Revenge of the Lawn by Richard Brautigan
"Revenge of the Lawn" is the titular short story from a collection by the same name. I've read a few so far (there are QUITE a few in the collection), and this was the most entertaining one yet. The main bit of humor is about how a once-beautiful lawn has become cursed and barren through neglect, and now inflicts harm upon one of the characters, through various bizarre ways.
In wonderful Brautigan-fashion, a gaggle of geese stumble upon a moonshiner's mash (which I assume is the leftover pulp of apple cider or whatever they ferment) and consume it heartily.
This, of course, gets them drunker than the proverbial skunk. There are no skunks in the story, however.
So the geese pass out, and the moonshiner finds them and assumes they are dead. So she plucks them and puts 'em in her basement. Well, the geese wake up and freak one upon finding themselves naked and hung-over.
Wonderful situation, right? I thought so.
About the illustration:
Done all in watercolor. Quick watercolor. I probably should have pencilled it out a little first, though, eh? Haha, it came out alright. I scanned it and tried to take out the paper wrinkles in Photoshop, but it was just too much of a task because the midrange gets all blown out. And all attempts ended up looking strange. But this way, it looks like the geese are kind of weighing down the middle of a blanket or something, haha.
Child of God by Cormac McCarthy
I started reading this book Sunday morning and finished it Sunday night. It was that good. And, not only did I finish it in a single day, I also was inspired to do a booksketch that same night.
If you're familiar with Mr. McCarthy's work, you'll know what you are in for. Amongst his other (dark) works are No Country for Old Men, All The Pretty Horses and Blood Meridian. Oh gosh, and his latest work, The Road, from which I have also drawn a booksketch.
I won't go into what happens in the book, but I'll just say that it is a study of a human being being degraded and likewise degrading his humanity. Lester Ballard succumbs bit by bit to the hard path that was cut for him in a mountainous region of Tennessee. Isolation conflicting with society when the two are forced to meet. Depravity uninhibited by any moral foundation. Disturbing actions that apparently do not disturb the main character. Things like that. Realistic, sparse dialogue.
The momentum snowballs and when the turning point of the book came, my mouth actually dropped open a bit. Way to go, Cormac!
The illustration above is what I figured Lester Ballard, a man of about 27 years, would look like after a few days cave dwelling and many years of isolation. And maybe reacting to a snide comment from the townsfolk.
About the illustration:
I used watercolor and Micron pen on this one. That seems to be the Burt trend lately, eh?
Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures by Walter Moers
Walter Moers is a modern German illustrator/author whose novels tell tales from the fictional land of Zamonia. "Fictional lands" are always much more fun and creative than non-fictional ones.
Anyways, my friend Lauren had told me about a new book by this author, whom I had not heard of previously. The novel, The City of Dreaming Books looked infinitely interesting, but since it is new, I decided to order one of his older books for cheapsies. And a week later Rumo arrived at my house and quickly became one of my favorite books. Top three. It's that creative.
It feels a lot like one of the old Grimm's Fairytales, with its fair share of darkness and more than a fair share of violence. The characters are all unique and many are illustrated by the author throughout the book. Moers takes liberties with the page layout sometimes, in very creative ways. He also messes with words themselves, and speech in general, which adds to many characters' personalities. Such as the Dwarf King of the Underworld. He is so insane that he can't speak a sentence without flipping and jumbling words and letters. So, for example, instead of saying "Help me decide what to eat," he would say "Phel em diedec what to tea!" Luckily, his personal attendee was there to repeat what he said in normal-talk, if you didn't feel like deciphering the code.
Anyways, the story is of a Wolperting (basically a cross between a deer and a dog, that can do anything a person can do) named Rumo that is mentored in his "childhood" by a 14-armed shark/grub hybrid. Lots of crazy stuff happens and there is a good bit of fighting and eating. And love, too! And Non-Existent Teenies. Just read it.
About the illustration:
One of the few characters that was not illustrated by the author was General Tick Tock, who was created by a mish-mash of alchemist, engineers and chemists who happened upon the aftermath of a great battle. They used their respective professions to save what was left of the armies. The survivors were part machine, part human, and were dubbed The Copper Killers. General Tick Tock was forged to be their mighty leader, and soon proved his self to be both mighty and completely evil.
He is always searching for more ways to increase his armaments in more creatively deadly ways. And he speaks like this "Hello. [tick] I am General Tick [tock] Tock. Surrender and you will have a [tick] relatively painless end." How fun!
And that is Rumo he's facing. Rumo is holding his talking demonic cheese-knife. Hahaha.
The illustration was done with Micron Pen and colored in Photoshop. The chain-link fence texture was also added to the cape in Photoshop.
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
My wonderfully well-read girlfriend recently suggested that I read her favorite book, Pride & Prejudice. Honestly, I was expecting girly stuff. And to be honest, there IS girly stuff. It's about a bunch of sisters and their marriage escapades. But it's about much more than simply just that. Other girly things such as flirting, courting, gossiping, jealousy, etiquette and clothing are featured. It makes for a very interesting read.
I had actually seen the most recent movie-adaptation right before starting the book, but I tried not to let the actor's appearances influence what I saw in my head as I poured over the pages. My favorite character was, or course, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. My least favorite character being the little twit Lydia (whom I refuse to draw).
What I illustrated was one scene that was repeated often in the novel: Darcy coming off as proud and indignant to Elizabeth, whom he secretly loved. And of course didn't know how to show his true feelings.
One point that keeps coming up is the social barrier between a few of the characters. The Bennet family is not very rich, but very pleasant. The wealth factor induces both pride and prejudice amongst the characters, especially where marriages are concerned. You can't have people marrying down, apparently. That's just un-classy. Snootyville, England.
Though it may seem like I'm poking fun at the girliness, I'm really not. I rather enjoyed the novel. It was, of course, very well written. Though I did struggle some with the ornamental period language, nothing was really lost in translation. All the rules of etiquette, manners, procedures, and social guidelines in the novel are rather non-applicable to us today, but one can imagine how stringently society adhered to them back then.
About the Illustration
This booksketch was done using Micron Pen and watercolor.