Ok, so The Stranger was a French novel written in the 1940's about a man that was sort of discombobulated in his own emotions. As the author, Albert Camus puts it: "the nakedness of a man faced with the absurd."

Anyway, the story begins with the death of the the main character's mother. He goes to the funeral, which is at the retirement home where his mother lived out her life. The funeral is odd, but I suppose it was completely normal for a funeral in France in the 1940's- The casket is in a small house with some chairs and a skylight all by itself. There is also the funeral director and a nurse who's got some sort of bandage on her face because "she's got an abscess". Some of the residents of the home also come to view the casket. The funeral process involves sitting through a vigil with the casket all night then, at dawn, walking with the hearse down to the graveyard where they say some prayers then bury the body and everyone goes home. Throughout this process, the son smokes a cigarette, refuses an offer to see his mother's body, falls asleep, doesn't talk to anyone, walks lackadaisically behind the casket and sort of doesn't care that his mom just died.

Later in the book, he's involved in a murder and his behavior at the funeral is used as evidence into his psyche- suggesting that he has no remorse for his mother's death and therefore, he must not have remorse for the murder he committed.

The book actually won the Nobel Prize in Literature and is pretty entertaining- also, it's a pretty short read and occupies an afternoon nicely. It's chock full of symbolism and reading between the lines and deep-thought inducing plot lines. And it's French, if you like THAT sort of thing.

Yikes, Just Yikes.

Azazello is another one of Woland's henchmen in The Master and Margarita. He is described as a "wall-eyed", intimidating, fanged figure (I think they mention one fang, so the ONE fang stuck in my mind) who dons a bowler hat atop fiery red hair. He is kind of portrayed as an assassin or strong-arm, though pretty much every member of the entourage ends up killing something.

When writing these descriptions, I tend to go on Wikipedia to refresh my memory on the points I want to talk about. When thinking of this character, I thought that "wall-eyed" meant having eyes similar to those of a fish...spaced far apart, or on each side of the head, haha. Upon looking it up (two minutes ago), I found it just means that the eyes don't look in the same direction, kind of similar to a "lazy eye." But I think my imagining of the character makes it even creepier with his eyes on either side of the head, hahaha.

Black Magic Woland

The Master and Margarita is a Russian satire that speaks in both political and moral themes. The storyline is pretty complex, so I'll just gloss over the main "villain" and his posse.

In Moscow, sometime around 1930 or so, a black magician named Woland shows up and starts manipulating and secretly turning the city upside down. Not literally, though he could probably do it, since he is Satan in disguise. Going out to spread greed and the like by holding a grand magic show for a large audience and shovels out treasures to the crowd.

It's really interesting because Woland and his accomplices can just make stuff appear or disappear. Like trays of food and money and people. It's pretty entertaining!

SO, following Woland around are some great characters. I'll just go over the ones that I've drawn so that in the future maybe I can draw the rest.

Koroviev, the "ex-choirmaster", which he is referred to as on several occasions, dresses (for some reason) like a jockey. His "title" may allude to him once being a member of an angelic choir whom has fallen from grace. He is tall and eccentric. He has a pair of those spectacles that you just press onto the bridge of the nose; there are no earpiece supports. However, one of his lenses is missing and one rattles around in the frame.

Behemoth is a black cat. A black cat who is the size of a large pig. A black cat, the size of a large pig, who walks around on his hind legs and talks. And drinks whiskey and smokes cigars and loves pistols. There's once scene with Behemoth trying to board a train and pay for his fare, but the attendant says "NO CATS ALLOWED!" so he jumps off, waits for the train to pass some, and jumps back onto the caboose. He then pockets his fare. Well, I say "pockets," but you know, I guess he put it somewhere. I don't think they mentioned a gun belt, but I felt he should have one! They can just make stuff appear randomly, so that's kind of cheating.

Asian Invasion!

"To some men the most beautiful sight in this world is a sleeping Japanese woman. The sight of her long black hair floating beside her like dark lilies makes them want to die and be transported to a paradise that is filled with sleeping Japanese women who never wake but sleep on for all time, dreaming beautiful dreams."

Sombrero Fallout is about a writer who has lost his girlfriend of two years, a 'sleepy' Japanese woman. Three story lines are intertwined: his story of crushing depression and painful memories, the story he began to write about a sombrero that falls from the sky (which is probably the most entertaining one- ending in mass bloodshed), and the story of his ex-girlfriend- who is sleeping and dreaming throughout the entire book.

The imagery of the sleeping woman is amazing, as is the fact that he wrote several chapters on someone sleeping which were actually entertaining and not boring- as you would imagine several chapters on a sleeping person would be. Yukiko (the you can probably figure out) sleeps with her black cat and her dreams are powered by the cat's purr. When the cat gets up at night to get a drink of water her dreams fall apart until the cat returns. The sketch is from the opening passage- The Japanese women are supposed to be short and tall and mostly skinny (IE-beautiful...just kiddin'), but there is also a fat one (if you're into that sort of thing). I was also going to draw a Japanese girl in there snuggling with a teddy bear, then I realized that the passage had slightly sexual tones, so I figured that would be unnatural and very very wrong. The middle woman is Yukiko (the one with the cat) who is said to be the "queen of such a paradise."

It's a very good read! I read it in one sitting- partly because it's short and mostly because it was just good.

Shot Through The Heart (of Darkness)

Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness has inspired quite a few other works, one being the movie Apocalypse Now. This movie was based loosely on the story, but actually gave off a pretty similar vibe (in my opinion). Anyways.

In this rather short tale (published 1902), our "tour guide" Marlowe recounts his experience of traveling down a river in a country that is never named, but is similar to the Congo or some other country that rates yikes!/10. Marlowe is sent down into the chest of dimness to search for a rogue ivory procurer, Kurtz. Things get pretty animalistic, as things usually tend to do when exploring the darkness that lurks inside humans. It is, of course, one of the major themes in the book. A life-altering journey into unfathomed areas of life. And death. But I guess once you journey to death, then you're pretty much stuck there. Well, I definitely won't spoil what happens, but I will just say that Marlowe becomes quite determined to find Kurtz. A determination that keeps him moving down river, despite how high the darkness stacks.

This sketch is inspired by a part of the book where the steamer boat is putting along in the quiet night, when all of a sudden a storm of arrows shakes the sheets and wreaks havoc. Those natives are quite restless, especially when under the influence of a charismatic outsider!

Oh, right, and I decided to try out some water colors, since the scene takes place on a river and all. It turned out alright; I'm not too experienced with them. And it's only a sketch, after all!

The Kool-Aid Wino That I-Know

Ahhh, Trout Fishing In America, a wonderful gem by Richard Brautigan. It is packed with random, seemingly absurd moments. And yet some of them are subtly powerful, aren't they?

This sketch is from a chapter called "The Kool-Aid Wino," where our narrator recollects a time when he was a child and he was friendly with a German boy who lived nearby. The boy was "ruptured" (I'm still not really sure what that means) and spent all day loafing around his house and scraping up money for Kool-Aid. Granted, a package of the powder was only a nickel, but in this chapter the "Kool-Aid Wino," so aptly dubbed, bummed a nickel from our narrator and purchased his sweet almost-nectar.

The process of the Wino making the Kool Aid is so intriguing that it earned a booksketch. He retreats to the family chicken coop and lays out four pint-sized containers in a row. You're only supposed to make two quarts of liquid bliss (I imagined Cherry-flavored bliss, of course) from each packet, but his addiction was so great that he made a gallon! This meant that it was diluted. Ewwww.

Anyway, he would be careful not to spill a drop, as was his ritual. Then he would proceed to secure all of the containers in a nice spot until he needed to empty them into his gullet. Whoa, did I just used the word "gullet"? Awesome!!!

I decided to throw in some color, also. Mainly to point out what flavor of Kool-Aid I tasted in my head, and also just for fun.


The Call of the Wild. We've all read it in 6th grade, so the story is pretty well worn territory. Buck is a husky that has been raised as a domestic pet in a nice populated town when one day is is kidnapped, nay- dognapped, and sold as a sled dog in the Alaskan Tundra. For Buck, culture shock sets in and he's forced to adapt to his new surroundings and sort of make lemonade out of his frozen lemons.
The REAL story behind this sketch is not so much about The Call of the Wild as it is about WHY I chose this particular sketch. I was sitting in my hotel room in Chicago last weekend thinking about how it was 70 degrees when I got on the plane in Baton Rouge on Friday and now I was in Chicago in 9 degrees looking out at the snow. It reminded me about the point in the story where Buck is forced to sleep in the snow and learns to dig himself into a little snow-hole to keep warm. After that I just daydreamed about sitting on my patio at home in a T-shirt. Eating ice cream, perhaps. But instead, I drew this little sketch and was forced to dig myself into my white comforter and turn the heater up to 75. Just like Buck. Sort of.

Let's Do the TimeQuake Againnn!

It wasn't enough that Kurt Vonnegut was an awesomely talented writer. He had to go and create a character that is also a talented writer! Talented in a different sense, of course.

Kilgore Trout was an author of various zany sci-fi short stories, quite a few of which are mentioned and told in various Vonnegut books (thankfully). I love them. In some of the Vonnegut books, Trout does more than write. In Timequake, Trout takes charge!

The plot of the novel is that a 'timequake' occurs in 2001. What is a timequake? Well, it is an event that sent time moving backwards until the year 1991. Which means for ten years, people had to relive every moment, backwards. They were basically watching a movie of their lives. If you think about it, it's pretty crazy. And that isn't the end. If I remember correctly, when it became 1991 again, something else happened which made the situation a little more...timely. Without spoiling too much, I'll just say that by the time things were righted, people had forgotten how to act for themselves. So when that moment came, utter chaos sprang forth.

The one part of the book that is fixed in my memory is right after this moment occurs. Trout gets hold of a bazooka and says "F-–– the bums!" I forget exactly what was the deal with the bums, but Trout wasn't having any of it. And it may be just my mind wandering, but I seem to remember him kicking over something before saying that wonderfully hilarious line, so I just figured a shopping cart would be idea. Oh, and I'm going to feel really stupid if he wasn't in a bath robe. Because that is what popped into my head. I don't actually own the book, so if you remember what happened in that chapter, please comment about it, hahaha.

My Kingdom For A Horseradish

"I drink when I have occasion, and sometimes when I have no occasion."

It was about time I did another sketch from Don Quixote. This here jolly, simple fellow (atop his donkey) is Sancho Panza. He comically served Don Quixote as a faithful squire through various misadventures and escapades. DQ recruits him at the onset of the book by dazzling Sancho with hopes of governing his own island once DQ becomes a famous knight. The kind of thing that grabs at a peasant's heart, right?

After I drew the sketch, I wiki'd Sancho and was surprised to find a picture taken of a statue of Sancho in Madrid, Spain. The statue looks pretty much like the sketch, sans sandwich. I felt the need to draw him with some sort of food because he was constantly grumbling about how hungry he was.

Since Sancho is a rather simple, hardworking fellow, and Don Quixote is a rather muddled, disillusioned figure, Sancho is often found to be the more rational of the two. I suppose you could say that he was the brains of the operation, since DQ couldn't really claim that title, being addled and all. So, really, it was a pretty good team!


I just started reading Manalive, by Chesterton, the other day. The only other book I've read by him so far was The Man Who Was Thursday, and I just loved that one (enough to pick up this book.) And lo and behold, it has already inspired a sketch! I did have some wavy wind lines up top, but I regretted putting them down as soon as the ink touched the page, so I whited them out, haha.

So far, this is what happened in the story:

A few individuals at a boarding house in early 20th century England are going about their mundane, uninspired lives on one particularly windy day. After an especially strong gust, a large man wearing gray-green clothes lands in front of them. He had a large yellow Gladstone bag trailing behind him. I think there was a green umbrella involved too, now that I think about it. He is chasing after a hat, all-the-while saying some interesting things. All of a sudden, one of the boarding house individual's hats fly off and into the tree. The strange large man leaps up (impossibly so) and scales the tree. He retrieves the hat from the highest branches.

In the aftermath, one of the ladies at the boarding house makes a comment about him climbing tidily up the tree. He replies, "I wasn't climbing tidily up the tree; I was tidying up the tree!"

I love Chesterton's play with the language. Yeah! One of these days I'll have to do some sketches from The Man Who Was Thursday!


This another scene from The Once and Future King that just begged to be made into a visual.

For some backstory, you must know that King Pellinore spent a great chunk of his knighthood tracking down The Questing Beast, which was an intelligent and playful creature that possessed the head/neck of a serpent, the body of a leopard, the hind quarters of a lion, and the feet of a deer.

Later on in the book, Pellinore leaves his hunt to help out in other matters. The Q-Beast ends up tracking him. Meanwhile, Sir Palomides and Sir Grummore notice that King Pellinore is depressed after being separated from his new lady-interest. To cheer him up, they decide to masquerade as the Q-Beast in an attempt to get the king to give chase and raise his spirits.

The scenes of Grummore and Palomides discussing and constructing and testing out the costume are hilarious. As are the events that follow. Check it out!

OH, right! "Tantivy!" is apparently an old hunting cry from the Middle Ages. Fun!

Giving a Hoot

A scene from The Once and Future King that has stuck with me was the introduction of Archimedes. He's Merlyn's owly friend. I mean that he is an owl. I'm not sure that "owly" is an adjective otherwise.

Anyways, young Wart (Arthur), fresh after meeting Merlyn, is introduced to Archimedes inside Merlyn's scatter-cluttered cottage. To Wart's surprise, the owl can talk. And as he finds out, so can all animals! But Archimedes is rather shy until he warms up to you. So, while Wart and Merlyn go into a particularly interesting conversation, one forgets about the owl (since he is being rather sheepish. An owl being sheepish. A showl).

All of a sudden, Wart hears a voice in his ear: How d'you do?

And there is Archie (ohhh don't call them by any nicknames; they do take offense), playfully nibbling on Wart's ear lobe. At some point during the Merlyn/Wart conversation, he had warmed up to the newcomer, and decided to introduce himself. The way that the author described the surprise just stuck with me. Luckily, I have retained my child-like imagination and can perfectly imagine it, haha.

Hocus Joke-Us

You! Having trouble pulling some sort of item out of solid stone? Do you crave to experience swimming like a fish, or perhaps flying like a spar-hawk? Want to talk to animals? Then you'd probably love being tutored by Merlyn, right?

Merlyn, from T.H. White's The Once and Future King, is a sometimes-muddled and always-entertaining sort of wizard/tutor. Of course, he's the same "Merlin" from Arthurian legend. Only in White's version of the story, Merlyn ages reverse of everyone else. As the story progresses, he becomes younger. Interestingly enough, in the book Hyperion, which I have also read, there is "Merlin's Sickness," where the afflicted individual ages in reverse. I assume until they turn into a fetus? I can't remember the specifics; it has been a few years. I'm not getting any younger.

Anyway, when Wart (young pre-king Arthur) first happens upon our friendly wizard, Merlyn is trying to draw water from a well outside of his ramshackled cabin. The image kind of stuck in my head (as well as Merlyn's attire), so here it is! I'll have more sketches from this book (which I am currently reading) on the way, so check back!

Why'd It have To Be Snakes?

Thankfully, I've not been influenced by the Arnold movies. Conan the Barbarian is a brutal, yet surprisingly clever and tactical warrior. All of the short stories (that have been compiled into several volumes work, by Robert E. Howard) usually deal with Conan saving some exotic damsel from the clutches of an overly-large snake, so that's why I drew this baby. Conan is a pretty neat anti-hero. All the bad guys say "He's such a barbarian!" And then you see that the moral is that he is the most...civilized?... character in the story.

The volume I read was The Coming of Conan The Cimmerian, and it was actually pretty entertaining throughout. The timeline jumps around from petty theif Conan to ruler-king Conan and the settings jump all over the fictional land of Hyboria. Well, it is fictional, but Howard throws in a bunch of real countries just to give it enough relation to our world so that you think "Maybe these dudes did exist way back in the day." Lots of sword and scorcery. And "He looked at me funny, I'll punch him in the throat." It's pretty entertaining, haha.

Not that the movie "adaptations" weren't! The books are pretty classic, though. They're old! After all this magic and guts, I think one volume is enough to hold me over for a while, haha.

Dad's Ghost

This is from Matt Haig's "The Dead Fathers Club". The book is about an 11 year old kid, Philip, who's father has died in a car accident, appears to him as a ghost, and tells him that he's got to avenge his death before he gets caught as a ghost forever. That's the basic premise.

Upon reading the first chapter, it becomes evident that something is not quite right about the writing style in this book...then you realize that there is not one comma, apostrophe, or quotation mark in the entire book (ala Johnny Get Your Gun, sort of). However, it's great and I will tell you why I think so- Since the book is written from the point of view of a kid, the lack of pauses in the sentences make you read it in a way that sounds like an 11 would tell he story if he were talking to that's good.

Like an 11 year old kid, he's obsessed with certain things that are interesting to him- in particular, his pet fish and the Romans (whom he's been learning about in school). His class takes a field trip to Hadrian's Wall and must stay overnight. During the night, his father's ghost appears and tells him that his mother is in danger and that he must call her to get her out of the house. Philip reluctantly attempts to call with no answer. So, per his dead father's request, he steals one of the two school vans and attempts to drive it (a standard) the 4 hours back to his home to warn his mother in person. Of course, the teachers notice him leaving and chase him in the other school van and in a panic (and because he's 11 and driving a standard and being instructed by a ghost) he crashes the van into a tree. As the teacher is scolding him, he looks in the field beyond her and sees the ghosts of Roman peasants (not pictured because peasants are gross) toiling in the field and, among them, a fully armored Roman soldier. He zones out for a while and wonders if it's the ghost of Hadrian himself then gets a little excited about that and forgets that he's in massive amounts of trouble. The outcome: the school excuses his behavior on the premise that his dad just died and the kid should get a little slack. The moral: if your dad dies, you can do whatever you want. Also, ghosts are awesome.

The Doctor is In(sane)

Well, maybe not crazy...Maybe more "eccentric." Dr. Prunesquallor's laugh echoes in your head long after you put the book down. "Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha." The author (Peake) does such a great job of bringing out the uniqueness in each character of Titus Groan, it's amazing. The dear doctor is very much an intellectual. While he may seem aloof to many of the castle dwellers, his mind is always cranking away on something.

In this book, Steerpike seeks to weasel his way under the doctor's wing. By becoming the doctor's apprentice, he not only gets to learn from him, but increases his status in the castle and his influence over others. But this didn't escape the attention of the doctor, who figured something fishy was up with that kid.

This was the second sketch that I did that ended up being for this site (I haven't uploaded them in chronological order.) As I was drawing it, I thought "It would be neat to make a site where people could post skectches based on stuff they've read." That being said, this particular sketch was influence by the author's illustrations in the middle of the book. And I think Prunesquallor has a resemblance to Vash from Trigun, as well. Ha ha ha ha ha. But now I try not to let any illustrations (if any are present in the book) influence the sketches.

Oh Nice and Chubby BABBBBBY!

Nannie Slagg and the wee baby Titus are my next two explorations of the characters in Titus Groan, the first book in the Gormenghast Trilogy. And one day, I'll get a comment from someone who has actually read or heard of these books, haha.

Nannie Slagg is an extremely aged, tiny (note the proportions of her and the baby) wisp of a nursemaid whose duty is to watch over the heirs to the Groan estate. Namely, Fuschia and Titus. Mrs. Slagg is constantly fretting about everything (and nothing). She will let worry take over and lapse into a semi-comatose state. She says things like "Oh, my caution! Oh, my poor heart!" when feeling threatened or nervous. And pretty much anything makes her paranoid. So she says stuff like that a lot.

But she means well. Her poor heart completely belongs to the children and their upbringing. She is constantly concerned about her little Lordship, as she calls Titus.

Titus is the next-in-line heir to the Gormenghast throne. Such pressure for such a wee lad. The author, Mervyn Peake, made an interesting move in making the baby rather homely (but with wonderful eyes). And another noteworthy bit: The child never smiles, as if he is perpetually in a state of melancholy or concentration. You don't think of babies in that light, usually, right? Titus, being the titular character, is a focusing point for all the other denizens of the castle. They should all be affected by him; it is interesting to watch how people react to his existence. And I'm sure things will get even more interesting after he learns to talk, which I assume will happen in the next book in the trilogy!

And, before I forget, the title of this post is a reference to a line in one Animaniacs episode. If you know what I'm talking about, then you're laughing right now.


This is a doodle I did while thinking about an excerpt from Paris Spleen by Baudelaire, which is a collection of very short 1-2 page stories/musings about the state of Paris in 1869. This particular picture is from the piece called "Windows". Baudelaire writes about passing this window on the street and seeing a woman inside that looks depressed, so he makes up this life for her in his head in which the woman is always worked to the bone, never goes out, and is constantly very tired and lonely. Of course, this is all in his own head because he personally doesn't KNOW the woman (who may very well be quite happy). However, he prefers to think that his story is true and (assuming that his story is true) that he's somehow reached out to her because he knows her "story" and sympathizes with her. In the end, he says that even if the story isn't true, it's still made him feel better about himself basically just because he thought of her assumed plight and it made him sad. As I see it, even if the life that he imagines for her is true, he hasn't actually done anything to help her or make it better...That's we're all supposed to tie into the Parisian government, at the time, being all talk and no action about the plight of the common man. I just think it's an amusing short story and a fun book, in a kind-of-depressing sort of way.

Sketch By Night

Within this past year, I've finally gotten around to reading Night, by Elie Wiesel. It is based on his experience in concentration camps in the Holocaust. So, yes, it is a pretty intense read. This sketch is inspired by the image that popped into my head when Mr. Wiesel said that hunger became so rampant at times that they had to start trading shoes for food. Shoes were a hot commodity. Actually, so was food. So it worked out nicely, I guess. Oh, and watch out if you had gold fillings. As opposed to cream fillings. Mmmmm food.

On a related note, I was kind of surprised to read that the gaurds weren't much better off than the prisoners, in terms of rations. I remember one chapter where a raid hits the camp that Elie and his father are in, and the gaurds rush off too see to it, but leave specific orders in the lunch room for no one to touch the big steaming pot of soup. Of course, someone eventually sneaks up to it, only to get shot by an unseen soldier.

I'm usually more of a fan of fiction, but sometimes I do like to have a dose of reality. And though novels on war, such as All Quiet on the Western Front and The Storm of Steel, can be pretty bleak, they are also very moving and important works.

Oh, Brothers!

This is a cover sketch for a novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov. This is another sketch that I did a couple of years ago. I guess I was looking at a lot of Saul Bass at the time, and a lot of Hitchcock.

This novel is probably my favorite. It's about three brothers (Demitri, Aloysha and Ivan). Demitri is a tough military man, Aloysha is a humble monk and Ivan is a cynical athiest. There father is wealthy by marriage but basically the town drunk and idiot. Their father turns up dead; Demitri is a suspect, but who did it?


Swelter (pictured above) is the head chef of Gormenghast castle. That, of course, means he has the biggest job in the kitchen. Which is fine, since he is the biggest body in the kitchen. Keeping all the "kitchen rats" in line is a monster of a task that takes a monstrous girth to tackle it. I guess he likes to personally test all of the prepared foodstuffs.

Though I admire his...fierce dedication to the task at hand, I pretty much hated Swelter. It is probably because throughout most of Titus Groan, the first book in the Gormenghast Trilogy, he is stalking and plotting to kill one of my favorite characters: Flay. Flay is Lord Sepulchrave's personal attendant, if you will. Flay and Swelter really have it out for each other. I'll have to draw him eventually.

I've posted a few sketches of characters from Titus Groan so far, and I have a few more to post. I've only read the first book in the trilogy, but the characters each just have so much uniqueness that I can't resist drawing them. So, I apologize if you don't wish to see any more from it, haha.

Adamantium Stinks!

Wolverine: Weapon X is not a graphic novel but a novel inspired by the beloved comic hero. Written by Marc Cerasini who has a track record of the 24 books, and also I believe Alien vs. Predator, I haven't read either. It's tells the story of his past and his tortured life in the Weapon X facility. This has to be by far one of the most brutal books I've read in awhile. I was really taken aback by the sheer pain that Logan goes through. They should of called the book "Logan" since at no point in the entire story is he referred to Wolverine.

Not only does he give you an account of weapon X but also these really great stories of Logan 500 year past. Yea I didn't know he was that old either. Pretty crazy. He talks about how depressed he gets while watching all the people he loves die around him. Pretty deep stuff.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of a great story, you don't necessarily have to be a fan of X-Men or comics.

Oh and the scene I sketched is when Logan is getting Adamantium injected into his body.

Be Knight'd

I'll come right out and say that I think I would have made a good knight. One of the noble ones, not a corrupt pillager. Nay, I say. I don't think that's an odd thing to admit. People can have dreams, you know!

I think I have at least forty books (fantasy) which feature some sort of sword-bearing, armored warrior in each. I know, right?

You just can't be a knight these days. There is just no place in society for a suit of armor to tromp about. And there aren't even any more dragons or Grendels or Elfstones or anything. You have to just be knighted in your imagination. Which is one reason why Don Quixote (titular character pictured above) is my favorite book of all time.

Alonso Quixano read so much books of chivalry that, in his old age and with a lack of sleep and care, started to believe himself a mighty knight. So he slapped together some makeshift armor, renamed himself "Don Quixote" and set off on his rickety old horse across the countryside. Misadventures ensued. MANY misadventures. For example, he attacked a windmill because he saw it to as a threatening giant. I love it.

The book isn't just humor. It explores disillusionment, melancholy, deceit, loyalty, faith and many more themes and subthemes, dreams and daydreams. In the first volume, Don Quixote is trying to impress himself (and his revered maiden) onto everyone he meets. In the second volume, people have heard of his misadventures and seek to mess with him. It is one of just a handful of books that have made me laugh out loud. And at times it is extremely touching and insightful. Go read it.

Man in a high castle

This novel is from the writer Philip Dick, a very famous sci-fi writer who has had many books made into movies. This is the only Philip K. Dick novel that Dick had the ability to write drafts, he (similar to writers like Dostoevsky) wrote to pay bills and had to write quickly.
This novel is set in post WWII America, but an America that is very foreign to us. The axis powers have won the war and America is split in two, half controlled by Germany and half controlled by Japan. Germany is the stronger economic power and controls most of the finances. There is a novel that is underground in this story called "the grasshopper lies heavy" and it is about a fictional world where America and the allies won WWII, which creates a multi-layered story.
The image is a simple or typical solution for a problem like this. The sun is pulled from a Japanese banner with the obvious Nazi symbol inside which symbolizes the power of the Nazis and the far reach of the Japanese. There are fades stars in the back which make the rays remind you of stripes, so there seems to be remnants of the American flag. There should be a strong obvious feeling of the Nazi's and Japanese, with an echo of America, which is really what the book is about.
This isn't a typical idea of a sketch, but I would argue that it is as valid as any sketch. The colors are just way off (the rays should be red and the Nazi symbol should be blue), and there are stars in the background that aren't visible at all, but this was a simple sketch that I did as an idea for a book cover that I am sure I won't ever design.

Robinson Cru-WHOA!

Robinson Crusoe is, if I remember correctly, considered the first novel originally written in English. Yes, it's that old. Don't quote me on that. Or, you can quote me, but don't exile me to a deserted island if I'm wrong.


Speaking of deserted island cast-aways: Ol' Robinson Crusoe is pretty much top of my list. Ever seen that movie Castaway? Well that is pulling directly from this novel. A sailor gets stranded. What's he going to do? Well, survive of course! Foraging, finding shelter, finding fresh water, taming animals, rationing supplies, keeping sane and growing a beard are all common and essential activities! Twenty-eight years worth!

This sketch displays Crusoe's island-made attire, after being on the island for a gooooood long while!

Figure Drawing

This a Sketch of Denny from Choke. Another Chuck Palahniuk book that's superbly analytical and delves into human suffering. For those that are unaware Palahniuk wrote fight club, which was made into a movie in 1999.

Choke is the focus mainly on the character Vinicent, who is a very lonely person who is trying to find a connection with the outside world. Along his way he meets several obscure characters. Such as Denny. Who is a art student who figures that the best place to get some life drawing would be at a strip club.

Choke Is a great book! It's definitely worth a read, but be aware it can be at times somewhat controversial.

Life at Stake

Robert Neville, a la I Am Legend, which, if you didn't know, will soon be released in movie format, starring Will Smith. I think they are renaming it "I Am Will Smith."

This short story was written by Richard Matheson in 1954. The nice paperback edition I have only has some vague creepy image on the cover. I haven't watched the other two movie versions of this story, or seen any other imagery, so I've been pretty unspoiled as to how characters look.

Now, imagine you're pretty much the last person left on earth. Pretty much? Well, you see, what I mean is that some plague killed pretty much everyone else. Pretty much? Well, not everyone; some have survived but have been turned into vampiric lifeforms. So Neville goes out into the suburbs during the day, doing research and disposing of any "vampires" he finds. At night he has to hold up in his fortified house while the undeadish gather outside and taunt him and try to eat him.

So, he has to stay alive AND sane. It's a really enveloping read! Even if it's not your cup of blood. Oops, "tea."

The Snowdens of Yesteryear

Catch-22 is an amazing book. And as is usually the case, the characters all stand out. This is a portrait of Yossarian (you can see him if you look closely), but I'm sure I'll end up sketching out a few of the other oddballs as well.

Yossarian is a B-25 bombadier who doesn't want to bomb. In fact, he wants to avoid his fly missions. In fact, he thinks that pretty much everything is out to get him. He tries to tell his commanders that he's not sane enough to fly, but they respond by saying that only sane people can tell if they are insane, or some such wonderful...Catch-22? Yeah, it's all good stuff. That Yossie. He's a dude. I believe that I remember one instance of him shirking his soldier duties and spending all day sitting in a tree nude. I'm sure there was a reason for it...

You may have wondered about the title of this post. Snowden, a fellow bombadier, was a pretty huge key to Yossarian's attitude. The title is part of a quote that has stuck with me since I read it. You'll have to just read the book to find out more. There, there...there, there...

The Bunny Book

Whenever I tell people about Watership Down, they always end up asking "The bunny book?" I know. I KNOW. It is a book about bunnies. Kute wittell bunnees. But it's also about oh so much more, including war and brainwashing and survival. Didn't expect that, did you?? DID YOU???

Anyways, this sketch is just inspired by the general feeling of the book, not any scene in particular. This book can be pretty darn sad. As sad as a book about bunnies can dare to be!


This is a sketch inspired by one line in Titus Groan. In this chapter, Lord Sepulchrave's daughter, Fucshia, is off playing in the attic. The attic is a sprawling expanse cluttered with relics, knick-knacks, and what-have-you from bygone years, all of which fuel Fucshia's desire to create her own world with her imagination. This secluded spot allows her to create characters to talk to and basically escape from her less-than-satisfactory noble livelihood. One of the characters she has created is Rain Man, who walks with his head bowed, leading a tiger around by a chain. If the tiger gets rowdy/noisy/playful, he could glare at it and qwell it. The one line that mentioned Rain Main + Tiger stuck in my head, enough so that I felt it important enough to draw and speak about. There are several such moments in this book, and I'll probably draw a few more!

I Need a Sword-Stick

Ahhh, Steerpike. You keep that thin, lanky hair and that ambitious attitude away from me and my friends. Do what you'd like with Cora and Clarice, swishing that sword-stick and that fancy cape around all you wish. I applaud you for escaping the hard life of a kitchen rat, but don't reach too high just yet. There are only so many backs to stab before you run out and stab your own. Does that even make sense? I hope so. Anyways, here's a sketch of Steerpike just messing around outside the castle.

The castle! Gormenghast castle itself is a sprawling...well...expanse of construction and decay. Generations upon generations of architects's dreams and lack of upkeep can be seen here. You could pretty much say the castle itself is one of the most important characters!

Up, Up and Away

Up, up and away, pertaining to this blogsite and Lord Sepulchrave, who is the 76th successor to the title of Earl of Groan at Gormenghast castle. My how he loves his books. Hmmm, I suppose he is like ME, in a way. I really took a liking to his character, as distant as it was from the rest of the castle-dwellers. This drawing is inspired by some of the later events in the first book in the trilogy, Titus Groan.