Recently, I started drawing cute lil’ woodland creatures. This is definitely a departure from my usual interests of ghosts and vampires, but hey, what can I say? The weather is lovely right now, and I live in Minnesota: woodland creatures are going to start appearing in my illustrations from time to time.
In fact, I’ve enjoyed making these little guys so much, I’ve begun laying out an idea for a children’s book (my beginning sketches and writing below). So, yes, this is a bit different than my usual work, but I have no problem with adding a little cuteness to my life from time to time.
The premise? A little bear named Birch is just a bit too impatient and a tad too curious, and it gets him into a small adventure in the woods.
I recently finished a series of illustrations that will be included in a compilation of comics entitled, “The Shirley Jackson Project: Comics Inspired by her Life and Work.” The entire collection will be released this coming fall, and it is edited by comic artist Rob Kirby http://robkirbycomics.com/Rob_Kirby_Comics/Home.html, who has been great to work with and an inspiration with his own unique portfolio of art and comics. I’ll also have my work featured alongside many other talented artists, so it definitely didn’t take long for me to give an emphatic YES! when I was asked if I wanted to be a part of this. Below is the cover of the upcoming compilation, designed by Michael Fahy.
I’ve previously written about how much I love Shirley Jackson, so when I was invited to contribute to this project, I was overjoyed by the prospect of honoring my favorite author. However, when I actually sat down to create the work, I became paralyzed by what seemed like the insurmountable task of doing justice to Shirley Jackson’s work.
So…I had artist’s block. Pretty hardcore artist’s block. The kind that keeps you up at night with guilt, because you know deep down that you have it in you to complete the project but something – be it fear, intimidation, laziness – is getting in the way. Thank God for deadlines. I knew I had to finish the project, even if I was struck with the fear of not doing Shirley Jackson’s work justice. So, I whittled away at the project, and at last came up with some pages that I felt pretty happy with.
I used my very favorite book of all time, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, written by Shirley Jackson in 1962, as my inspiration. It’s just the right amount of mid-century goth with all my favorite themes—alienation, isolation, murder—mixed together in one delightfully morbid novel. Below, you can see the title page I created for my submission to the Shirley Jackson Project:
And another drawing detail included in my work:
An aside note: I have always ALWAYS ALWAYS wanted We Have Always Lived in the Castle to be adapted for film. I’m just sayin’ if any producers need a creative consultant for a film adaptation…I’ve got ideas and I’m just an email away.