Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Quarterly with an interview with Pelican Shakespeare cover artist,Manuja Waldia

Hello all,
Today I will spotlight the work of a new artist I came across,as you all know, I'm an
 avid Penguin Classics reader and collector,and each time Paul Buckley and co. release a new imprint,I'm the first to buy and register my interest,I'm also a Shakespeare fan since way back and have also read his complete works, Indeed I've finished and graduated from a Oxford University
online course on the same subject,

I was enlightened to find out a new take on the Penguin Pelican Shakespeare series was being undertaken,and when I first saw the new covers by the artist Manuja Waldia,I was enthralled and amazed at the detail and thoroughly beautiful covers she had executed,I emailed her and asked if she
would do a 1 question interview and she gladly did,

here it is :

“Hello Manuja ,Your work is very  striking and original and very much stands out from the shelves,
I learnt of your involvement in the Pelican Shakespeare series a few months ago,
And when I saw the first few covers,it won me over straight away,what was your  art and thought process for
Illustrating the covers and how did you approach each ?

her response:

“ I start with putting together a word map of various themes from the plot that I would like to explore as sketches. Some titles have a lot of imagery, while others have very abstract concepts. We want these covers to resonate with fans with varying familiarity with the texts. So, I try to pick the most significant themes in the plot. along which I also hide a few easter eggs for the hardcore fans. For example, the spine for King Lear shows a stabbed eyeball as Cornwall gouges Gloucester’s eyes out (“See't thou shalt never”) 
After the wordlist I move on to creating visuals around those words, which feels like drawing out jigsaw pieces. Then the final cover options are either built out of combing these jigsaw pieces in a composition, or we pick one of the pieces and I blow it up and add detail. The first approach is pretty evident in Macbeth, where the cover is an abstract composition made of various objects that stand for specific things from the plot. A lady’s tiara is pouring blood onto a nobleman’s crown which stands for Lady Macbeth egging on Macbeth to kill for power and love. A scepter and dagger cross each other, each signifying lust for power and violence respectively. The second approach is evident on the verso which shows Macbeth’s castle in Inverness. I had drawn a smaller castle as part of the initial wordlist and we developed it further to use as the back of the book.

Keep in mind,Manuja will be doing all 40 covers of the Pelican Shakespeare series,which is a tall order,I of course will be purchasing all of them,as I already have some copies she has already done and preordered the ones to follow publication.

To find out more about Manuja Waldia's work please check out her website

Thank you for participating and thank you dear reader for reading my article.

Tony Solomun

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Happy 2016,New Projects on the horizon

Hello all,
My apologies for not keeping up the blog,been very busy,
and in the meantime have been writing lots of poetry and
planning many new books,
I've got a new mini comic book that I'm finishing off right now,just 2-3 more paintings to finish that,
it will be 8 pages as usual,and my first in many years,
The script is written,it's dark,tho has light in between,

I've also started a new series,a opus if you will,called 'Humaine' ,
This is in the same vein as Honore de Balzac and his series,tho different in scope,
it will be retroactive in a way, so,my second novel Egypt Days of Antiquity will fit in frame for the series as will The Journey,

I'm also proud to say I've got two covers and three coming soon,that will be the cover art for my new books to be printed later on this year,done by Penguin Classics Illustrators ,very very proud,

back to writing and painting,

thank you for reading and I promise to update more

Tony Solomun