It is illustrated throughout with vignettes and spot illustrations in the same style as The Bitterwood Bible.
It’s a loose, conversational, first-impressions style that I love working in. It’s so first-impressions that the label for my sketchbook notes for the project became not only the title page, but the spine lettering and the basis for some of the cover ornaments.
First impressions isn’t the same as easy. Here, more than any other style, is where I can feel all the work of observing (the world, how I work, how other people solve problems) and sketching pay off.
I particularly enjoy working this way because it catches that first response of an early reader, the images that intrigue and charm me, the conversation I wanted to have with the stories when I was first exposed to them. And also because, while there’s a lightness to the style, there’s also a lovely weight of quantity — spooling out wavering lines in response to the stories as they unfold, questioning and reacting and correcting.
More commonly, illustrating a book involves reading through, responding, making thumbnail sketches, having those approved, refining pencils, having those approved, and then working on the finals (subject to approval). For The Tallow-Wife, the selection process was simply the appeal of the text (and the limits of my abilities!), and the taste of the author and publisher as they select and place the final collection of drawings.
As previously mentioned, I’ve been working on (and have finished!) the illustrations for Angela Slatter‘s collection The Tallow-Wife and other tales, the third book in the Sourdough/Bitterwood Bible (World-Fantasy-Award-winning!) sequence. The book is scheduled to come out from Tartarus Press later this year, and in the meantime Angela and I have been putting together some promotional postcards for when the book comes out.
The dust jacket is consistent with Tartarus Press style, but underneath there is foil on the boards, and it gleams! Here is a flash photo for maximum effect (I am so happy the little fox on the stand turned out as it should).
There are many, many pictures inside, too – here are a few as they appear in the original sketchbook:
“The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings returns to the world of Sourdough and Other Stories (Tartarus, 2010), introducing readers to the tales that came before. Stories where coffin-makers work hard to keep the dead beneath; where a plague maiden steals away the children of an ungrateful village; where poison girls are schooled in the art of assassination; where pirates disappear from the seas; where families and the ties that bind them can both ruin and resurrect and where books carry forth fairy tales, forbidden knowledge and dangerous secrets.
The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings is enhanced by eighty-six pen-and-ink illustrations by artist Kathleen Jennings.
Contains: ‘Author’s Note’, ‘Introduction’ by Stephen Jones, ‘The Coffin-Maker’s Daughter’, ‘The Maiden in the Ice’, ‘The Badger Bride’, ‘The Burnt Moon’, ‘By My Voice I Shall Be Known’, ‘The Undone and the Divine’, ‘The Night Stair’, ‘Now, All Pirates are Gone’, ‘St Dymphna’s School for Poison Girls’, ‘The Bitterwood Bible’, ‘Terrible as an Army with Banners’, ‘By the Weeping Gate’, ‘Spells for Coming Forth by Daylight’, ‘Afterword’ by Lisa L. Hannett, ‘Acknowledgements’.
The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings is a sewn hardback of 220 pages, printed lithographically, with decorated boards, silk ribbon marker, head and tailbands, and d/w.”