The past week was fairly busy. As previously mentioned, I am working on illustrations for a very special book. I expect that work to continue into 2022. It’s not a project I can or want to rush and the publisher is being very patient! More on that soon. I am also working on a number of personal works including a series of oil paintings, and two very large—for me—drawings that are 30” x 44.” All of these projects will keep me busy through the winter.
I am almost finished the edits to my new novel and will pass them on to my agent next month. This morning, I caught myself thinking about another book. Hopefully, I can start it in the new year.
If you have time and you’re looking for a unique Christmas gift, please head on over to my online shop.
Well, today is a rainy day in Southwestern, Ontario, but it is nothing compared to what BC has gone through in the past week. I wish them well through this tough time.
I am very excited to announce that my new illustrated novel Tailor of Echoes will be published by PS Publications in December 2021! It is now available for pre-order from the publisher! There are 2 editions: a jacketed hardcover and a signed and numbered limited edition of 100.
The ancient City of Steps is transforming. Alleys and staircases appear where none previously existed. A tree is discovered at the bottom of a canal. In his search for the cause, a young, visionary architect, Adrian Peak, falls afoul of a secret society known as the Curators. The Curators task Adrian with finding a lost document called the Oneiric Chart in their vast sealed library. The chart is the key that opens a door to a shadow city in another, eerily familiar world. Lannikin Flower, the Curator’s shadowy servant, has deeply personal interest in Adrian’s failure.
I started writing Tailor of Echoes in 2018, shortly after the publication of my novel Necessary Monsters. The main character, Adrian Peak (and yes, that is a nod to Melvyn Peake), came to me right away. He is a young, adventurous architect who spends his time exploring the remotest areas of a very ancient coastal city. He envisions wild architectural interventions, but at the same time he is in love with the old soul of his city. During his urban spelunking, he notices that things are changing in very weird and inexplicable ways and set out to discover why.
This book draws together all of my obsessions: architecture, old cities, vast libraries, art, and of course monsters! PS Publications gave me the opportunity to illustrate this book, so in addition to the cover and endpapers, there are 10 interior ink drawings. One of these can be seen below.
I hope you will enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed creating it!
This drawing was originally going to be an interior illustration for my short story collection Magpie’s Ladder. I always liked the drawing, even if it didn’t quite capture the character it was intended to portray. I’ve renamed it The Bibliophile and put it up for sale on my Big Cartel shop along with a few other things.
This year has been all about books. Since my last blog update—August!—I finished the illustrations for Tailor of Echoes and I am waiting to hear from the publisher on the date of publication. I’m also making good progress on illustrations for another book that will be announced soon. I finished a first draft on my new novel and now I’m working through it to prepare it for beta readers and my new agent. So lots going on and lots to look forward to.
I’m reading Bewilderment by Richard Powers. Powers is one of my favorite contemporary authors. Last year I read his Orfeo. I’m also reading The Peripheral by William Gibson and The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay. This is the way I read, drifting from one book to another. Greedy reader. Oh yes, I’m also reading Elizabeth Kolbert’s new one, Under a White Sky.
All for now. I’m going to try and get this blog back on a weekly schedule as I hope to have some cool updates and announcements in the coming weeks.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Another busy week in another weird summer. My new novel finally reached the point where the main character is calling the shots. If you write fiction, you know that this is the magical moment. It’s certainly the point I wait for with great anticipation, when I start keeping a Moleskine near the shower and fill my phone’s note app with cryptic comments like Does M have any residual fear of trains!!? It’s also the point where my family does a check in to see if I’m still breathing or just THINKING ABOUT THE NOVEL.
I reached 57K words this week, a little better than half way by my estimation. It’s less like a first draft than one of those progressive digital images that gradually comes into focus. I’ve been back over those 57K words quite a few times as I refined the story. For this new project I am writing a female protagonist. I really enjoyed the challenge of writing female characters in my other novels, and this particular piece called for a certain voice. I’m working hard to avoid the tropes to create a truly unique and believable character. So, the book is progressing well and plot things are layering in quite nicely. Oh, and I finally got a haircut.
This week I also finished a new illustration for my “Big Illustration Project”—sorry, can’t share yet. I’m creating these illustrations with a combination graphite, carbon and charcoal. Tools of choice are Blackwing 602s, and Pearls, Wolff’s carbon and Generals charcoal. All of them are a complete headache to keep a point on! I think I spend as much time sharpening as I do shading. No matter, every technique has its challenges and the results in this case are interesting indeed. Using the Blackwings for the light and medium values and the Wolff’s and Generals for those areas where I really need to lay in the darks.
August is going to be busy AF. I need to turn in my illustrations for my last novel THE TAILOR OF ECHOES to PS Publications by the end of August. Those illustrations will be inked.
In lieu of an image from the Big Illustration Project, here is an older drawing I did with the Wolffs, called Nightdress.
I took a much longer hiatus from this blog than intended! I was surprised/ not surprised to see that my last post was back in April. Yikes.
So far 2021 has been a bit of a slow burn for me creatively. I’ve been doing a lot but mostly things that can’t be revealed for a little while yet – illustrating a couple of books, working on a new novel that I am very excited about and even doing a course. Now that these projects are on course, I want to make some time for blogging about my process and various preoccupations. Social media is fine, and I will continue on IG, FB and Twitter, but this is my preferred platform. Moving forward, I’ll start back with a weekly post (at minimum) and go from there.
In the meantime, please consider joining my mailing list. I’ll be pushing out information about upcoming books, prints and other things soon. I’ll also be using the list for some special offers.
Special thanks to everyone who took advantage of the free shipping offer on my webstore in June. I will be posting new items there in the coming week.
Finally, along with this blog, I also have a book specific blog called Amnesiac’s Library that I will be posting to as well.
I just finished these two decorative ink drawings. They were done with carbon black acrylic ink on heavy artboard. They are available for sale (and on sale!) on my webstore.
Just a reminder that I have a selection of larger works done over the past year available for viewing, and sale on my website. Check them out here.
On another note, Suntup Editions announced a new edition of Clive Barker’s novel Imajica today. It looks beautiful. Constant readers will remember that I did some illustrations for the Harper Perennial edition of the book to accompany the appendix by my friend Hans Rueffert. I’m pleased that the material we created gets a walk-on in this edition as well.
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 posted this image on my social media accounts to tease my forthcoming illustrated novel Tailor of Echoes (PS Publications, 2021). It was created for the title page. The original drawing is graphite. Since this blog is a defacto record of my studio activities I thought it should be here as well.
Busy week. I entered the NYC Midnight short story contest (for the first time, ever). I was assigned a fairy tale. So most of the week was spent crafting a 2500 word tale, which I submitted this morning. Wish me luck!
January 26th and this is my first blog post of the year. I guess the month got away on me! I have been busy though, organizing a number of art and writing projects for the coming months. One fun little project was to produce these Drowned Library greeting cards. Initially, I made them at the request of a friend, but they turned out so well I decided to offer a few sets on my webstore. If they prove popular I’ll do a some other images.
In January, I launched a new print, Harbinger also available in the store.
Finally today, if you’re interested in books, check out my book blog, Amnesiacs Library. It’s where I post random tidbits about books and the like.