April 29, 2015


Yesterday saw more work on illustration revisions. My next focus was on the detail portion of the drawing for the poem Princess Bound. In keeping with the theme of hands, my graphic designer suggested a cut out portion for the blank page that focused on the subjects locks of hair tipped with small hands. In the original drawing, the hands were tiny black silhouettes. Once again, when enlarged, these hands became somewhat amorphous. So I redrew the enlarged portion and made the hands inclined towards natural positions and gave them more resolved details.

I was going to ask for people to lend their hands as models for this drawing, but striking the image button on Google brought up a rich resource of hands in various positions. Sitting at my computer, I simply adapted these into my drawing. The entire drawing is reproduced above with the revised detail
at right.

April 28, 2015

Rock and Wind: The Unfinished Verse

The illustrated manuscript I sent to my graphic designer was sent with three incomplete poems at the end of it. I did not know that they were there. I thought that I had erased them because I was stumped about how they should be finished. But my friend who was compiling the illustrations and text thought that the unfinished verse was off to a good start and urged me to continue work on them.

Two of the three verses were initially not the last of the poems but the first. They were meant to accompany illustrations (also incomplete) that were based upon paintings that I had made a long time ago and had discarded. I had some regrets about disposing of these and had thought to make some drawings of them but never did.

The poem, "Rock and Wind" took me about three days to finish writing, as I had devoted myself to writing funny little rhymes for the last two years and set aside my "more serious" free verse. Yet I finished the free verse and added it to my collection. The drawing, pictured above, took much less effort as it was patterned upon an earlier work. It was not as linear as the other illustrations in my collection but for now she is still included.


Rock, Wind

Woman of earth
Seated as a rock
spun a cyclone in her arms
whipping air into a windy spiral
of a tornado that never quite touched down

Histrionic whirling of her upper limbs
stirred the currents of the atmosphere
and beat a pathway across the heavens
a passage that coursed intently downward
ending abruptly on stationary ground

Woman of the air
Descended from the sky
rested as a lichen covered boulder
cold stone against the blue horizon
unmoving yet growing in strength
static against the swirling of her dervish torso

Rocks strewn like Jurassic eggs
punctuated the land upon which she sat
feet folded beneath her hips of stone
carved from gusts of unending wind
and shaped by the currents of ceaseless waters
-Janet Kozachek 2015

April 27, 2015

The Duchess of Lists Hides The Scream Up Her Sleeve

My graphic designer continued to cut out details from the illustrations in my poetry chapbook of women monsters. She mentioned to me that since so many of the details focused on hands, she was trying to vary the cut outs by using other details, like a decorative vase. I thought about what she noticed and realized that hands did indeed feature quite prominently in the illustrations. Not only were they a standard detail in most of the illustrations, the hand was a sub text in the poetry as well. The monsters pointed, poked, grabbed and grasped.

Having discovered the theme of the hand in my handiwork, I immediately wrote to my designer friend and told her to use just the hands as details because what she noticed was indeed a theme that could be pointed to.

The next figure to carve a detail out of was the Duchess of Lists. The detail that my friend culled from this was her hand pointing to items on a list. In redrawing this detail I added a detail within the detail. I decided to have the Duchess hiding a detail of Munch’s famous painting, "The Scream" up her sleeve. My friend thought that it was a fitting detail for the flavor of dark humor in this series of poetry.

The entire illustration is pictured above, the revised detail at right.

April 26, 2015

My Women My Monsters Revisited

For the past several weeks I have been sending out query letters to literary agencies and publishers about my illustrated manuscript of The Book of Marvelous Cats. What I have found thus far is that the manuscript makes the grade for self publishing. I would not imagine that editorial committees in that business set the bar very high but it is still nice to know that I could go that route if the traditional publishing venue does not pan out.

I did receive my first rejection letter from a traditional literary agency but did not take that very personally, especially with my long history of working in the competitive art world. Like everything in competition, it is a process.

What has helped considerably in the process of sending my work out for review was getting the illustrations and text professionally formatted, then condensed into a PDF file for making easy attachments to e-mail query letters. For regular mail, this can be conveniently printed out as well.

The illustrated cat book, neatly formatted and zipped up for the world of literary review, it was time to turn my attention to formatting a previously completed illustrated manuscript, My Women My Monsters. This turned out not to be as easy to format, as the poetry was quite varied in length. For the shorter poems, there was an easy layout with a poem on one page and an illustration on the opposite page. We ran in to problems, however, with the longer poems. These ran in to second and occasionally third pages, which meant a blank page on the opposite side. What to do?

My graphic designer decided to extract a detail from the illustration and enlarge it slightly for the page opposite the continuation of the poem. I liked the solution but then was bothered by the lost resolution upon enlargement of the cut away detail. Then I had an idea. ( My ideas for improvements in my art work also end up being extra work, but generally the end result is worth the extra effort). I decided to draw the enlarged details over again in a 5" x 7" format, making the details crisper. After I began this process it also occurred to me that I could have some fun altering the details slightly to add in something different from the original drawing. One example of this was the detail cut away for the poem Lady Joy Killer. The detail featured the woman’s hand on an AK-47. In reproducing this detail I changed the fingernails to sharpen them and altered the background into a quilt-like pattern.

The complete image is reproduced above, the detail above right, and the final revised detail at left. A peak in to a revision process that will proceed off and on for the next month or two.