Elemental Logics

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All of Laurie J. MarksElemental Logic covers (from Small Beer Press) in one place, together at last!

These are beautiful and unexpected books, laconic and startling.

I put the covers together over several years, starting in 2012 (!), but the line work was all on one sheet of scratchboard, with branches gradually winding across it. Having a tactile interaction with the original style helped a great deal in keeping it fairly consistent. The hardest bit was revisiting the Photoshop file every 2/3 years and trying to work out past-Kathleen’s rationale in setting up the layers.

Here are some of the very first roughs:

2012-12-13-FireLogicFirstRoughs

From there, we worked up a connected design. This is the sketch which became the final image. I must have read the first two books at this stage, but the last two weren’t yet available, so they’re more just guidelines.

CoverSketches

This was (I think) my first time using uninked scratchboard, and inking it myself in the areas I wanted line and texture. So much less chalk dust this way! All scratched with knife blades.

Process

The last book was Air Logic. Once I read the book, I had to work out how to fit the images into not only the style but the pre-existing connecting branches, and keep movement. I still quite like the running figures in the second sketch from the left on the bottom row, but it is a bit Scooby-esque.

2020-02-17-KJennings-LaurieMarksThumbnails

The books are now all available from Small Beer Press:

Fire Logic

Earth Logic

Water Logic

Air Logic

 

Illustration Friday: Hero

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I haven’t done an Illustration Friday piece for quite a while, but here is a little scratchboard hobbit for this week’s topic Hero.

The Boscombe Valley Mystery

Illustration Friday: Mystery
Two art challenges coincide this week: The Month of Love‘s “hero” challenge, and Illustration Friday‘s “mystery”. I was reading “The Boscombe Valley Mystery” to my father this morning, and remembering (as I often do when I read instead of watching Sherlock Holmes), how human and eccentric and kind the great detective is. He is funny, polite, so rarely cruel (except to Lestrade), genuinely sympathetic to preserving honour and furthering young love, truthfully delighted to have Watson’s company, carrying sonnets in his pocket and, when weary, preferring to talk about novels than crime.

“The Boscombe Valley Mystery” (1891) has the additional charms of extensive Australian connections, the need for Holmes to say “coo-ee” more than once, and the slightly jarring experience of a proper (if impetuous) young Victorian woman referring to “my dad”.Sherlock-Boscombe-Sketch

I sketched the ornaments above after finishing the story and putting on an episode of Foyle’s War, then since I’d inadvertently brought a piece of scratchboard with me, I borrowed a utility knife from my mother and elaborated on one of the designs. If I go further with the idea, I’ll work with better tools and to a larger scale (this is about 11cm/4.5 inches high).

 

Illustration Friday: Dip

Illustration Friday: Dip

I’m getting back into scratchboard after a break (I do like it for birds). This is, as usual, smaller than it is shown here. The original is 7.5×4.5cm.

In other news

  • I have introduced my mother to A. E. Housman.
  • There may be a change in hair lengths in my illustrations – on the weekend my mother cut my hair off to collar length, which must be at least a foot shorter than it was.
  • My sister’s dog is, ungraciously, accepting me as a poor substitute in her absence.
  • Since no one else has to eat my cooking for the next few weeks, I am experimenting with cooking: macarons – perfect; roast miscellaneous vegetables – very good; Sayers-inspired omelettes (savoury and sweet) – I made an omelette that worked!!!; couscous in the office kitchenette – effective; boston baked kidney beans – intriguing; gluten free cornbread – dry, but has potential; rice-milk custard – unmitigated failure. I’m sure there’s a lesson to be learned in there somewhere. But the macarons really were very good.

Illustration Friday: Celebrate

Celebrate - blue

For this week’s Illustration Friday topic, a scratchboard illustration messed with (as usual) in Photoshop. I used a sample from a scan of an old painting as the texture/colour in the image above and as the background in the version below. Both are test cases – I wanted to trial some techniques for another project that is happening (of which more in the fullness of time… but if I am more difficult to pin down than usual, this is probably the reason).

Celebrate - colour

Illustration Friday: Contained

Contained

A scratchboard illustration (with touches of colour added in Photoshop), during which I discovered that reclining on the sofa half-watching a documentary was not the best position for working in scratchboard. We learn from our experiences. Also from fairytales: E Nesbit’s ‘Melisande, or Long and Short Division’, apart from having one of my favourite titles, taught me the value of keeping scissors in your pocket. Modern women’s clothing, alas, does not run to pockets.

I bought more scratchboard today. I don’t need it yet, but I consider it one of my civic duties to keep up the demand.

Illustration Friday: Clandestine

Clandestine

Never kiss by the garden gate…
Love may be blind, but the neighbours ain’t.

Quite a large scratchboard piece by my standards – 7.5×6.5cm this week! I started with ideas of spies, and Romeo and Juliet, and then was listening to Damien Rice’s version of ‘When Doves Cry’ (I received TripleJ’s Like a Version album for Christmas – yay!), and duly picturing the courtyard, which led to thoughts of Queensland gardens and fishbone ferns and a book of bookplates I borrowed from the library. And here we are.

I have great plans for the new year, because I received wonderful art presents for Christmas: a screenprinting kit, lightbox, Spectrum volumes 15* and 4, the collection of James Jean’s covers for Fables (which I have to read carefully because I don’t want to spoil the last few which I haven’t read yet), a book of Leyendecker’s art and a calendar of 1920s & ’30s travel posters. And the illustrated Stardust and The Graveyard Book, which count because the illustrations in those have me all inspired to start on pen and ink again. Oh, and I bought a book of pulp covers before Christmas, so there’s inspiration all around.

*Congratulations to Leah Palmer Preiss, who has a picture in this volume!