Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Modern City in Ruins

This is my first professional job as an illustrator. I did it as the frontispiece of a collector's item book by Gregg Press. Gregg, based in Boston, was publishing high-quality editions of classic science fiction and fantasy literature. One of their main authors was Philip K. Dick, who led the genre with disturbing, avant-garde stories and novels. This illustration was for a collection of short stories, "A Handful of Darkness," published in 1977. Since there were many stories with many themes, I didn't do anything specific. But there was a story set in a post-apocalyptic scenario, so I went with the modern city in ruins. In those days it wasn't as much of a cliche as it is now. There's a lot of technical pen work in this piece, and I'm glad to say it still looks good 39 (!) years later. I later did many more of these black and white Gregg Press frontispieces, not only for Dick but for Zenna Henderson stories, and then Marion Zimmer Bradley, which was a career-maker for me in the 1980s.

Original is black ink from Rapidograph technical pens, 11" x 14" (maybe), 1977.

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