So I designed & illustrated the Centennial Edition of James Joyce’s “Dubliners" for Penguin Classics.
Early on I decided against writing any blurbs & bios, instead I wanted to approximate Joyce’s techniques in visual arrangement, medium and form. I started with an infinite crowd frozen between movement and paralysis, for the back cover I played with various links between the stories and designed the flappy layout accordingly: it opens with the beginning of “The Sisters” and closes with the ending of “The Dead,” at which point you dear reader should be in tears.
"Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger."
I remember being lulled by the narrowing sweeps of the book’s final passages and feeling that the 27 slowly sailing through the tenderloin is no longer the same 27, not sure how, just the vague sensation of a translucent film newly pasted between the vision and the brain, ineluctable modality et all. Joyce’s imagery is already complete in its universality and exactitude making any attempt at illustration pointless by default and no, I’m not just dissing myself, I only wanted to put a link to these brilliant Joyce covers by Peter Mendelsund.
Great big thanks to Paul Buckley (his Penguin 75 is a must-read) for the assignment and for allowing me to do the entire design, I’m deeply honored to be in the company of all my cartooning heroes: Seth, Sammy Harkham, Ivan Brunetti, Jason and many others. In fact I think I’m the only one in that company who doesn’t have a book. Yet.