Tuesday, June 4, 2013

"This Year in Jerusalem."

Over the past year American author Jeffrey F. Barken and I have been working on our second project; This Year in Jerusalem. An illustrated book of interconnected short stories.

You may remember Jeff from Mackerel, our experimental interactive collaboration of last year. This time we decided on something more traditional. 

Now that I can finally sit back with some objectivity and truly look at it, This Year in Jerusalem really is a great book. The story of two friends, divided by geography and betrayal. Set in both Israel and the USA, it's a story of family and forgiveness as much as one of politics and division. 

It's was, of course, a challenge. The short story genre can be tough to illustrate without spoiling or diminishing the story arch. Illustration is usually associated with children's literature, this is very much the opposite.  Some of the themes are  uncompromising and upsetting but all in all it was an immensley fun and rewarding experience. 

I decided to go back to basics in term of style and medium and went with black and white sketches in ink with a bamboo pen. I think it suits the subtle yet gritty descriptive language of the book. 

Illustration from the story The Draft Dodger. 

We relied heavily on Skype to complete the project and have been in such regular contact that it's been easy to forget that we haven't been in the same room for about 6 years. So I'm delighted that Jeff and his wife Avi will be here for the book launch on the 12th of June at I pm at the Bookstop Cafe in Kenmare where we will be signing copies and I will have limited edition prints of selected illustrations.  Everyone welcome.