Thursday, 26 April 2012

Moby Dick

I recently took part in a project called DoeDeMee (Dutch for "Are you in").  It involved lots of international artists, designing a selection of classic book covers from a list of 'The 100 Greatest Novels of All Time' (list originally from The Observer newspaper in the UK).  The idea was conceived by the talented graphic designers at Beshart in Belgium.

The main idea is to promote reading and celebrating well loved classic stories and to hold an exhibition of the resulting covers as posters.  I was selected and chose Moby Dick as my book.

I read Moby Dick a couple of years ago and loved the depictions of life on a whaling ship. It is very visceral and dramatic. A time and lifestyle far removed from me. It is a layered book with lots of symbolism with themes of obsession, religion, mortality, might and progress. I was inspired by the whaling log books I saw scans of online, with their beautiful calligraphy and the whale stamps that they used to depict their haul (you can see my reference to that in the sea in my image). Moby Dick and his perceived evil barbarism is infact entirely projected by the Captain Ahab. A creation of mind and word and since Moby Dick is also a rare albino whale he is shown in my image with bright white lettering. It is a complex and rewarding story of adventure. Well worth a read!

Here is my finished version:

I got out my random selection of letterpress letters and my lino tools. It was messy and great fun.  I made lino cut outs of whale shapes (some of which you can see in the sea section of the image). As I was washing off my ink i did a print of the ink running down the plate and that became the sea texture you can see in the image!  You never know what will be useful in a picture!

Here is another version I did and liked but it didn't have quite the right balance. There are already quite alot of covers out there with huge whales bursting from the sea:

Here is a picture of me at work, printing in my kitchen!