Kaaron Warren's The Grief Hole has just won the Best Horror Novel category in the 2016 Aurealis Awards, it's a worthy winner and a one I fully endorse. Her novel is exceptional, and featured in my top 5 novels of last year, you can read my review of this exceptional book here. When the book was first announced there weer a number of options available for purchasing the book in a hardback format. One of the options was to have to included a copy of The Grief Hole Illustrated: An Artist's Sketchbook by Keely Van order. IFWG publications now have this book available as a seperate purchase. And much like its source material this is a fascinating and gorgeously put together book.
If you have ever wonder what goes through an artist's mind when they come up with the cover and interior artwork concepts for a book, then this is an essential read.
The illustrated guide tracks the passage from Keely's initial concepts right through to the final drafts of the images, aided by deeply inciteful notes that reveal the lengths a great artist will go to find the perfect style and tone for the book, and it's not just the art that she ponders over, the development of the fonts for the cover shows that the artist really connected with this book.
My personal favourite section of the book was the one that dealt with the development of the Sol Invictus, the books big bad guy. When reading a story we all have a mental image in our heads about what the characters look like, however if like me you have a hard time picturing people's faces, you are often left with a character with a blank face.
And while Keely's illustration of him doesn't actually give anything away, her drawing of him captures the spirit, desire and motivations of this most menacing monster.
The production quality of this book is exceptional, sharp detailed prints of the original artwork reveals a lot of hidden dept to Kelly's drawings as a look inside the mind of an artist this is a fascinating read, but as a companion to deep and moving novel this is almost a required reading.