Saturday, 16 May 2015

A real case

Kindles are fun and convenient, and I own one that has a nice robust black leather case.  I suppose I could custom paint the case but I am content with it as it is.  What would I paint on it?  Which character would please me?  I could do it with someone else's case if I knew what was wanted and in fact various web sites have started up to accommodate the case market, and some very odd images they have on some of them too.  I immediately felt that a reader would want a character or location from a favourite novel on their case.

This would be easy with older books that were out of copyright, and I looked at some of these sites hoping to contribute.  But the one I thought I might have a go with either went out of business or stopped the 'artist designed case', and went down the DIY route.  Hmmm, slippery ground.  The work I had been doing for them is still on my hard drive.  Again, it's character driven and illustrates old novels.  I recently read 'The Pickwick Papers', not, I have to admit, expecting to enjoy it - but found it to be brilliant stuff, charming, amusing and inventive from beginning to end.  So I promptly did two designs based on this novel.

'Let me tell the defendant Pickwick, if he is in court, which I am informed that he is, that it would have been more decent, more becoming, and in better taste, if he had kept away!'
I had seen the very underrated British film based on the novel, made about 1952, and this may have helped my appreciation of the book.  This is rare of films that usually fall very short of the book, but as the film has high production values and relies on Dickens' dialogue for its script pretty extensively; the finished product reflects the book pretty dam well.  It cuts out a few characters, but this doesn't harm the story such as it is, because the plot is fairly trivial, its one of those books that rely on verve, wit and charm to power you through to a feel-good end. 

The film chooses the cast well, making sure they realy resemble George Cruikshanks illustrations, using costume, hairstyles and lighting to great effect.  Donald Wolfit, an actor much derided over the years, was born to play the lawyer Mr Sergeant Buzfuz, he does an excellent job, and I had him in mind when I drew the character, with some of Buzfuz' speech included.  This image was designed around a case template supplied by the company I mentioned, and its their 'box' shape I had to design within.  I'd like to show the case as well, but I'd better not.  I've drawn a line around the case so you can see where it is.

The other Pickwick design I drew was of Sam Weller, and I chose the moment that Pickwick and his companions first meet Sam outside a hotel, where he is blacking boots and shoes.  Again, I would include dialogue from the book.

'You're a wag aint you?' - 'My eldest brother was troubled with that complaint', said Sam, 'Maybe its catching, I used to sleep with him.'
Lastly, Dracula, everbody's favourite vampire, and I obviously wanted a dark and brooding look for the image.  I've always liked a passage early in the novel where Dracula is describing to Jonathan Harker just what incredibly great nobles his ancestors really are!  He goes through a speech where he refers to 'mushroom growths' like the Hapsburg's and Romonov's, and how the Dracula's make them all look dog rough.  Then he finishes with a brooding but almost self- pitying line - 'I like the shade and the shadow, and would be alone with my thoughts when I may.'

'I love the shade and the shadow, and would be alone with my thoughts when I may.'
But the image is the thing, and I suppose the dialogue could be changed a hundred times over.  Will I actually put these designs up at any time?  Maybe on Zazzle, but they were not designed for their range of cases and I don't think they do any for Kindle - I'll check of course but in the meantime I'll keep investigating.