The illustrations for the new Wolfgang Kubin book
As mentioned some time ago after the Theodor Storm book I was invited to illustrate another book. This project means a lot to me. On the one hand, it is by Prof. Wolfgang Kubin. (I already introduced him in a previous blog post). On the other hand, because it is a special challenge – in some respects.
What are these challenges? The book has a cumbersome title: “Das Buch der Zähren.: Swatower Oden, Wiener Elegien” (The Book of Tears. Swatow Odes, Viennese Elegies). Who still knows the term “Zähren” – an utterly outdated term for “tears” from our great-grandparents’ generation.? And Swatow? Who is really familiar with odes and elegies?
When I first started designing the book cover at the beginning of the project, it quickly became clear to me that it should look quite hefty – which initially wasn’t seen as so positive by everyone. But the skepticism soon gave way. However, my illustrations follow these considerations and are also quite “strong”.
What makes this book even more difficult is that the illustrations will be black and white. Since most of my works are in color and lose a lot when they are converted to black and white, the number of works that can be considered is of course smaller. Nevertheless, I have demonstrated more than 50 works that are basically useful. And the publisher is delighted with the choice, which makes everything more enjoyable.
I uploaded 3 formats for review: horizontal, vertical, and details. Using details from images seemed like a viable idea to me. Some look like this.
The first part of the volume is about Swatow, now Shantou (汕头市). Few in the West are familiar with the history of this city, meaning little about the Japanese atrocities during the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). Accordingly, these odes are somber.
But the second part of the book is about Vienna and that is of course a completely different world.
For this reason alone I didn’t want to use any images that were too illustrative. As before, I wanted to address the general mood of the book and remain vague as to the content.
The author and I have grown quite close over the past year, and since we each value each other’s work, it was particularly important to me to provide good material. Even if the publisher or I ultimately make the choice, everyone involved should of course be happy with it.
I will choose fewer horizontal images because I fear that if they are greatly reduced in size, they will lose a lot of their appeal.
And last but not least, 2 examples of a vertical nature.
The book is not yet in print but is already being offered as a subscription. BACOPA
Putting it all together was quite a lot of work, but it was fun 🙂
Mozart is not an insider tip for music lovers – who doesn’t know this great composer?. But as far as interpreters are concerned, one can always come across unknown pleasant recordings. Even though I’ve known the pianist Dame Mitsuko Uchida for a long time, it’s always a pleasure to hear her Mozart sonatas. If I wanted to paint her music interpretation, it would be a clear, babbling brook in spring. Enjoy!