I’ve mentioned several times now that I’d like to get back to drawing more after we move and things settle down. I want to work in my sketchbook more, but I would also like to return to creating my series of Field Guides. The Field Guides are a series of handmade books I created with miniature narratives inside made with drawings, text, or sometimes both.
The first edition, Field Guide to Local Flora and Fauna, Vol. I was set in Winterville, Georgia, where I spent time living in my cousin Jacqueline‘s house in-between undergraduate school at Tulane and graduate school at Louisiana State University. It contained various animals I encountered in the small Georgia town, both in reality as well as in my imagination, and narratives I composed about them. The monkey image shown above is, perhaps surprisingly, not one of the invented encounters.
About a half a mile from my house existed an empty neighborhood. The neighborhood was paved, pipes were put in, and lots were put up to sell. Then the housing bubble burst, and the lots all remained empty. It was like a subdivision with no residents but the deer, the june bugs, and some errant teenagers with shot guns and 4-wheelers. I liked to go there to jog. The one sold lot was at the entrance to the neighborhood, and behind their house they had a small Capuchin monkey that lived on a chain.
I only met one of the residents of that house, who it turned out went to high school with my grandmother in Perry, Georgia. Small world.
In any case, I figured I’d show you guys the last field guide I filled in with images. I still haven’t bound the sucker, but hopefully I can do that in the near future. I’ve already constructed the form for the next field guide, Volume V (see below), but I have yet to fill it. It is a book of extremely small height and width (about 3.5″ x 3.5″), but it is incredibly thick. It wouldn’t even fit in our biggest book press at L.S.U. I call it the Field Guide to Brevity. So far it is extremely brief, with no content at all, but I plan to change that soon.
Besides being enjoyable to create in an of themselves, the imagery in the Field Guides often inspires or influences other prints I create. For example, the octopus print below, Mollusca Cephalopoda Infatuare, was directly inspired by the fold above from Field Guide, Vol. I.
The narrative of this image is as follows:
Octopi have low life expectancies as they always die soon after mating. This untimely death is due to a mix of a genetically controlled release of poisonous endocrine secretions and lovesick starvation emanting from a throbbing pain in their third heart. This particular specimen (Mollusca cephalopda coleoidea infatuare), fell in love with the luminous moon by mistake, and spends most of each month gradually wrapping her up in his grasp and then releasing her for an evening before forgetting his failure and becoming moonstruck again. Notice the markings left on the moon’s craggy surface from Infaturare’s insistent attentions; at least he will live forever.
Below are some more images from Field Guide, Vol. IV.