Saturday, December 20, 2014

Remarks on remarques, or, why you should love artists more

       I have a secret.
         Well, no, it's not a real secret. I've got those of course, we all do, but I'm not planning on sharing mine. This is something else, something I haven't deliberately hidden this away in some dark place that will never see light of day. But it's not something I talk about much.
         You see, I am fascinated by visual artists. My affection for writers is a sort of fellow feeling. I write a bit, and while I'm not a professional level writer, I understand what goes into a book. So my affection for writers is based on what I know. Whereas my feelings about visual artists is different.
          Because I can barely draw a stick figure, I find the process of visual creation to be something closer to magic. I have watched my friends Ben and Lee both work, and there is something fascinating in the process.
         I'm not alone in this, I think. It explains the enduring popularity of Bob Ross, and why there's not a similar program for writers(plus, who would you have for a host, Harlan Ellison? I shudder). So it's no surprise that remarques are popular among serious book collectors.
          For the casual reader (and anyone reading this because they think I might teach them something, silly people!), a remarque is a quick drawing or sketch done directly in a book. Sometimes by the author, but more often by the artist, either the cover artist, or occasionally, the internal illustrator.
         I've included a few of my favorite remarques from my own collection below, the first is from my first edition 'Stardust' by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess. Charles is hands down one of my favorite artists, and this is one of my two favorite books (the illustrated version, I'm not a huge fan of the text only editions). A very special shout-out to my friend Venetia who was absolutely awesome beyond words and took this to World Fantasy to get it signed.
          Second is my friend Serge's copy of 'Tooth and Claw' a new comic by Kurt Busiek and Ben Dewey (which you should absolutely check out, comic fan or not, cause oh my god good!) on which Ben did little different individual animal drawings on each one.
         Below that is my remarqued first printing of 'The Slow Regard of Silent Things' by Pat Rothfuss. Nate Taylor, who did the interior illustrations, absolutely knocked it out of the park on this one. Though I'm afraid that if he doesn't ever offer remarques in the future it may be my fault because I was, I suspect, exhaustively difficult as a customer.
         If you have a favorite remarque in your collection, share it in the comments, I'd love to see it!

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