Thursday, October 20, 2005


My old FM pal Margaret Fisk tells the tale of her stalled WIP and my carrot. I'm touched and grateful, not only that she remembered, but that she didn't describe my artwork in too much detail. I assure you, that was the lamest drawing of a root vegetable in recorded history.

In the not-lame department, Neil Gaiman is said to draw neat things in some of the books he signs, but I think he's a pro graphic artist on the side, isn't he? I know for a fact that Stuart MacBride does excellent vampires, as well as cute little teddy bears carrying chainsaws and flame-throwers. Another reason to go to his signings, Europeople, you might be able to badger him into doing one for you. For you Talyn winners, Holly Lisle has already done some very cool things while signing the giveaway books.

I was never much of an ink artist, and you can't paint on book paper, otherwise everyone would be getting some of my watercolor Mutant Ninja Turkey-Swallows or The Dread Orchids of Doom in my signed copies. But now that the osteo doc and Humira have worked wonders, I can hold a pen for longer than three minutes. I'm tempted to break out my box of crow quills and rapidographs and get back into doing things like this:

Pen & Ink Note Card, 1996

Obviously I wasn't thinking much about planetary gravitational fields when I cooked up that one, but it was just for fun. What's the coolest thing you've ever seen an author add art-wise to a signed book?


  1. The drawing up above is about the coolest thing I've ever seen added to a signed book. It's about the only thing I've seen like it, though, so I'm not much to go by. It's quite a funky drawing though. I am envious, as I can't even draw water.

  2. My grandmother color photocopies her watercolors onto greeting cards. They're a treat to get. I have several of her originals and am delighted to hang them in my home.

    Scanning and printing on photopaper might be a good method if you wanted to include them for someone.

    And I'm in awe of anyone who can do anything like what you included in this post. My brother is pretty good with a pen, but he'll deny it.

    The best chance I have for creating art is with words or maybe a camera if I spent more time at it.

  3. The marine life artist Wyland donated some of his books to our center. Inside, in addition to his autograph, he drew a quick dolphin sketch. Because he's an acclaimed artist, that not only further personalizes the book, it also ups the value because it has a Wyland original in it.

    Nobody would want a Mary Stella original in a book. I can't draw to save my life and admire all of you who have that talent!

  4. Aww, I can't tell you what a thrill it is to know you took a moment out of your busy schedule to read my blog. And yes, I treasure my carrot. And no, don't you believe her. I'm a mother of two boys, one who draws quite well now, but he didn't get there from scratch. I didn't open my book to say "oh? What's this?" in the nicest possible mommy voice. I glanced and grinned. "She gave me a real carrot!" I said. So it looks pretty darn good to me.

    And Sheila, that line drawing you put in this post is incredible. I don't have the patience for that even had I the skill. I think you are too hard on yourself, but when's that a surprise :).


  5. I've never had anyone draw anything in my books when they sign them. I wouldn't even attempt to do so, since I can only draw two things, clown heads and horse heads. Not exactly Da Vinci here. *g*

  6. I once got a book with a picture of a wanted poster inside it. That was pretty cool ;}#

  7. Well, you could use CafePress to get the watercolors onto cards. ;) Anyhow, I have to say that I think the artwork looks cool.

  8. Ooh, that is lovely. :o) Seconding what everyone else is saying about not giving yourself enough credit. That's the kind of thing that makes me want to write stuff.

    Neil writes the scripts but isn't actually good enough to do the artwork (he lets other artists do the things people actually pay money for), but he will doodle in books occasionally. I have a lovely rat in my copy of CORALINE now.

    It's amazing how much more personal even a little flourish makes a signed book. My dear friend Karina drew one of her story runes in my copy of the anthology she's in, which is different from the ones everyone else got. It just makes it that much more special.

  9. Orson Scott Card once signed a book for me saying, "To Oliver, This is the first one of these I've signed."

    The lady behind me got: "Dear Sue, I'll never forgot those three days in Paris."

  10. Anonymous5:01 PM

    Sarah Jane is generally correct about Gaiman not drawing the printed stuff, but he did draw the seven legged spider on ANANSI BOYS and knowing that made me even happier after I finished the book. (I was also rather pleased I was wearing a fedora on the plane while I read it, but to understand that you'll have to read the book).


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