Just arrived from the printer. 16 new designs. Plenty of Creature Action. I'll be selling them at fairs, markets, shops and my Etsy shop. There will be nice gift packs. I'll post more about it soon. In the meantime, here's one of the designs:
I've been drawing the buildings here in New Orleans for a while now, and I'm starting to feel like I'm getting somewhere. New Orleans architecture is Old, and features a lot of patina, sagging wood, creeping vines and plain old rot. As a result, houses here tend to look like tired, twisted old creatures. What's been most interesting is finding a path away from completely naturalistic renditions towards a more abstract and decorative style, a style that brings out the character of a building.
I found a lot of help in looking at the work of Nigel Peake, an illlustrator with an architectural background. I love his focus on lines and patterns, and his beautiful colour palette.
This is the first house I've finished and am happy with. It's available in my Etsy store.
Some snapshots from Paxton Gate in Portland, OR, on a recent visit. It's a fascinating place, part cabinet of curiosities, part natural history museum shop, part contemporary art gallery. There is fanciful taxidermy. There are fossils and botany books. There are clever pieces of art and design. A wealth of inspired ideas and faux-scientific aesthetics. Here is their website.
I picked up this slim but surprisingly powerful little comic at the Portland Zine Symposium. Bjornstrand’s appeal lies in the skillful way it balances its outlandishness with severe restraint.
It’s the story of a group of distantly seen tiny, dark humanoids (?) being menaced by a monstrously cute giant blimp of a creature - the titular Bjornstrand. Who is Bjornstrand? What does he want? It doesn’t really matter. He wreaks havoc in the lives of his tiny, anonymous victims, and we see events unfold as through a fuzzy, grainy lens. This drawing style is very appealing to me. It’s that texture, the fuzziness and the distant perspective that create a dreaminess, an otherworldliness that draws me in so absolutely. A little like hearing music on a very, very old tape, or seeing a deer walk through a thick fog. The style of the drawings is simple and doesn’t reveal much aside from a basic landscape, Bjornstrand himself, and his prey. It’s devoid of detail, focusing instead on texture. There is, too, an interesting disconnect between words and image: while the dialogue comes from the humanoids, Bjornstrand’s is the only face we see throughout the story. Granted, it’s a vapid, seemingly lifeless face. For all I know, Bjornstrand is a giant balloon, tossed and turned about by gusts of wind. Because of the absence of a relatable character, the dialogue feels almost like an internal voice. All these things make me feel strange, in the best possible way.
You'll find an interesting interview with Renee French here.
This is my latest Feral picture. It was the most complex one so far. I wanted the background to be really dense, and it required a lot of work. As usual, it's done with a fineliner, colour pencils and infinite patience.
When I draw these pictures, I come up with a general idea of the image, and then, while drawing and gradually conceiving of the details, I start to spin a story around it, trying to work out what exactly is happening. This one is a mystery even to me, as I can't settle on a single explanation. I'd like to think that there is a transformation in the works: the foxes are really spirits, and they are in the process of a magical ritual, changing a human girl into a fox. Or the opposite: a fox is becoming human, before venturing on a mission into the human world. Maybe the girl was raised by foxes, deep in the woods, and her fox family is watching over her while she sleeps.
Like the other Feral prints, White Foxes is available in my shop.