Further fun with pen and ink

Here are a few more illustrations I have been working on:

The green shawl gussying up a frame... from To The Lighthouse

The substitute tutor for the illustration class came up with a helpful suggestion; spot illustrations. Those little pieces meant to illustrate the inside of a book. Helpful because assessment day is the second week in December, and I am worried about whether I could make that many larger book covers (since there is a fair amount of brain work in each cover: choice of book, understanding of key elements of book, layout choice based on that, all before actually making it, usually with a mock up first).

another spot illustration for To The Lighthouse: Mrs Ramsay's knitting

I think Minta’s brooch might be another good one to do.

From the book:

“It was not until they had climbed right up on to the top of the cliff again that Minta cried out that she had lost her grandmother’s brooch — her grandmother’s brooch, the sole ornament she possessed — a weeping willow, it was (they must remember it) the tears running down her cheeks, the brooch which her grandmother had fastened her cap with till the last day of her life. Now she had lost it. She would rather have lost anything than that! ”

It also manages to have a pearl on it somewhere, though I can’t think where. In the branches? On the trunk? Floating behind the willow like a moon?

Apologies for the poor scanning job - the sea is meant to be a pale blue, but the colour has flown.

I have managed to come up with another cover, this one for Woolf’s  The Voyage Out, her first work. Look into the story of how that one came about… battles with bouts of severe mental illness and unwanted marriage proposals, not to mention the challenge of the themes and writing style of the novel. From Wikipedia:

” E. M. Forster described it as “… a strange, tragic, inspired book whose scene is a South America not found on any map and reached by a boat which would not float on any sea, an America whose spiritual boundaries touch Xanadu and Atlantis” and, reviewing the book a decade earlier, he wrote this: “It is absolutely unafraid… Here at last is a book which attains unity as surely as Wuthering Heights, though by a different path.”” 

Lastly, a doodle I did with Kilea in mind:

Fallen Pine, or, premature death of a Christmas tree



Filed under Edinburgh, Illustration, The Now

10 responses to “Further fun with pen and ink

  1. I never knew they were called spot illustrations. I love the knitting.

    • I feel like I’ve learned so much on this course, and come so far, even if I can’t compare myself in terms of ability even to other people in the class. Some of the work produced has been really impressive,

  2. Oooh, the knitting illustration came out really good — I wish I had your talent! Guess I’ll have to settle for the occasional late-night, wine-fueled karaoke that makes me feel like a rock star.


    • Thanks Mel…talent is different for everyone (and I wish I had a bit more in the arty field, forever falling short of what I’d like to be able to do). Your photos of Massachusetts are great for example!

  3. These are charming, Helen. I loved the knitting best until I saw the pine trees. I could absolutely picture that as a spot illustration in some wonderful travelogue. What an array of talents you possess.

    • Thank you Averil – just as I take a break because my wobbly hands are annoying the hell out of me with another project for the exam. If fact I’m typing with odd fingers since the others are all ink splattered. I’m glad to have a secondary hobby I can do (within my scrawly splattery range) because, let me tell you a secret…I am completely musically and rhythmically inept.

      I absolutely loved singing, but I once made a girl in my music class in primary school weep with my inability to hit the right notes in anything like a reasonable order. Several times the teacher would take the percussion sticks away from me, telling me to clap along to some song or other the better children were accompanying. Then coming over to tell me to clap quieter.

  4. Nandini

    Very creative and great 🙂

  5. I love the idea of illustrating a book. I wonder if it makes you read differently. It must. I know that selecting artwork for my blog sometimes takes more time than writing the post did– the visual is so, so important. I have imaginary photos of To The Lighthouse in my mind, and I certainly remembered the brooch. Funny, that connection between the visual and verbal.

    • I remembered the brooch too, and how important it was, but had no memory of how it was described – I had to go back and find that quote. Hopefully this will lead me to be more attentive to these sorts of details in the future.

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