Letters to Ellie

So just in case someone was interested, this is an eBook that I did some illustrations for. It's about the author's experiences with having a premature baby and - actually I think I'll just steal the description from amazon (it will probably do a better job of explaining what it is)


"Dana always knew that when he one day had a daughter, he would write her letters. Letters filled with fantastical stories. Fatherly advice. Words of encouragement. His letters would be their little ritual together and he always assumed he'd have a lifetime to tell her his thoughts. But when his daughter Ellie was finally born, the unthinkable happened. Arriving in the world sixteen weeks too early and weighing only one pound and six ounces, she survived only at the mercy of sophisticated technology and astonishing medical interventions. Even then, the odds of Ellie living was at best a coin toss.

Helplessly hovering above his daughter's incubator, Dana did the only thing he could think of: he began to write her his letters. With a lifetime worth of things to say but perhaps only a precious few hours to say them, he worked on this letters feverishly, not knowing if each new day he had with Ellie might be his last. In his letters, he documented her hardships in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. He wrote her stories about children made of clock parts and journeys to the edge of the world. He gave her advice about how to find romance, how to find happiness, and how to find "secret bathrooms." And finally, he filled his letters with enough tender words, tears, and love to last a lifetime."

Anyway so I just did the cover and the illustrations for the short stories that are included inside. So if you want you can take a look at it (but don't feel obligated to do so).

Letters to Ellie on Amazon


'Beware of Doors'

No truly, they can be the most passively aggressive creatures. Always striking out at you when you least suspect it, always there in the way when you need them the least, and always resolute in their belief of letting you do all the work. And you can never trust those automated doors. Who knows when they're gonna close in on you (I find it wise to keep one eye on those tricksters at all times. A brisk pace is also advised).

Anyway before things start to go a bit strange, I would prefer it if I could claim that this period of inactivity was the result of an increase in activity in other areas of my life, but that would, unfortunately, only be a lie. I can show, thankfully, proof that I didn't completely waste my time over the past few weeks. Proof that sadly enough presents itself in the form of an unfinished illustration that, while detailed, isn't exactly a great example of illustrative excellence.

It is a somewhat decent attempt at a kind of illustration that I have wanted to produce for a while, but like many first attempts it didn't quite reach what I wanted it to (see, I can be positive... Sort of. I could have been much more depressive than that). And if you're in anyway curious about the subject matter, it's supposed to be based on Neil Gaiman's 'Neverwhere' novel, which is one of my favourite books to read (a list that probably exists in some multiple of ten). If you haven't read it than you should, and if you don't happen to read books in general then, again, you should (I'm kidding, you don't have to if you don't want to, but still... You should).

And because quoting a novel takes much less effort than writing my own small piece of text:

"It was loud, and brash, and insane, and it was, in many ways, quite wonderful.
People argued, haggled, shouted, sang. They hawked and touted their wares,
and loudly declaimed the superiority of their merchandise...
Everybody was buying. Everybody was selling." (Neverwhere, 1996)


Curiouser and Curiouser

So, after minutes of deliberation and seconds of agony, I have decided to forgo original ideas for the time being to do some Alice's Adventures in Wonderland illustrations, just to save me the trouble of coming up with ideas myself (and give my poor underworked brain a not-so-well deserved rest). Now, before people start assuming that I am a complete embodiment of sloth, it is also because Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass happen to be two of my favourite books and I want to work a bit more with other peoples ideas. I plan to produce more illustrations, but this will probably be the only one for a while.

Oh and to possibly add to my ever growing state of indolence; to anyone who happens to hold any sort of knowledge on previously done illustrations for Alice, yes, I have taken a lot of influence from Arthur Rackham's illustrations. He is already a big influence of mine so it was inevitable that mine would end up similar, albeit completely inferior. I am also forced to admit that for this particular illustration I did look a bit more closely at his work than I normally would. (Just look him up if you have no idea who he is and everything will become shockingly clear)

“But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad."
"How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, or you wouldn’t have come here.”

Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
(Coincidentally, this also saves the trouble of coming up with a short poem/passage about my illustration)

Time Spent, and Something Gained

So before I get into what I've actually worked on, I just wanted to share something I got in the mail (well part of it, but I'm pretty sure no-one wants to know what I read).

Look, look! It's my Book Depository bookmark. I probably would've gotten one earlier, but I've been trying to cut back on how many books I buy (I was averaging 5 books a week for a while, which obviously isn't really sustainable).


It's probably not that big of a deal, but it's still nice to see your work in a physical form - especially when you didn't have to pay for it to be printed.

Bringing it back to more recent illustrations, these are a couple that I've been trying to get done for the last couple of weeks (obviously they're still not done, but I'll get there eventually).

With battles fought and wars in vain
Over and through, he ventures
All his struggles, his endless strain
Time as always the victor