Monday, December 21, 2015

Laff Libs

Laff Libs, RA Lafferty
Laff Libs by Anthony R. Rhodes

How impishly giddy would it feel to buy a book of Mad Libs that both mimicked and illustrated the complexity and style of a couple dozen great authors?

Monday, December 14, 2015

Ghost in the Corn Crib

RA Lafferty, Ghost in the Corn Crib

“And be careful you don’t let go of it till after you’re dead.”
‐‐Ghost in the Corn Crib

This particular illustration for RA Lafferty's story Ghost in the Corn Crib had some rough starts for me. After several aborted tries, I ended up using a tiny 1-inch sketch scanned at high resolution and worked out the details in the computer.

It's the first illustration I would not send my grandmother. My mother, always proud to show off my work, raised a few eyebrows with it at her workplace.

But I'll stand by it, as the physics in the picture work the same as they do in the story (intimidating ghost and all).

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Lafferty in the Green Room

R.A. Lafferty, In the Greenroom

This illustration, at some point, had text on the wall behind the character that read "Dare to Know Your Heroes." It was to be an exclamatory charge into battle against preconceived expectations, and my answer to the old adage to the opposite.

"Never meet your heroes" is a good warning for avoiding disappointment. But it recommends we hide in our sunny, honeysuckle worlds and that our heroes be larger than life. It is not a path to acceptance or any other real understanding of an individual. We are human, through and through, and even the best of us are good, at best, in spite of ourselves.

Just as I finished the illustration a discussion spilled into the Lafferty Facebook group with some expressing concern that Ray's drunken exploits at conventions would stain, overshadow, or otherwise take away from his literary works.

I understand their concern, but disagree. In fact, with convention tales as eccentric as any of his short stories, I think it only makes reading Lafferty more interesting, endearing, and complex.

Nevertheless, I struck the text from the illustration. Partly because I was still introducing myself to the group. But mostly because the lettering itself started to feel too heavy handed.

That said, please do dare to know your heroes.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Narrow Valley

RA Lafferty, Narrow Valley
“I didn’t mean to lie, I forgot about that thing,” Clarence Little‐Saddle said.

‐‐Narrow Valley, R. A. Lafferty

The idea for this illustration came in the half-thought before sleep. In that drudgery of sense Half-self Anthony nodded, "Yep. That's a keeper."

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Seven Day Terror

Seven Day Terror, RA Lafferty

“You’d better try it on something else. Dishes cost money.”
‐‐Seven Day Terror

Illustration of a class IV Disappearer, plucked straight from the hands of the child who crafted it after seven straight days of terror.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Slow Tuesday Night

People made up their minds fast, and Ildefonsa had hers made up when she came.
‐‐Slow Tuesday Night

My illustration for R.A. Lafferty's Slow Tuesday Night.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Frog on the Mountain

 “Papa Garamask,” Chavo chortled in a booming giggle from above, “fear you nothing. I will roll boulders down on Sinek and kill him.”
                           ---Frog on the Mountain by R.A. Lafferty.
Illustration by Anthony R. Rhodes.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thus We Frustrate Charlemagne

Thus We Frustrate Charlemagne, RA Lafferty

“Oh, no, no!” Valery forbade. “Not again. That way is rump of skunk and madness.”
‐‐Thus We Frustrate Charlemagne

 My illustration for Ray's classic time travel tale, Thus We Frustrate Charlemagne.

This might be, at least as far as I am aware, the first attempted visual representation of the Institute for Impure Science. Also referenced here: Tron, Lafferty's door, and of course, rump of skunk and madness.

Thursday, November 19, 2015


RA Lafferty, LAFFCON

Tomorrow is to be the official press release for LAFFCON1, the first conference dedicated to R.A. Lafferty. Normally I would never jump the gun on something like this. But today I have the liberty of being unwatched, hidden from view, shouting from an abandoned hilltop into an empty valley. So, what the Hell? Might as well.

The website for the event can be found at

There were three rough sketches created for the poster.

The organizers went with option #3. Which was a good choice.
They opted to remove the shadowy figures from the final version to avoid confusion, but here it is as originally intended, purple ghosts and all.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Boomer Flats

RA Lafferty, Boomer Flats
 They lay down in the red roaring river, and one of the giants set a heavy rock on the breast of every person of them to hold them down.
‐‐Boomer Flats

An illustration for R.A. Lafferty's climax to the short story Boomer Flats. Originally intended to accompany a particular essay in Feast of Laughter.

I decided while sketching this out that I would try to draw characters that reoccur in the stories, like the various members of the Institute of Impure Science, as consistently as possible across illustrations.

I don't plan on overtly identifying who is who, but over time I suspect people will be able to put faces to names.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Hole in the Corner

Hole In The Corner

“Shriek, shriek,” said Mama Regina, but her voice was muffled.
‐‐The Hole on the Corner

Hands are busy finishing up the fine details of the next Feast of Laughter, the R.A. Lafferty bookzine. To celebrate their hard work and as a belated hurrah for Lafferty's birthday (Nov 7), here is an illustration of Ray's classic short story Hole in the Corner.

This was my second illustration still learning the basics of Inkscape. I remember going to a lot of trouble to get what few details there were of the monstrous Homer into the illustration.

Only after I had finished did I realize I'd made the human legs short.

Thus, the Hoose family is a smaller family.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Ninety-Ninth Cubicle

He saw the whole world with garish orange eyes now.
--R. A. Lafferty, “The Ninety-Ninth Cubicle”

My illustration for R.A. Lafferty's The Ninety-Ninth Cubicle, with a not-so-subtle nod to the unforgettable cover of Feast of Laughter #1 by illustrator Lissanne Lake

Friday, October 30, 2015

Lafferty Halloween Mask

RA Lafferty Mask

Tomorrow is Halloween and in the spirit of the holiday, of Lafferty fandom, and of milking every drop out of a single illustration here is a link to a R.A. Lafferty mask.

Anthony Ryan Rhodes

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

It Begins With A Bang

It started with this:
Or rather, this:
Cute thing about the above illustration; it had been so long, I'd forgotten how to sign my artwork.

As a kid I was good at art
And I was good at science.
I went to college
For science.
Didn't make art for 25 years.
A quiet life.
Then along came Lafferty.

I saw an opportunity. I'd been in a vacuum for years. I'm not the sort of person who creates art in a vacuum.

Neil Gaiman led me to R.A. Lafferty. Lafferty, like me, is of Tulsa. I found the East of Laughter Facebook group. Then, before I knew it, a door was opened. You've seen, perhaps, what happens when you open the door to a vacuum. Everything inside explodes out.

Several of my illustrations will be appearing in the third volume of the Feast of Laughter serial (, a fan organized collection of appreciation for the man and his art.

There exists a short stack of Lafferty inspired artwork, mostly created in the 60s, 70s, and 80s when the man was alive and his books in print. To stand out from other artists I downloaded a free copy of Inkspace and taught myself how to draw in vector. It's a clean but tedious process akin to tracing a pencil drawing with inky Play-doh snakes. I could see what worked in previous volumes. Black and white worked, so that's where I started. The illustration above, Lafferty Bang Bang, was my first.

It has been enormously freeing, after so many years, to have a creative outlet and the Lafferty fan base has been nothing but supportive. It's been wonderful.