Saturday, July 16, 2011


I've always been fascinated by language and it has probably been one of the driving forces behing me as an illustrator. I have notebooks just for collecting titles in; prospective titles edited down from longer sentences, stolen from conversations, things taken out of context; to one day become the parameters for a new project. Sometimes a title is enough to win me over in buying a book, and rarely do I get the same sense of optimism and hopeful possibility once I've finished reading the whole thing.

A title can be very suggestive, and two or three words can cover a lot of ground; the gap between them becomes a thing in itself; huge and full. (There is something I like about this to do with wholeness.)

Pictures have always had a close relationship with titles, but in this internet-world where the filename becomes the closest you'll get but never see, and images are borrowed and freely redistributed out of context, there became something interesting about selecting titles from a book and displaying them without illustrations.

At the Q&A at [On...] Innovation & Ownership, someone asked the panel a question I have heard a lot of times from students; 'do you think that looking at blogs and having access to so much illustration is more destructive than useful?' Seeing so many images on blogs can be paralysing for an illustrator, but ideally words have the opposite effect, and become a starting point for work.

(image credit The Pictoral History of Magic and the Supernatural, Spring Books 1964)