Monday, November 19, 2018

Stinky Stinky Little Pig - Space and Time Magazine issue #132


Stinky Stinky Little Pig
 
Recently I was fortunate to illustrate a story for issue #132 of Space and Time Magazine.

Space and Time has been a creative institution since the 60s, featuring a broad spectrum of short stories, poetry, and artwork in genres from science fiction, fantasy, horror, and weird fiction. It was an honor to provide an illustration and a particular joy being inspired by this story. I especially owe thanks to art director (and fellow Lafferty fan), Diane Weinstein for making this possible.

[Warning: Spoilers]

Stinky Stinky Little Pig is a tale by author David Sandner about a taxing encounter between an aged Lewis Carroll, a grownup Alice Liddell, and one of her young sons.

In an odd coincidence, I have always been drawn to the lives surrounding the "real" Alice in Wonderland. In the mid-1980s there was a movie titled Dreamchild which focused on the relationship between Charles Dodgson and Alice Liddell. It's been a while and I cannot speak to the quality of the film now, but the movie left a profound impression and throughout my life I've read several books specifically about Dodson and the Liddell family. Many of those books are still in my personal library.

So then, as I flipped through the story pages provided by the magazine and it is revealed this is, in fact, a story about Dodgson and Alice, I unexpectedly found myself gasping and tossing the manuscript across the room. It was frighteningly fortuitous that my first experience professionally illustrating a story should be on this subject.

I couldn't finish reading the story immediately. Instead, I Googled the author. David Sandner is a professor of English and scholar of Romanticism and children's literature. I remembered from school that Romanticism encompassed art and illustration as well as prose and poetry and I started looking for something in those works to inspire my illustration for this story. 

I found that inspiration in The Sleep of Reason  Produces Monsters by Francisco Goya.


The image of the dreary artist haunted by woes embodied by wildlife guided my own concept. One difference of note: Goya's monsters are focused upon the man, whereas mine are hidden and dismissive; as if the character is haunted not by their leering eyes but the lack thereof.

I drew upon a number of references and interspersed as many clues as I could fit, from Dodgson's home at Oxford to Tenniel's original illustrations for Through The Looking-Glass; from portraits of Dodgson to photographs of Alice's children; adapting them as best I could to my cartoonish style.

In total it was a fulfilling experience and in so many ways a dream realized. 

Click image to enlarge


2 comments:

  1. Anthony, I loved your artwork on this piece. The new work you came up with for issue #133 is brilliant. So happy to have you aboard!

    P.S. I've never read R.A. Lafferty, so I just ordered The R.A. Lafferty Fantastic MEGAPACK®

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  2. Angela,

    It means a lot that you're happy with the illustration. This whole process is still very new to me and it's encouraging when someone takes the time, as you have, to let me know I'm moving in the right direction.

    I'll blog about #133 soon, how I had several false starts and what ultimately compelled me to set aside my cartoonish style for that illustration.

    R A Lafferty was a singular voice, a fellow Tulsan, and the kind of writer that appeals to other writers but never really found a permanent foothold with popular fandom. Neil Gaiman, Gene Wolfe, Cat Rambo, and Michael Swanwick are all Lafferty devotees. I'm flattered that you grabbed some of the short stories and I hope they hit you in the right spot because when they do it kinda changes what's possible.

    Take care,

    --Anthony

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