I’ve been interested in illustrating BLEAK HOUSE since the 80s I guess. My wife and I were (and are) huge fans of the great Charles Dickens, we’ve read most of his major novels (sometimes reading aloud to each other!) and even got to see the epic 8-hour Broadway production of NICHOLAS NICKLEBY back when we were first married.
BLEAK HOUSE, however, had a hold on me. Though in the opinion of many it may be his best work, it is not so well-known. The vivid cast of characters, and the story itself, are some of Dickens’ most evocative work, and moved me to think about illustrating a new edition.
So it was always a “someday” project, and what with my regular job as an illustrator/graphic artist in the high-pressure New York market, it stayed that way.
Even in retirement, I stayed busy with some personal animation projects and, in spite of a lack of real training, won a few medals and certificates. Though the animation was fun, I really didn’t see a career path for myself in that field, as I wasn’t looking for a production or distribution deal.
The thing is, the biggest, most complicated project you can imagine, no matter what, always starts with a pencil and a sheet of paper.
So my thoughts turned to BLEAK HOUSE. I knew it could and would become an enormous project once begun, but that’s what I was looking for. Regardless, it was a pretty simple decision. I could start with a single doodle, a couple of sketches, then a couple more and a couple more.
I am going to present the illustrations I’ve done in more or less chronological order accompanied by text from the novel that will give the images some context and drama, along with some sketches and comments on my process. I hope you find this blog enlightening and worth returning to. I have a lot of content lined up so there will be no shortage of new material!