Before I made a living creating art, writing was my life. I went to college for a writing degree and worked on a novel in my free time. Life has a funny way of changing directions on you, though, and I now find myself sans a degree and selling my jewelry and art as my day job instead of novels like I thought I would. I love my life the way it is, but the one thing I regret is never finishing my novel. I’m rather embarrassed that I’ve been working on it for 15 years and it’s not at the point I want it to be. I’ve finished many drafts of it, but never found it perfect enough. I’ve had these characters in my head for so long, and I feel like I need to tell their story, so I’ve been trying to set aside some time every night to write a few pages.
If I ever do get my novel published (and it’s so easy to do self-publishing and promotion these days), I’d love some artwork to go with it. I’m considering starting some portraits of the characters or paintings of the landscapes. This got me thinking about art in books. There are times when it is needed – giving the reader a better picture of what is being described. And there are times that the subject is simply so interesting or beautiful that it deserves to be seen.
I browsed my usual sources of awesome art and found some amazing pieces from original books and stories, as well as unique depictions of classic literature.
The New World – Book Cover by Victor-Lam-art
Alice by tomape
Vintage Typewriter Illustration by BearAndRobot
In Boise, Idaho, there’s an amazing place called Antique World Mall. I could spend days wandering through the huge expanse of aisles, looking through the crowded shelves and glass cabinets and never see everything. They have everything vintage and antique imaginable and every time I go there I find something I have to take home with me. They are items that were probably commonplace and taken for granted, but somehow survived for decades without being discarded. And really, it’s those everyday items that help sum up an era of time and speak volumes about the people that lived then.
Mint Green Custom Painted Olivietti Typewriter by ClaireLaSecretaire
I love vintage and antique items, and am a little disappointed that collecting them is a trend now. I collect typewriters, among other things, and used to hunt through the discarded electronics in the backs of thrift stores for them. I once found a 1920′s Corona this way, priced at only $4.50. Those days are long gone. It’s difficult to find a typewriter for under $100 now. However, it’s much easier to find art and crafts inspired by vintage and antique items, or that have been incorporated into something new. Check out the wonderful items below!
Miniature OOAK Handmade Primitive Vintage Teddy Bear by RaggyBears
Asteroids ATARI Video Game Clock by RecyclingTime
Written and illustrated by Canadian artist Camilla d’Errico, I can honestly say that Tanpopo is one of the most unique books I’ve ever come across. Drawn in d’Errico’s signature style, I can only describe the artwork itself as whimsically modern, with the influence of Japanese-style illustration delightfully apparent. Aside from the artwork however, what makes Tanpopo all the more intriguing is that the story, while highly futuristic, finds its roots in classic literature.
While the book turned out to be different from what I was expecting, I didn’t come away disappointed. Since the blurb described Tanpopo as “superhumanly intelligent and inhumanly emotionless” and “ruled by her mind and vast knowledge” I think I was expecting some kind of kawaii-borg hybrid that was an impartial observer of humanity. But the ‘emotionless’ Tanpopo is anything but: she holds a startling fragility coupled with a determination to know the truth that sets her apart from being a mere automaton.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no expert on Japanese literature. While I’ve read Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 and a fair amount of traditional Japanese literature and folklore, I have yet to immerse myself in the wonderful world of contemporary Japanese literature.
Instead of jumping right in and gorging on as many modern Japanese novels as I could find, I decided to ease into things by reading Digital Geishas and Talking Frogs: The Best 21st Century Short Stories from Japan, a collection of short stories by some of Japan’s most respected authors.
I can honestly say that my mind has been blown.
The stories are whimsical. Uniquely written. In many cases, downright disturbing. The stories stick with you, gnawing at your psyche as you try to figure out their meaning, the hidden symbolism. You begin to dance circles around your own thoughts, wondering if the characters of these stories have somehow invaded your brain.
Because if there is any common thread between the stories in this collection, it is the fact that many of the protagonists and supporting characters struggle against themselves and battle against what can only be described as mental imbalances. Some of the stories leave you wondering if what you read was the true account of events, or something created in the mind of the character. Continue reading
I’ve always loved looking at books in different languages, and this article got me thinking about Japanese book covers specifically.
I’ve never really looked at Western books that have been translated for the Japanese market, so I thought it might be fun to look at some of the more popular book series of recent years and see what they looked like in Japan.
Which cover is your favorite?
The Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
We are going to rewind a bit for this week’s look at geek fashion to this past Friday. I hope that you all had a wonderful “Star Wars Day,” but I’ll have you know May 4th was not a day only for Star Wars fans to revel in their fandom glory; it was also a day for us hardcore Alice in Wonderland fans to walk around with a smile on our faces. You see, the 4th of May is the day that our dear little Alice fell down the notorious rabbit hole in pursuit of the White Rabbit and into Wonderland, thus sparking many a childhood fantasy (along with adulthood obsession). While I know that the big day has come and gone, that doesn’t mean we can’t find ways to work a little bit of this land of madness into our every day. So then, my curious readers, won’t you follow me down the rabbit hole?