October 2, 2015

Sonnets for the Malamute: A New Turn

Sometimes even the clearest and best laid plans go awry. After carefully considering the format of my illustrations for my client, we settled on portrait style, or vertical illustrations. Everything went as planned and my client seemed happy with the project’s progress as I created detailed 8" x 10" art work in a vertical format. While at work on the next illustration, however, halfway through the completion of the drawing, I realized that for some reason, I had turned the page and started working from left to right in a horizontal format. I am not certain as to why. Was it the horizontal images of Elizabethan woodcuts that I had been studying for inspiration on the theme of death? Or was it some feebleness of mind leading to inattention to an important detail?

Whatever the reason, the subject of two figures side by side seemed to work better on the horizontal rather than the vertical. Death and the dog. Death is horizontal, yes? The grim reaper is the great leveler. Perhaps those ideas impressed themselves on my unconscious, causing me to turn the page a different way.

I could justify the horizontal both aesthetically and conceptually for this illustration of death. But how would I justify it for my client when my contract called for vertical illustrations? I decided that because I had put so much work in to this illustration I had to think of a way to appeal to my client’s good nature so that I would not be obliged to start over again. I offered a discount. He accepted with the caveat that perhaps the next illustration could also be horizontal so that they could be paired in the text. Since my ideas for the next illustration also would work better for a horizontal format I was quite amenable to the change.

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