Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Anniversary Poem Collection

So about a year ago my good friend and partner in 6am crime, Daniel "DG Playa'" Griswold, asked me to illustrate some poems he wrote about New England. The first of these was titled "The Bending Tree", which I blogged on back in September... This was the first of 5 illustrations depicting Dan's thoughts on his time spent in New England, a collection which he has titled his "Anniversary Poem Collection" ... Because he wrote them for his wife... for their anniversary. Basically I went through each poem and did my best to portray the imagery being described... which was, to say the least, incredibly abstract... and very beautiful.

The Bending Tree:
The idea behind the illustration is how if one were to speak to that old, decrepit tree it would say that it is proud to be where it is, and the way that it is. It's dying branches would become earth again and help to grow newer trees... the tree is happy that it is the way it is, not wanting anything more than to be. So the picture is meant to portray that pride in what others may perceive as one's flaws.

Dogwood Flowers:
This poem/illustration is about watching the seasons go by through a window. Wanting to go out and enjoy it, but being trapped inside due to the harsh Winter... However, in the warm weather, being glued to a tv or caught up in school work... I may be way off on the interpretation, but either way, I heard no complaints about the imagery... So I'm going to just go with that explanation...

Winding Road:
For those who are familiar with New England roads probably know I-93 pretty well... more specifically 93 North in New Hampshire... This is a basic observation of the winding roads and gorgeous scenery one sees while traveling on New England highways (and even back-roads). Mountains, trees, deer and sunsets... It really can be just that beautiful...

Sky Fortress:
You ever look at the clouds when they approach in the distance? When you live in a tiny town in New Hampshire (or even Massachusetts for that matter) you tend to view those clouds a little differently... And not just in the case of a child seeing a turtle or an ice cream cone in one of the shapes, but more like watching the Death Star roll up on Endor's moon (yes. I made a Star Wars reference). Dan's poem described one of these clouds as though it were a massive Sky Fortress looming over an unsuspecting town... Like those mother ships from Independence Day... only more... Medieval. This was my attempt to visually depict that... (side note? Personal Fav).

River Towns:
What's cool about this one is that I got to personally experience the inspiration for this poem with The Dan... We were having a last hurrah up in the sticks of Claremont, NH before he and his wife moved to South Carolina and decided to walk around downtown... Which proved to be a pretty awesome time. It's a rundown town built around ye old mills of the industrial revolution... You can tell it was once a flourishing community, sadly it's full of closed businesses and old decaying brick structures... Though it still has some very beautiful areas, a few renovated mills turned restaurant, a really good coffee shop (with free wi-fi nonetheless, can you guess where we had the least conversation?), and some very cool walk ways and side streets... That combined with it being a warm, sunny day made for a really nice time, and a very inspired poem. The image focuses mostly on how the poem compares the town to a beating heart...

Anyway, these illustrations have been finished since March, but I told The Dan I'd hold off on posting anything until he finished putting together a booklet to give to his wife on their anniversary. You can check out what Dan put together here:

Also, I'm not posting his poems, so you'll have to go to his blog to read them... They're very good, be sure to read em' and give the ol' boy some props.

Bout' time New England got some recognition,
~ Mark


  1. Wow I really love these illustrations. Especially the River Town and Winding Road. How did you do those?

  2. Thanks Big Nate!

    Heh, I wish I could remember how I did these, that was like 2 years ago now haha. If I recall, I drew them, scanned them, then traced over them in Illustrator and shaded them in Photoshop.

    Honestly, I'm not even sure I was 100% conscious when I made them, I was going off 2 hours of sleep a night and running off of caffeine and Tasty Cakes... Good times.

  3. Very cool man. If you can remember how you created these I would love to hear about it. Not that I could ever recreate it, but I just love this style of graphics. Its probably my all time favorite out of all your work.