While filing art recently, I found early printouts of some of the threads that would become Travelogues.
These were made before I knew what on earth these records of journeys should become, and I was trying to work out whether they could (or ought) to be illustrated.
I sketched my way through, and eventually realised they should not. The words that make up Travelogues were already very visual; those images needed to stand alone.
But there are metaphors and sounds in there, too, and graspings after meaning that I realise now might have been flattened into a single dimension, if I’d illustrated them.
It’s a peculiar chemistry, working in words and images. Illustrating Flyaway, I realised that I often use illustrations to annotate, and that the academic work I was doing parallel to Flyaway had drawn that away (more on that here: Illustrating Flyaway).
On the other hand, this loose, light, pencilled style suited Margo Lanagan’s Stray Bats very well — perhaps because it was a way of linking minds and teasing out thoughts (as, indeed, the text itself was — it’s a delightful chapbook of vignettes and I highly recommend it).
Travelogues, however, already contained all the snapshots I was trying to capture, and the rhythm of the railroad, and its sounds, and the strange tunnels of the mind.
Travelogues: Vignettes from Trains in Motion is available from Brain Jar Press, and through good bookstores and the usual online suspects.