Friday, 9 December 2011

'wormwood' pictures update

Yes, I decided the only way to illustrate a poem about Constable's 'The Haywain' was by doing a picture of Constable's 'The Haywain', the only question being how to reduce a massive painted masterpiece to a sketch a couple of inches across with the wrong proportions. I am no Constable, but armed with a blunt charcoal pencil and a scrap of gessoed paper, I went for it, and the end result is something that has vague similarities to what Constable might have done as a thumbnail sketch on a distinctly 'off' day. Not to worry. I think it's recognisably based on the same scene.

After that, I went on to some easier ones. 'white noise' was illustrated by a rosebud. 'south of the border' was simple enough once I'd decided the border in question could be Mexico, so all I needed was a tall cactus and a desiccated landscape. 'channel hopping' is a complex poem full of images, so I picked the easiest - Paris - and drew the Eiffel Tower. Iconic buildings can be useful.

Some were not so obvious. I fancied drawing Charon the ferryman for 'unto death' but in the end went for some bilberries. 'the burning of ice' could have been impossible (how do you draw burning ice?) so I drew a well-endowed white bull instead. (It makes sense if you read the poem.)

Some could only have one possible illustration. 'truth and lies' had to have a picture of Red Square as far as I'm concerned, though some readers may wonder why. The piece of railway graffiti that I used for 'close at hand' was the only possible illustration. People who used to travel from Paddington Station down to the West Country before the graffiti was removed will understand. 'the diver' was a bit of a cheat, as the image has already been used for some cover art, but I reckon plagiarising oneself is fair enough.

And 'the ballad of shane and mavis' could only be erik the snail, though making him look ten feet tall proved impossible.

Nineteen illustrations drawn so far. I reckon another half dozen will do the trick, so I'll return to this after the weekend.

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