Leben mit Herman Melville

Archive for April 2010

Nicola Black, Molly Crabapple, Neil Gaiman: Desert Wind

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Update for Thought is a powerful formidable essence:

Molly Crabapple puts it like this:

Molly CrabappleWhen I was 7 years old, I fell in love with the cool girl at camp. She was 14, with a shaved head, an ankh necklace, and a copy of The Sandman. Neil Gaiman has been my favorite author ever since.

One of the coolest moments of my career was when, last spring, Neil twittered me and asked me to draw a poem poster for him. I agonized over it for months. Nothing seemed good enough. I tore through tent cities, researched Canaanite gods. At long last, here it is, ready to present to you. It’s one of my favorite illustrations ever.

This is a 10” x 22” full-color bleed print illustrating Neil’s dark mirage of a tale DESERT WIND. It’s designed by Nicola Black, one of my fave collaborators. […]

Cat Mihos, the headmistress of the convocation of coolness that is Neverwear, gave me a sweet interview too.


Nicola Black puts it like this:

For this portfolio piece, I thought I’d post about my process. This collaboration between Neil Gaiman, Molly Crabapple and myself was so much fun — I had to share my experience. […]

My job was to find the perfect type style for the title, layout the poem itself and possibly embellish the art work and text elements when and where possible. I began looking through fonts for the perfect style to accentuate the illustration as well as the words of the poem. This process is one any designer can get lost in. I know I always do! There are oodles of well designed fonts out there to choose from (my fave go to site is allowing me to set aside a nice, big bundle as possible contenders for this poster. ArcanaGMMStd-Manuscript ended up being the perfect font for this project – a little weathered, a bit of a Middle Eastern flair, all mixed with just a touch of whimsy.

Nicola Black. Woo hoo, I got my Molly Crabapple piece, April 18, 2008When designing, there can be quite a lot of details to be applied to the text to accommodate the layout. After all, my goal is to make sure the text really feels like a part of the piece. I don’t want the text to feel disjointed and simply pasted on top of the illustration. My next step was to stack the text as well as tilt each line a bit. This allows the title to fill the top portion of the design nicely.

Next, I applied a few distortions to the text. Even though the type face provides a nice organic feel, this step adds just a bit more movement to the treatment. I found that the text alone in the space wasn’t quite right. Something was missing. It still felt a bit lonely. I needed to incorporate more elements to tie the treatment into the illustration. So, I got out the sketch book and jotted down a few of my own little swirls inspired by those found in the illustration. I also pulled out my trusty tracing paper and began to apply some extra embellishments to the text. Dotted swirls, loops and curlicues did the trick! Here’s what it looked like before I applied it to the illustration. Keep in mind, I had a plan for the color and transparency of the different areas of the text – so this example is a little overwhelming being that it is the high contrast, black and white version.

Next step – apply it to the illustration! I experimented with color and transparency creating multiple versions of the piece. I then held official voting in my studio with my fiancé (thanks, Todd – ha ha). […]

The body copy went through a lot of revisions. In some of my first compositions, I treated the text similarly to the title treatment – giving it a bit of movement. In the end, simplicity prevailed. After looking back at some of those other compositions, I’m so glad they were vetoed. The poster has so much going on it was best to keep Mr. Gaiman’s poem untouched in regard to fanciful embellishments and distortion. At the foot of the poster, I felt it would be a fun element to reiterate the words, “this time,” from the poem. They become ghost like and an after thought I felt added a little something extra to the piece.

And there you have it! This project was SO much fun to work on. It’s always a pleasure working with Molly Crabapple (as you can tell from my portfolio – only my favorite jobs make it there). And I am so very honored to have been able to work on this poem for Neil Gaiman, Cat Mihos and One of the most rewarding pieces I’ve had the pleasure of working on yet! The poster will be available for sale beginning Friday, April 2nd, 2010 at 4PM PST on There will also be limited quantities available here soon! More info to come – please check back regularly!

Neil Gaiman, Nicola Black, Molly Crabapple, Desert Wind, 2010

There was an old man with skin baked black by the desert sun
who told me that, when he was young, a storm had separated him from his caravan
and its spices, and he walked over rock and over sand for days and nights,
seeing nothing but small lizards and sand-coloured rats.

But that, on the third day, he came upon a city
of silken tents of all bright colours. A woman led him into the largest tent,
crimson the silk was, and set a tray in front of him, gave him iced sherbet
to drink, and cushions to lie upon, and then, with scarlet lips, she kissed his brow.

Veiled dancers undulated in front of him, bellies like sand dunes,
Eyes like pools of dark water in oases, purple were all their silks,
and their rings were gold. He watched the dancers while servants brought him food,
all kinds of food, and wine as white as silk and wine as red as sin.

And then, the wine making good madness in his belly and his head, he jumped up,
into the midst of the dancers, and danced with them, feet stamping on the sand,
jumping and pounding, and he took the fairest of all the dancers
in his arms and kissed her. But his lips pressed to a dry and desert-pitted skull.

And each dancer in purple had become bones, but still they curved and stamped
in their dance. And he felt the city of tents then like dry sand, hissing and escaping
through his fingers, and he shivered, and buried his head in his burnous,
And sobbed, so he could no longer hear the drums.

He was alone, he said, when he awoke. The tents were gone and the ifreets.
The sky was blue, the sun was pitiless. That was a lifetime ago.
He lived to tell the tale. He laughed with toothless gums, and told us this:
He has seen the city of silken tents on the horizon since, dancing in the haze.

I asked him if it were a mirage, and he said yes. I said it was a dream,
and he agreed, but said it was the desert’s dream, not his. And he told me that
in a year or so, when he had aged enough for any man, then he would walk
into the wind, until he saw the tents. This time, he said, he would go on with them.

I put it like this: Neil Gaiman’s Sandman is the best graphic novel series in existence.


Illustration © 2010 Molly Crabapple • Design © 2010 Nicola Black Design, L.L.C. • Poem © Neil Gaiman from Smoke and Mirrors, 1998.

Written by Wolf

5. April 2010 at 12:01 am

Posted in Laderaum

Ostergewinnspiel: Finde die sieben Fehler!

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Update zu Katze von der Steuer absetzen!:

Man sieht nur mit der Brille gut.

Cohu de Saint-Exupéry, 8. März 2008.

Original und Fälschung: Kringeln Sie die sieben Fehler, die unser Photograph auf dem rechten Bild versteckt hat, mit monitorsicherem Edding ein und gewinnen Sie eine Stunde Frühjahrsputz bei sich zu Hause!

EgoshootingMiriam Fairfax Breasty Pinup

Bilder: Der Wolf mit seiner neuen Cerruti 1881, Karwoche 2010;
Terri Burton in der Rolle von Miriam “Ich hab auch Augen, du Arsch” Fairfax,
ca. 1851 (Schätzwert) via Tittyblog:
Einzige ernstzunehmende Bildersammlung (zwei Seiten) auf My Archives. Authentic Vintage Porn.

Lied: Die Ärzte: Buddy Hollys Brille aus: Im Schatten der Ärzte, 1985 und immer noch ihre beste.

Written by Wolf

4. April 2010 at 12:01 am

Posted in Wolfs Koje

Sprache hat dich nur betrogen

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Ludwig Tieck:


Eric Kincaid, MermaidsWenn die Ankerstricke brechen,
Denen Du zu sehr vertraust,
Oft Dein Glück auf ihnen baust,
Zornig nun die Wogen sprechen, –
O so laß das Schiff den Wogen
Mast und Seegel untergehn,
Laß die Winde zornig wehn,
Bleibe Dir nur selbst gewogen,
Von den Tönen fortgezogen,
Wirst Du schön’re Lande sehn:
Sprache hat dich nur betrogen,
Der Gedanke Dich belogen,
Bleibe hier am Ufer stehn. –


Zitiert nach: Wilhelm Heinrich Wackenroder: Sämtliche Werke und Briefe. Historisch-kritische Ausgabe. Herausgegeben von Silvio Vietta und Richard Littlejohns, Band 1: Werke, herausgegben von Silvio Vietta, Universitätsverlag Carl Winter, Heidelberg 1991; darin: Phantasien über die Kunst für Freunde der Kunst [Folgeband zum frühromantischen Bestseller Herzensergießungen eines kunstliebenden Klosterbruders, 1797]. Herausgegeben von Ludwig Tieck, 1799. Aufsatz Tiecks innerhalb Wackenroders Sammlung: VIII. Die Töne. Erstveröffentlichung in Ludwig Tieck: Gedichte. Zweiter Theil, Seite 32.

Rotschopfsirenen: Eric Kincaid via Never Sea Land.

Written by Wolf

3. April 2010 at 12:01 am

Posted in Laderaum

Rogue’s Gallery: The Art of the Siren, #36

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Song: Stan Ridgway: Hanging Johnny (3:28 minutes)
from Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys, ANTI- 2006.

Artist’s website;
songs playlist.

Buy CD in Germany and elsewhere.

Images: Chih-Han Hsu and Victor Tango:
Your Cold Feet Only Stirred Up Dark Ripples,
Queensland, Australia, November 7, 2009.


1.: They call me hanging Johnny,
hee yay-hay-i-o
I never hanged nobody
(and it’s) hang, boys, hang.

2.: First I hanged your mother,
Me sister and me brother.

3.: I’d hang to make things jolly,
I’d hang all wrong and folly.

Chorus.: A rope, a beam, a ladder,
I’ll hang ye all together
Well next I hanged me granny
I’d hang the wholly family.

4.: They call me hanging Johnny,
I never hanged nobody.


Bridge.: Come hang, come haul together,
Come hang for finer weather,
Hang on from the yardarm,
Hang the sea and buy a big farm.

5.: They call me hanging Johnny,
I never hung nobody.

6.: I’d hang the mates and skippers,
I’d hang ’em by their flippers.

7.: I’d hang the highway robber,
I’d hang the burglar jobber.

8.: I’d hang the noted liar,
I’d hang a bloated friar.

9.: They say I hung a copper,
I gave him the long dropper.

Explanatory liner notes by ANTI-:

A maneuver called swigging was sometimes used to give a last strong tightening pull on a halyard. This essentially involved one or more sailors reaching high and hanging on the line with their full weight-hence, the association with hanging at the halyards where this chantey was used.

Written by Wolf

1. April 2010 at 12:01 am

Posted in Siren Sounds