September 29, 2015

Sonnets for the Malamute

I have yet to publish my illustrated poetry books. I send them out periodically and get my rejection notices a short time later. Although I do have fee paid publishers at the ready to publish for a price, I will be holding off on that for at least a few more months of trials with traditional agencies.

Despite the fact that my career as a writer of illustrated poetry has not exactly been launched in full, my work on these manuscripts paid off in an unexpected way. Excerpts from my illustrated Book of Marvelous Cats caught the attention of a writer who had just recently finished a book of sonnets for a malamute dog and was seeking an illustrator. His poetry was inspired by the premature death of his malamute. The content of the sonnets, however, were also infused with a complex personal history and decades of scholarship. He was looking for someone whose illustrations were as complex with overlays of patterns and meaning as his poetry. I got the job.

For the first illustration, I decided to allude to the dog walking alongside his master in an indirect way by focusing on paw prints. The graphic nature of this flattened view allowed me to make use of minute patterns with the prints and in the background vegetation. It was a nice way to begin the series of illustrations, as the allusive nature of an indirect reference to a living thing that was now gone seemed to dovetail with the nature of poetry.

The subsequent illustrations included adaptations of the author’s pictures of his dog as both a puppy and an adult. But those I’ll save for a later post.

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