I was thrilled to work on a book cover for my good friend, Tom Radcliffe, for his (long-awaited) first published novel. It was fun having proof-read the novel to imagine an appropriate and imaginative cover both in content and style for his book.
Tom’s presentation of his book is humourously put on his blog. I think maybe the most apt is Dan Brown meets The Origin of the Species! This novel has many sides to it – science, religion, true love… and is good fun to read as well!
Tom has been a very frequent contributor to this blog with his varied poetry – hopefully there’s a book in all those illustrated poems (or poeted drawings 😉 ) somewhere, sometime… He has been working towards a prose work for some time and it’s great to see the results take form. It is available in both physical book or e-book, also on Amazon! Awesome accomplishment, Tom, truly a pleasure to read!
I tweeted this image recently and Tom sent me a haiku. I thought it was so perfect for the image that I have incorporated it right onto the picture. So this was partly created with Zen Brush – original drawing – and partly with Gimp – the text and signature part.
Anyway, a wonderful and inspiring 2013 to all who drop by!
Today’s quick doodle was based on photos I took of some poppies along the sea wall in Victoria this summer. What a wonderful colour they were – so vibrant and cheerful!
UPDATE: New poem from Tom takes an interesting approach to the viewer of these poppies…
I drifted lonely in a daze
though silent streets and empty crowds
befuddled by morphia’s haze
my ragged head in fluffy clouds
of chemical-contented warm
that wrapped my skinny, sickly form
when what should catch my glassy eyes
but the source of all my thoughts
a patch of burnished poppies flies
its petaled flags burnt-orange hot
that touched some smoldering waste within
this sack of bones and punctured skin
arresting now my downward drift
so that I could contemplate
the passing beauty of this gift:
a poison flower that I should hate
for though it took away my pain
it left me broken, halt and lame
but in that moment it returned
the certainty of something more:
a beauty in the world that burned
within my bruised and beaten core
which was enough to turn the tide
while poppies in the fields abide.
Unlike the last doodle, which I did from memory, this time I checked out a few photographs of fall flowers and created a composition with some that go well together at this time of year. I especially remember these three from summers growing up – it’s really the end of summer when you see goldenrod, asters and Indian paintbrush in the fields… they are a pleasant, pretty way to celebrate those last fine, warm days – and on to fall!
UPDATE: A sonnet from Tom via the comments to celebrate an autumnal and flowery equinox!
Last colours bright to catch the summer sun as the autumn equinox arrives with promise of fall’s fire that swiftly runs from tree to tree, for all that grows and strives is ready for the turning of the year when soon the snows of winter will accost whatever warmth might linger in the sere and brittle autumn carpet ‘neath the frost. Now goldenrod and asters take the field extravagantly florid floral flowers while they bloom the summer will not yield nor give an inch before those icy powers. Long summer dusk gives way to early night while still the flowers raise their colours bright.
In which Rothgar, the sea bear, swims on through the depths and Songs of Albion comes to a conclusion.
I have been having some very similar thoughts to those of my writing partner Tom Radcliffe on finishing the last image for this project. We have been at this in one form or another since December 2008. I didn’t believe it until I checked my earliest drawing file. Wow. That’s quite a sustained effort. Of course it was mostly over the last year and a half that I was producing the actual images that we used during this past year – summer solstice 2011 to summer solstice 2012. The image above will be the last one. It’s due to be posted on Friday this week. I don’t exactly think it’s a spoiler – any guesses as to what’s going on?? Good luck! lol
As Tom mentioned when he was finishing up the written part, it’s a bitter-sweet moment… we enjoyed the work, learned a lot and yet it didn’t take off in even a minor way. 😦 Perhaps this was the wrong forum for our genre (something between a graphic novel and an illustrated story). Maybe it will grow wings as an e-book. Maybe it sucks. (We don’t think so – but hey, we’re biased!)
Anyway, for the next while I will be going back to random doodles until I figure out what is next…
UPDATE: Lovely poem from Tom for Rothgar the sea-bear
Rothgar swimming through the deep
where the darkness lurks and peeps
from out behind the quantum veil
hiding Fae who hang a tale
on English wanderers who lost
and won again, now tempest-tost
they set out on the Ocean Stream
to find a world not what it seems!
Tom (Radcliffe) and I are getting very close to the end of our year with Songs of Albion. I will write more about that when I complete the last image – 5 to go! The text is getting harder and harder to imagine into image form – thanks for the challenge Tom!! This moment is one of those when the normal linear experience of time seems to be suspended… anyway, if not clear, I hope at least it’s pretty! lol
UPDATE: New poem from Tom! Thank you 🙂
time’s soft turning inward form
finds two figures lost, forlorn
swept in silence folding in
stretching space in quantum din
branching futures forming trees
whose leaves are scattered in the storm
time’s soft turning inward form
I was trying something a bit different with this one – it’s based on a Currier and Ives lithograph but as usual hand drawn on my computer. Since the text of the episode for Albion that this image will accompany is based on Gray’s Elegy, this seemed appropriate. (The image title is the first line of Tom’s pastiche.)
UPDATE: Poem from Tom in the comments reflects the image beautifully! Thanks Tom 🙂
Beyond the edges of the scene
so much more is hidden:
a lowing herd, a village green,
a graveyard and a midden
a man abroad, a castle far,
an elder pile of stone
beneath a distant rising star
with history to atone,
a country church that’s seen the wars
between the sects and Rome
yet still remained, its open doors
a window on a poem.
Behold the poet’s lurking form
within the graveyard’s close
waiting out the dying storm
while the Moon’s arose.
I was pretty pleased with how this image for Songs of Albion turned out. I like the feeling of movement in the figures. It also amused me that they are just marching into the water to load up the boat.
UPDATE: New poem from Tom! It may give you some idea of what’s going on… but if you really want to know, read Albion!
Marching down into the ocean
unperturbed by wet or cold
making not the least commotion
bearing quietly their load
to the gig hard by the shore
where all are ferried to the ship
there unloading, stowing, more
until it’s time to turn and skip
back to land and back to village
where the packing’s almost done
without waste or loss or spillage
til the day’s full course is run.
Now the ship is fully burthen
laying low upon the tide
still the breeze begins to freshen
whispering of ocean wide
while the Fae wave from the beach
bidding visitors farewell
overhead the seagulls screech
time and tide the truth will tell
as the ship turns out to sea
sailors rig the canvas high
from their landward shackles free
rejoicing in the ocean sky!
UPDATE: New poem to accompany the image – thanks Tom!!
Intensely focused on the goal
the wheels of intellect engaged
each new idea tested, rolled
between her fingers, quick and sage.
Perhaps a lever lifting there
would raise it high into the air?
But no! The crushing force will break
the oaken planks of hull and strake!
Some another way to find
fulfilling all the hard constraints
remaining free of failure’s taints
dredging through the dark of mind
to create a truth that’s new
passing down the dark and through