Dec 2010

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell



I just finished reading the excellent book Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. Thoroughly enjoyed it. (Yes, I know it’s been out for a while now. I’m behind on my reading. And a big thanks to my nephew Justin for tossing it my way.) The book tells an alternate reality tale of the return of magic to England. It’s written as part social commentary, part re-imagining of history and part fantasy/adventure all done with a victorian sensibility. While vague references to the Harry Potter series seem unavoidable, this is a much more cerebral yarn - percolated through a Dickensian filter.

Typically I create a portrait of the characters and settings in my mind as I read, and like one of those old Dicken’s novels this story has a lot of great characters to imagine. Usually I’m visualizing the scenes as the story progresses, kind of like watching a movie. This quick sketch, done with charcoal on Strathmore, was a first attempt at committing a couple of those character visualizations to paper.

Santa Sketches

Here’s a seasonal page from my sketchbook, some drawings of Santa Claus, our beloved seasonal, seasoned citizen. These were done with my favorite sketching tool, a Bic Ultra Round Stic pen. I love the lines I can create with this pen. I can go from faint, thin strokes to very dark lines and almost have the feel of a pencil. That’s probably not a great thing from a heavy writer’s standpoint, a ballpoint pen with “drag” but for this artist it’s a feature, not a bug. I’m asked very often throughout the year to draw and paint Santa images and I always enjoy creating variations on the character.