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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!
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.
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."
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...
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!
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, 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.