Little Summer

Books, Details, Drawings, Fiction, Illustration, ink, Natural History, Process, Stippling, Technique, Work in Progress, writing

This past week was filled with drawing, writing, reading, torrential rain, flooded libraries—not mine—and patches of sun. Some of these things are related. I’m calling this post Little Summer, because so many small wonders seem to come our way during Ontario’s short pause in what can seem like an endless winter. Here’s one.

A tiny egg that appeared intact on our sidewalk.

While I was admiring the pattern on the shell, a cicada landed beside my foot at interstellar velocity—though she seemed no worse for it. Here she is.

Spacefaring Cicada

Earlier in the week, I was standing under one of my crab apple trees when I happened to notice one of the branches was acting strangely. It turned out to be a stick caterpillar. I’ve been in this house for 30 years and have never seen one before. It’s nice the place still has a few surprises. Can you see it?

Stick Caterpillar

But, other than bothering the denizens of the micro-kingdom, I have been pouring it on to get my illustrations done for my novel TAILOR OF ECHOES. Here is one that is currently on the table. As you can see, it’s pretty on brand. I can’t wait to share the finished book, to be published by PS Publications.

Interior illustration in progress for the forthcoming Tailor of Echoes

Finally, this weekend I had cause to dig through some old photographs and came across this promotional image for the Russian translation of my novel Necessary Monsters.

Russian Translation of Necessary Monsters (Eksmo, 2018)

Okay, enough show and tell for this week. Check back next Sunday for another post. In the meantime, don’t forget to look down. You just might find some treasure.

Richard

Lander 1

Cross Hatching, Details, Drawings, ink, Natural History, Stippling, Works for Sale
Lander 1, 2021, ink on 140lb Arches hotpress, 18 x 24 inches
Lander 1 detail

Lander 1 detail

The inspiration for Lander 1—and yes, expect a Lander 2 and 3—came from watching the Perseverance rover descend on Mars in February. I started thinking about humans being sole explorers/ representatives from earth. This piece imagines a true lander, with organic rather than mechanical senses, a spirit of earth lander, if you will.

I wish there was some way to better embed the music I was listening to when I was working on this piece, Coil’s Time Machines and Soliloquy for Lilith by Nurse with a Wound. These seem like the perfect soundtracks to meditate on the idea of vast unknown spaces.

Richard.

Harbinger

Cross Hatching, Details, Drawings, Incentives, ink, Natural History, Prints, Stippling, Technique, webstore, Works for Sale

This week, I am showing my latest completed drawing called Harbinger. I started this piece on October 2 and finished it on December 6. I hope you enjoy checking out the detail shots below. I will be making a limited giclee print of Harbinger in the New Year. The best way to stay on top of my print drops and other new is to subscribe to my monthly newsletter through my website. It just takes a second. There will be some fun extras for newsletter subscribers in 2021 (special offers, sketch giveaways etc.). This work is available for sale. Please use the contact form below to inquire.

A reminder that my 20% off studio sale is active until the end of December.

Thanks for dropping by. Moving forward, I will be updating this blog every Sunday. That seems to work well with my routine and will remove the guesswork for regular readers.

Now, without further ado — Harbinger

Harbinger, 2020, ink on 140lb Arches hotpress, 22 x 16 inches
Harbinger, detail 1
Harbinger, detail 2
Harbinger, detail 3
Harbinger, detail 4
Harbinger, detail 5

Atropa

Details, Drawings, Natural History, Stippling, Works for Sale

atropa_web

Atropa, 2020, ink on 140lb Arches hotpress paper, 14″ x 10″

I took advantage of a very rainy May weekend to finish this new piece called Atropa. It was done with .13 & .18 Rotring Rapidograph pens. I hope you enjoy it. The work is available. If you are interested, drop me a line.

– Richard

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Atropa – Detail 1

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Atropa – Detail 2

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Atropa – Detail 3

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Atropa – Detail 4

Bird of Ill Omen

Details, Drawings, Mythology, Natural History, Stippling, Works for Sale

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Bird of Ill Omen, 2020, ink on 300lb cold press paper, 10 x 14 inches

The Bird of Ill Omen, was finished earlier this year. Even though it’s only the end of March, the time spent on this drawing already seems long past thanks to the dramatic events in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The first tentative lines for this piece were drawn many years ago: the creature with the bird wings for arms and a few simple lines to indicate the form of the main figure. It was put away, and I forgot all about it. When I returned to it this year, I started by fleshing out and rendering the figures. Only when that was done did I add in the background, and the owl (lending the piece its folkloric title). Compositionally, this piece is a pattern of scalene triangles, and rectangles. The buildings in the distance echo the two main figures. There are strong lines from the elbow of the bird man to the eyeball and the hip of the primary figure. Thematically, it follows my usual preoccupations: artificial life, mutable forms and birds.

The primary figure of the artificial life form is not a scientific construction, but rather  magical creature embodying the form of its human creator. It’s simultaneously liberated from stasis by human imagination but fated, maybe doomed, by the limits of the same. Its form follows the human. It’s bias is human. The mutant may represent science gone awry though genetic manipulation – an attempt at developmental peak hopping contrasted with the slower hill climbing of evolution represented by the owl. But I guess if you’ve watch Blade Runner, or more recently Westworld, you know how reliable appearances can be.

  • Richard

PS. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to see a homage to the Residents in this piece.

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Detail 1

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Detail 2

Wedding of the Earth and Sky

Details, Drawings, Works for Sale

For some reason, I neglected to post the completed image of this piece. Here you go, along with a few details. This will be part of the Fiends of the Dark online exhibition by WOW X WOW. Stay tuned for details!

  • Richard

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Wedding of the Earth and Sky, 2020, ink on archival art board, 20 x 16 inches

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Detail 1

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Detail 2

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Detail 3

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Detail 4