Reika Hunt

Illustrator

4

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STONER by John Williams

Hello all. I enrolled in this class quite a while ago, and am finally getting around to it. Jessica's videos were so fun to watch, and informative, and inspiring. How does she do it?

Anyways, I chose to work on a novel called Stoner by John Williams. I bought it on a whim because of the blurp on the cover that said "The Greatest Novel You've Never Read" and the description on the back looked interesting. Perhaps it's not the greatest novel, but I found that it was, in fact, beautifully sad and poignant.

It's about a man who lives a seemingly un-noticed life, doesn't have much to show for his achievements, dies, and is forgotten by the world. But one man's life is never insignificant. I love the subtle beauty of literature, and this novel did not disappoint in that regard.

Here is my ideation page.

The main character is about  a farmer's son who becomes a professor of English lit. So I wanted to somehow express a contrast between the "real, harsh world of working on the land," and the "ethereal world of literature." Which I thought would also be a good way to express the bigger theme of the book: "what one desires/expects from life" and "How life turns out." And all the other ironies that is life. I also wanted to somehow get the "sad and beautiful" feel of the book.

In the book, there is a lot of reference to the main character's hands, which are "brown, clumsy, farmer's hands." And that image stuck with me. So I thought perhaps a combination of dirty hands and a Latin-ish letter. Or, maybe make the W out of a book. Another idea was layering the W on top of some pillars, which would represent the university.

In the end I decided to go with the hand idea, as it was my favorite.

So here is my hands sketch. I was trying to get a good Latin-ish W (like something found chiseled into old monument ruins), but I couldn't get it to look representative of old literature, so I changed directions and tried a script-type W. I think it works better.

And this is how it turned out so far. Any kind of feedback would be appreciated!

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