Saturday, August 31, 2013

Books and Pictures

So, now I have the color version of A MOUSE IS IN THE HOUSE finished and the title back into publication, it’s time to tackle the next publishing project. Yes, I know, I should also be writing my novel(s), recording, etc, etc.

It was good to have a task to focus on for a few days and now I need another. On to the next book! I could finish working up my other picture book in progress, AWFUL ALVIN. Or I could illustrate another chapbook of poetry. Either way (or some other way, even), it is the artwork that needs my attention.

The poetry book would be a version of my long poem THE TOWER. That is another book that might be affected by the format changes at Lulu (my printer). Any square black and white saddle-stitched is no longer viable — and that would have described either one of these books (and MOUSE, as well). I’m going to color, and a slightly larger size, on ALVIN so there will be no problem there.

THE TOWER is another matter. There should be just enough pages that I can go to a perfect-bound volume. It will be in black and white, though possibly penciled gray scale illustrations rather than my typical pen and ink, and does not have to be square though I do think that might be the best look.

As long as I’m on the subject of new books, I will mention that I think I am ready to tackle an outside project or two. Yes, I’d be willing to take on, prepare, and publish someone else’s book if it appealed to me. Not that Arachis Press could do much in the way of promotion but then even the big presses don’t these days — it’s up to the author much of the time. Anyway, it might be nice to have a title or two that didn’t have my name on them as author!

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I have said before — and no doubt will again — that I consider myself no great shakes as an illustrator. None the less, I turn out my rather stilted and static drawings and hope they suffice. It is not so much a matter of technique as it is of temperament. I’m a splasher of paint, not a natural draftsman.

There’s no doubt that a part of me would like to emulate the great fantasy illustrators of the Sixties and Seventies: Frank Frazetta, Roy G. Krenkel (LOVE his drawings), Jeff Jones (I may have aped his painting style on occasion). But the guy who actually did influence me a bit came on their heels.


That would be Barry Windsor-Smith (known as just Barry Smith when he hit Marvel). Unlike the flowing pen of a Krenkel, BWS used more broken lines. And his work could (and can) be decidedly stylized. It’s more ‘artsy,’ if you will. I liked it then, I like it now.

At my age, of course, I have my own uniquely inept style but I am not above trying to learn new things. The way to do that is to sit down at my drawing board and get to work.

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