Illustrated Books or Book of illustrations?

This is not a graphic novel

Here’s the cover and title page for Hokusai’s renowned collection  One Hundred Views of Mt. Fuji.

Here’s the cover and title page for Hokusai’s renowned collection One Hundred Views of Mt. Fuji.

How combining writing and art results in hybrid book about hybrid humans

Detailed scenes haunted Sha Li while writing

Last summer

Before the fires claimed everyone’s attention, before the dismal smoke crept and clung to the canyon, driving us inside, it occurred to me that I should illustrate the current book series, Origin of the Human Hybrids, Dangerous Visions and Wasted Time.  Not much of a surprise here.  But that it took me so long to see it!

Illustrations for the first two books are completed and are ready to share with you on my website:  Human Hybrids carousel and Dangerous Visions carousel.

Homage to Hokusai

“With no more than delicate, engraved outlines and flat washes of gray, Hokusai displays his consummate virtuosity as a draftsman, printmaker and compositional innovator.” 


Ron’s office

Ronald Zhao’s office above Beijing and overlooking the Dagoba in Beihai Park.

Ronald Zhao’s office above Beijing and overlooking the Dagoba in Beihai Park.

The sage inspired my approach to the task by limiting myself to black and white and shades of gray.  By the sixth piece, Ronald Zhao’s office, I began experimenting with collage of foil, artisan and printed mulberry papers, all the while imagining them being reproduced in black and white during the book publishing process.  The digital version will be in full color. 

Each novella of the series of three is comprised of four chapters.  Each chapter contains several illustrations.  In total, 39 illustrations will accompany the series. The majority are single pages focusing on one or two characters.  Double wide illustrations constructed of two single panels or pages allow for dynamic groupings of characters. 

These complex compositions presented shifting challenges setting the characters in the right place relative to each other and following rules of perspective. 

Kyoto mayhem

In this double-panel Rick, Ron and Dr. Ludwig lunge at Mai tumbling onto the floor in the midst of a delicate operation, infusing nano-bot laden artificial blood into her system to prevent a failure, in a private hospital room in the basement of their Kyoto resort.

In this double-panel Rick, Ron and Dr. Ludwig lunge at Mai tumbling onto the floor in the midst of a delicate operation, infusing nano-bot laden artificial blood into her system to prevent a failure, in a private hospital room in the basement of their Kyoto resort.

Martyr’s cemetery

In the panel on the left, a woman causing gossip, Mai Martin, walks with Commander Gao, a high ranking general in the People’s Liberation Army involved with a covert team made up of Department of Home Security and PLA personnel. She doesn’t hide the baby bump peeking from behind her white PLA dress uniform jacket, recently altered, and unbuttoned over a plain white shirt.

In the panel on the left, a woman causing gossip, Mai Martin, walks with Commander Gao, a high ranking general in the People’s Liberation Army involved with a covert team made up of Department of Home Security and PLA personnel. She doesn’t hide the baby bump peeking from behind her white PLA dress uniform jacket, recently altered, and unbuttoned over a plain white shirt.

Standing behind Martin beside an immense stone lion, a woman distributes copies of a Law and Order manifesto, policies of the anti-corruption movement Fan Fu Xing Dong, to sympathetic listeners.  

The generals’ widows and wives discuss Martin’s condition and the likelihood that the deceased General Huang was the father of her unborn child in front of the imposing gate of the cemetery.

In the panel on the right, the reader meets the antagonistic force.  Zhu Chengyou, former Commander of the Chinese People’s Armed Police Force, instigator of a failed coup, retired and disgraced strolls with Lt. Col. Chen, his former field commander. 

Ronald Zhao, partner at TSC Security and Mai Martin’s lover, scans the shifting crowds for faces and spots the two conspirators standing in the shadow of a grotesque rock, a cold limestone flame consumed by gaping holes. He closes the distance between them until he stands on the other side of the monumental specimen.

Confrontation

In the two-panel illustration “Confrontation,” an exercise in opposites/opposition, contrast/harmony and passive/action, the combatants were placed on a grid employing a method used by Raphael to determine their height and location. The checkerboard grid was retained as a feature of the design.

In the two-panel illustration “Confrontation,” an exercise in opposites/opposition, contrast/harmony and passive/action, the combatants were placed on a grid employing a method used by Raphael to determine their height and location. The checkerboard grid was retained as a feature of the design.

Completion

The three novellas, Human Hybrids, Dangerous Visions and Wasted Time, will be released soon in a boxed set!