Thursday, April 4, 2013


I love beautiful books, and I love when attention is lavished upon the design of a book. One of the ways this attention manifests itself is in endpapers, which at one time were quite common but have sadly disappeared almost entirely. I was thrilled when my fine publisher Tin House Books contacted me about creating hand-drawn endpapers for my upcoming illustrated edition of Heart of Darkness. One visual element which was a constant thread running through many of my illustrations was the African jungle. Or, rather, the idea of the African jungle, abstracted to the point of being a single, massive wall of vegetation. That was my earliest impression of Heart of Darkness, from my first reading many years ago, and it is an image and an idea I keep returning to every time I make the journey through the story again. For these endpapers, I was fascinated by the idea of them literally enclosing and containing the book, and that visual of a massive wall of impenetrable, forbidding green jungle was the only option. At the last moment, I decided to include a small image of Marlow in the lower right corner since this is in so many ways his story. Right now, I am not yet sure if Tin House will include that image of Marlow or if the drawing will be cropped and slightly enlarged to show the leaves only. Either way I will be pleased, and I am absolutely thrilled that this next book of mine is shaping up to be every bit as beautiful an object as my Moby-Dick in Pictures was.

Here is my drawing for the endpapers...