Friday, November 28, 2008

Art, Thanksgiving, and who'll design the future?

Just trivia this morning. Blogging in a vacuum is an interesting experience: nothing is happening here worth writing about ...

Update: we're still waiting for any response from Create Space, and as we go into the time frame of the Thanksgiving holiday in the US, we don't expect to have the situation resolved at CS till about next Tuesday our time, which will be December 2! In other words, a javascript hiccup in the shopping cart routine at CS will have taken two WEEKS to resolve, and the whole publication process stopped dead for the duration. *sigh*

Anyway: it's all par for the course in the labyrinth of getting a long backlist to Amazon, so ... you live and learn. Tough it our, right?!

Meanwhile -- Happy Thanksgiving to American readers! I actually spent Thanksgiving in the States on one or two occasions, and it's a whole lot of fun, what with the huge meal and the falling asleep in front of the football game. Also a lovely time of the year: late fall, with winter right around the corner, and Christmas in the back of your mind.

And for a dose of Americana, you can't go past the new JC Leyendecker art book. Joe Leyendecker was the conceptual artist who virtually designed what America looked like between about 1910 and 1950, and much of what we still know, today, as the quintessential handsome American male was designed by Joe.

Here's the interesting part (at least for gay readers). For most of his adult life, JC lived with the male model whose face and bod were probably the most famous in the nation ... the young dude who modelled for the "Arrow Shirts" campaigns. The model, Charles Beach, attained superstar status -- he was quite literally the Brad Pitt of his day. And was thoroughly shacked up with the artist. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. See the image right below...

In fact, Brendan Fraser's character of Rick O'Connell is probably based on Charles Beach in the shirt ads. In fact, it's a pretty safe bet that when the productions designers for THE MUMMY movies were trying to nail down the "look and feel" of the era, they made a bee-line for Joe Leyendecker's work. Check this out:

Reminds you of someone you know, right? For a lot more (and a lot of scans!) from the new book, go here:

Leyendecker designed the mid-20th century, the way Syd Mead can be said to have designed the age we're living into (or hoping to survive into!) right now now. If you're not familiar with Mead's work, give yourself a serious treat:

It does take a while to load because if the Flash splash, but it's well worth it. I have the old SENTINEL artbook, which was produced by US Steel about, oh, 30 years ago, and I still use it as a source of inspiration for the visual component of SF writings. It's amazing the way a couple of pivotal conceptual artists have literally designed our world. Makes you wonder who the next artist will be, and what 2050 will look like.

Anyway -- this is very much on my mind as I go into the early pre-production work on the new HELLGATE books. I'll be writing both the remaining novels back-to-back, and this will be my pet project for 2009. I might, mind you might, do the HELLGATE novels before I get into the haunted house story. Sorry about this, guys: I know I've been promising you the haunted house book for six months, but -- seriously! -- since I'm not on any contract, I go where the muse takes me. And he, she or it is taking me in the direction of, uh, the worlds of Hellgate.

More on that later.

Many thanks indeed to the folks who have given us feedback on the new calendar. Yes, I am thrilled with the results, and it's kudos to both Jade for the artwork, and for the printing, both of which are absolutely superb:

To answer the most-oft-asked questions: the software used to produce the calendar itself was Serif page Plus 10; and the artwork was produced in Micrographx Picture Publisher 7, and Irfanview. If you want to know more, by all means ask, and I'll bump questions on to Jade. I keep saying, the artist ought to have a blog too, but so far, my words are falling on deaf ears. We can hope, right?

image: Serif - Software with Imagination

(Yep, that's an affiliate link. Serif is the driving force behind the production work of so much that we do -- when people ask how it's done, and with what, we recommend Serif. So we might as well sell it, right? Forgive the commercial ... in fact, it answers rafts of questions by itself.)

For the moment, Happy Thanksgiving to American readers!


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