Thursday, July 27, 2017

True Inspirations - Part 3: John Kenn Mortensen

My inspirations aren't only literary and film related. Artists of all types inspire me, as they should any artist in any medium.

Continuing on with my True Inspirations, I'd like to talk a little about a relatively recent Inspiration: John Kenn Mortensen.

I don't know much about his personal life except that he seems to be an animator and a director for children's shows in his native land of Denmark. But I first heard of him from a story about an artist who draws darkly themed drawings on Post-It notes.

They were black-and-white on a flat 2D plane, with lots of and lots of hatching and deep dark shadows on tiny pieces of paper. Again, like Tim Burton's work, they were very dark and gothic and featured humans, mostly children, in situations involving terrifying monsters. But the thing was, these children depicted did not seem too frightened and seemed to be in no danger from these horrifying creatures.

In no danger from monsters. But umbrellas are another story entirely.

There it was again, my favorite theme: kiddie gothic.

Indeed, the drawings in my latest work, The Deceased Miss Blackwell and her Not-So-Imaginary Friends were heavily influenced by Mr. Mortensen's work. I tried to not copy too much, but just enough to make his influence known.

The backstory: I'd been an artist for most of my life, but, around 10 years ago I let insecurities and jealousy of better artists get to me and thought, if I'm not as good as they are I might as well stop drawing. And so, that's exactly what I did. For 8 years I didn't put one tip of one pencil to one sheet of paper (or cursor to digital canvas), and when I finally did two years after that it was for my other two book covers––which didn't require anything elaborate––and some truly lackluster character designs here and there that nearly literally hurt me to draw. But nothing substantial, that's for sure.

Then I had the idea for this book and knew that I needed drawings for it. I was in no position to hire an artist as they can be rather expensive. I considered asking a friend to do them for me, but she seemed too busy with her own life and work to take it on (She's someone who dabbles in the gothic as well, check out her Etsy for jewelry. Excellent stuff).

John Kenn Mortensen's aesthetic was perfect for my story, and I wasn't going to get him to do it for me, that much I knew. So, I thought to myself, what the hell, maybe if I keep things simple and on a 2D plane like Mr. Mortensen does I can do something similar. I cannot say whether or not I did as good a job as he would have done, that's for my readers to decide, but I tried my best and I was pleased with what I came up with.

He truly is a talented individual. Check out some of his work below and at his page and tell me what you think.

Thanks for peeking into my brain. Be careful of what peeks back.

Amazon Link: The Deceased Miss Blackwell and her Not-So-Imaginary Friends Presale
Amazon UK link: The Deceased Miss Blackwell and her Not-So-Imaginary Friends UK

Also still on sale in digital, paperback and audio book forms
The Death of Death (Perma-Free)
Autonomously Yours

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