Graham Higgins Illustration - Literate Graffiti Dept.


August 9, 2010

9-8-10 The Book, The Cure

Preblogue: 9-8-10 I reopened this draft and realised that it was a couple of weeks old and already recorded the first flush of infatuation with a new discovery. However, that too has passed and taken second-place to a picture-book I’m putting together to find out how works. It would be both amazing and great if the book sold, but for now I just want to know how to put it on the virtual shelf.

The idea occurred as a why don’t you..? this case, illustrate the words to a ukulele song I made up to pass a Wintery afternoon and entertain a very bright 5-year-old, Maya (pronounced My-a).

Now I have all the main images and the task has turned to layout and organisation. The Maya Maya folder is stuffed with scans of component parts of finished images and there’s a pile of A4 paper on the floor: pencil roughs and pen renderings (I draw on a light-box with a fresh sheet of paper taped over the pencilled version).

Now I’ll need vignettes and motifs to space out the words and every page is a little world of P-shop Move Tool nudges. When I have a complete picture-book, the next stage is to concentrate on Lulu’s terms and conditions and techy specs. I learn by doing, so this is daunting in prospect but will make a next time more likely.

I’m already doodling with a second-book project.

I’ve really surprised myself that in breaks where I’d normally pick up the guitar I‘ve been more interested in what characters come through when I start covering sketchbook pages in figures. I’ve developed a game of finding poses for smaller figures in the spaces between first-go drawing. A lot of song-and-dance shapes in there.

The last week also saw the final final artwork for The Toy Hearts’ 3rd album Femme Fatale, going to the printers.

For the back-cover collage I’d wanted to look at Bluegrass Festival button-badges but to my surprise found none; the button badge ain’t bluegrass. However, I did stumble on silverspot studio and put research aside to wander through the on-line catalogue. Jessee, a more articulate review will follow but anyone who knows me will see why your work would appeal to me; diversity, craftsmanship, wit.

To my surprise I’m a fan of The Cure. Friends will either share my surprise or be surprised that I’ve somehow managed to miss such perfect-pop.

OK, Robert Smith didn’t help with his detonation-in-a-bearskin-factory hairstyle framing mascara and lipstick taped to walking-sticks and applied by monkey servants. And to an extent the fans didn’t help because we shared a blindness to the irony of the clownish face of The Cure. The Dr. Robert character is from the prequel to 1940’s mad professor movies.

It’s got me thinkling about writing about the lyricist’s art as distinct from the poet’s. The poem, like the mirror image only really happens in the brain of the reader but it lives its life out entirely on the page.

Marty Feldman had a sketch in which a newly-discovered operatic masterpiece was due to open for which, alas, no music survived. In a preview, Feldman and foils pronounced in clipped Shaespearian tone: ah see! It is. The King. It is the King. It is the King with retinue of men. With retinue of men. Men. With Retinue of Men! etc…

I’ve taped The Cure:Greatest Hits, a double-cd of singles and a duplicate set ‘acoustic’, or more accurately ‘less produced’. My rewind track is Lovesong. The lyric is almost all chorus:-

Whenever I’m alone with you, you make me feel like I am home again.

Whenever(ditto…) …whole again

However far away, I will always love you

However long I stay, I will always love you

Whatever words I say, I will always love you

I will always love you.

Whenever(ditto)… young again

Whenever(ditto)… fun again

Whenever(ditto)… free again

Whenever(ditto)… clean again

However far away… etc.

That’s it. Hardly anything there and yet…if I were introducing students to the poetry of Donne and Herrick I’d wantthem to listen to The Cure for the spirit of it.

The Dr. Robert character is a wide-eyed fop about town, a raddled dandy high on hormones, cheap sack and romance.

You could point out that the chorus might refer to the domestic scene, the course of an affair, with its implicit hint of the swain’s footloose nature, or on the Metaphysical Poet scale, to youthful intimations of mortality.

Again, there’s been a fallow patch in this draught, and in the last week I’ve been listening to another band called The Cure that hides out on Cure albums and plays big cavernous music with the chiming guitars and packing-case-in-a-warehouse percussion I like in The Cocteaus.

I had a chance to see a more recent version of the band on YouTube and Robert Smith has usefully cropped that black thatch and dropped the gaudy slap. I find that he’s only six years younger than me. Life is so unfair.

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