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.
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.
This is an oil I’m working on. I set up a mini-studio on my porch for better ventilation.
I’ve been balancing my production between personal work for upcoming group shows, illustration and fiction writing. Balance is hard to achieve, especially when you get seduced by one particular project. This week is was short stories. I finished two that were, sort of, almost there. I might drop one here, to celebrate the first anniversary of my novel, Necessary Monsters. Like my art, my fiction isn’t intended for everyone. It’s my statement, my aesthetic. I love it when readers respond. It’s so gratifying when people “get it.”
Now that the two stories are finished, this weekend I am returning to the final illustrations for my collection of short stories (Magpie’s Ladder, PS Publishing, later this year). Work on my next novel is progressing, but it’s the kind of thing that has to slow cook.
Booking group shows into 2019. Very excited by projects coming down the line. Thanks for your interest and support.
fantastic in the shaping and combination of forms,as in decorative work combining incongruous human and animal figures with scrolls,foliage,etc.
This new piece is the first of many I’m doing on a beautiful block of 140lb Arches coldpress paper. My go-to paper is their hotpress, but the texture of the coldpress is perfect for these small pieces. It looks great in a raking light. I like to hang miniatures in unexpected places in a house, where the light can find them at a certain time of day. I hope you enjoy this one. In my filing system, it is Grotesque_1 but in my mind it is the Flowerfish.
If you enjoy process shots, you can follow my work in progress snaps on Instagram. I also post interesting things related to my work that don’t necessarily require a blog entry. In the coming few weeks I’ll be posting images of new grotesques, some new personal works and some in-progress illustrations for a short story collection called Mythos Tales, by Caitlin R. Kiernan, to be published by Centipede Press. If you are looking for original art work check out my Etsy store, Radiolaria Studios
Misguided Taxidermist, 2006, ink on paper, 11″ x 9″
I’ve decided to start an irregular category on this blog called Walking Backwards. It’s like a Throwback Thursday thing but it will appear as the mood suits. Walking Backwards will feature works, dug from my groaning hard-drive, which I created in the past but haven’t posted in a while. How far back I go will depend on how brave I am feeling.
Today’s inaugural drawing was done back in 2006. I have to say that I love sepia ink, especially on a nicely pebbled watercolor paper. It feels like I drew the Misguided Taxidermist yesterday. I remember very clearly being pleased with the characters. I think it would be a blast to illustrate a book in them manner. Publishers prick your ears! I hope you enjoy this selection.
L’Himby, 1996, ink and watercolour. Illustration for Imajica CCG
L’Himby card from the Imajica CCG, published by Harper Collins, 1997
I guess most artists must have a place where old sketches and ideas stratify over the years. Mine is known by the unremarkable designation of “the paper rack,” which is actually an old library atlas stand. It is so overburdened that one day I expect it will fall through the floor into the basement. Yesterday I was rooting through the paper rack looking for something, and I came across 3 rough sketches for a project I did back in the 90s. The project was a collectible card game based on Clive Barker’s Imajica. I did a number of cards, along with a small army of other illustrators. The whole thing was coordinated by Hans Rueffert and Sean Curran.
The top image is the finished artwork – ink and watercolour. Below, is the card as it actually appeared, 2.5″ x 3.5.” Naturally I had to fill it with as much detail as possible. The line graphite drawing was the under-drawing to the painting. The other images you see here were simply my thinking through various problems. It’s hard to believe this was 18 years ago.
In order to maintain the highest level of creative control, I have decided to publish my illustrated novel Necessary Monsters through Radiolaria Studios, my independent press. The book will be financed through a combination of crowd sourcing and money raised through special, limited print offerings. Please consider “liking” the Radiolaria Studios Facebook page to stay abreast of the latest developments.
“It is in front of the the paper that the artist creates himself.”
― Stéphane Mallarmé, Selected Letters