Building Books Barehanded

Verlor'n Moon Phase #18

Summary: A friend’s dream novel come to fruition through diligence and hard work. While creating interior illustrations for his book, I find great joy and the spirit of play in the work.

There is something magical about seeing other people achieve their dreams and goals. I believe that it can give us the inspiration to believe that we can do the same. Recently a friend of my saw his first novel through to publication, which is no small feat. Doggedly determined to get his book out there, Erik Dokken has worked long and hard, and now his dream has become a reality.

I first met Erik many moons ago at a store where we both worked, Sports Basement. We got along amicably, and lo and behold time slid past. After a major project ended at the store, Erik decided to take some time off and travel the world. Upon his return, he was discussing his newest book project with our mutual friend Tom, and it was somewhere in here that the suggestion for Eric to contact me was hatched. I was very excited and honored when Eric contacted me for some illustrations for his first novel.

His determinism to achieve his goals isn’t something to be trifled with. He managed to completely self publish his book. Erik put a lot of effort into crafting this book, and furthermore he put a lot of time into making it into the book that he dreamed of, conferring with editors and proofreaders and eventually hiring me to create some of the illustrations for his book. In the end he decided to publish his book through, and I would of course recommend picking a copy up.

Verlor'n Cover Art by Anslem Yew


An unlikely search party is formed to find out what Master Ken-Zo, the missing alchemist, has discovered that is so secretive, he is willing to violate his oath and risk exile. Travel along with Commander Horton, Ranger Brendal and Apprentice Terese as they venture into the heart of the Wildlands – a place where heretics and strange animals dwell in complete lawlessness.

Verlor'n Moon Phase #7

The work that I am most happy with for this project are the illustrations of 28 moon phases as seen from an alien planet. These were developed in accordance with Erik’s directions, and were not only as chapter headers, but also as a time signature that runs through the book; quite a brilliant innovation on his part. This  simple subject matter lent itself easily to the spirit of play. I often found myself enjoying the qualities that make watercolor fun to work with; hard and soft edges, blending, basically letting the paint “do it’s thing.” This free spirited quality that I hope shines through the watercolors, attunes to a similar spirit that I find in Erik and his work.

As an artifact of having 28 nearly identical illustrations of these moons, I’ve created this small video, which if we suspend our disbelief for about 30 seconds, seem to rotate in space. Enjoy.

Bob Dylan once said, “I’ll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours.”

“Dreams, like fine wine and good times, are best when shared.” I said that.

During the process of creating these works, I blogged about it and you can read more by following these links:

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