A Rumor of Angels

Here is an illustration I made for Tor.com based on A Rumor of Angels, a fantastic novelette by Dale Bailey

AD Irene Gallo couldn't have picked a more appropriate story for me. I sometimes have a hard time describing with words what a story makes me feel —which I guess is why I became an illustrator— so I'm just going to say what really struck me here was the heavy, raw and burnt out atmosphere. Images of harsh light, scorching heat and swirling dust came to me as I was reading it and that's what I wanted to transcribe in this piece. Spoiler alert: there are no giant angel-like beings in this story :V

Lately, I've been trying to give my illustrations a photographic feel, not in a photo- or hyper-realist kind of way, but I want my images to feel like someone could've captured this particular moment in time with a small rangefinder and a roll of black and white film. I like art that bridges the gap between different media in a non-obvious way.
My oh-so-talented colleague Sam Wolfe Connelly does a great job at that, by sometimes lighting his scenes as if they were photos taken with a harsh flash; they're not photorealistic, but they have this grainy photographic quality to them that makes them look like someone stole a snapshot. It makes them look spontaneous and it adds a lot to the creepy, unsettling feeling we get from them, as if we're seeing something we weren't supposed to see.

Anyway, I digress. So, I've been looking at more photography than illustration, recently, and I find that I'm more drawn to the work of people like William Eggleston or Vivan Maier than Golden Age illustrators, who used to be my biggest source of inspiration when I started illustrating.
For this one, it would be disingenuous to pretend that I didn't look at a lot of Dorothea Lange photos, given the subject matter, but one thing I definitely wanted to avoid was to mimic her work in ink.
I tried to keep the composition simple and straightforward so I could focus more on the lighting and the movement and tried to achieve a "decisive moment" look, as Cartier-Bresson would call it.

All in all, I think I succeeded in creating a piece that resonates with mine own interpretation of the story and I hope readers will feel the same way.

The original has found an owner. I couldn't be happier to see it go to this particular artist, whose black-and-white art I turn to, time and time again, whenever I find myself in doubt.

9 commentaires:

  1. Mec, t'es mon nouveau dieu.

  2. Oh my goodness, as a pen and ink illustrator myself, I am swooning over this! Do you mind if I ask what pens you used?

  3. amaaaazing work!


  4. I made a living off pen & ink for many years- your work simply blows me away!
    BTW-Have you ever seen the work of Charles Dana Gibson?

  5. Superbe, ça me fait beaucoup penser au premier épisode de la série télé Carnivale.

  6. Would you consider ever doing a video or photo series documenting your process? I would love to see how you work technically.