruition. Jake Ruddle’s narration is spot on. If you enjoy audiobooks, please give this a listen. Next year is TLM’s 10th anniversary! The New Year also brings an audiobook version of my novel Necessary Monsters. I can’t wait to share it with you.
Finally, I am building a mailing list for a newsletter, something I’ve wanted to do for a while. The first one will come in January and include things that I’m working on, things I am excited about, and there will be special offers and maybe even some special things for subscribers. We’ll see how it rolls. If this sounds fun, go to my website where there is a mailing list sign-up for the newsletter. I promise it won’t be spammy and I will never use your email for any purpose other than the mailing list. I hope you’ll join me.
The Darkling Lands is a new 40 page perfect bound book, which reproduces 28 of my images and includes a new weird tale titled Ecesis. I posted 10 copies on my webshop yesterday, and I am pleased to report they went quickly, but there will be more copies available in about a week. As I noted in the book’s introduction The Darkling Lands of the title, first appeared as a setting in my short story Magpie’s Ladder. The project itself is conceived as a kind of inexpensive portfolio of images from the past few years, selected because they work together. You may have noticed that this is Volume 1. My intention is to create future volumes that follow the same pattern of art and writing, and always include something new with each volume. I hope you enjoy it.
It’s October at last, my favorite month of the year. I have just added a small number of signed copies of Magpie’s Ladder to my webstore. The constant reader will remember that Magpie’s Ladder is my illustrated short story collection published by PS Publishing earlier this year. Get yours now!
Also in celebration of October, for this month only, every order from my webstore comes with a free sketch on a blank greeting card. Wait, what? Yes, go buy something and get yours.
That’s it for now. Now, go out, smash a pumpkin, walk in the woods, or burn some leaves before before fucking winter comes howling in and ruins everything!