Friday, September 9, 2016

"Goblin Market": An Art Book by Omar Rayyan

One of my favorite artists and illustrators, Omar Rayyan, is working on wrangling his many private art pieces, created in his personal time over the last decade and inspired by Christina Rosetti's 19th century poem Goblin Market, into a truly stunning book.
(You may know his name from the Folio edition of Andrew Lang's The Brown Fairy Book, among others.)

As Rayyan mentions, the narrative poem is rich with imagery, yet it's difficult to find many illustrations based on it. I, for one, don't understand why, but I feel the poem would be better known if we had more visual basis to share it, especially in this digital image-driven age. This book will go a long way to remedying that, and possibly inspire more works that cross the world from our known world to that of Faerie, as Marina Warner describes the "land" in which fairy tales exist (from Once Upon A Time: A Short History of Fairy Tale).

Omar Rayyan:
"This project of doing an illustrated version of "Goblin Market" came about while chatting with a few fellow artists at a dinner. Illustrator Ruth Sanderson planted the idea in my head at a time when I was searching for a personal project to work on outside of my regular commercial work, as a chance to flex my artistic muscles. I used it as an opportunity to explore the imagery found in Rossetti's poem, unfettered by conventional publishing concerns. Free from the vision of an outside party such as an art director, I made this a highly personal project.
The product of many years work, squeezing painting time in between my regular commercial obligations, I slowly amassed a large collection of images. The time finally arrived to assemble these images into a coherent presentation to share with the world. I am very excited to see this project come to fruition."
Rayyan is creating the book independently and has set up a Kickstarter to help make it happen.

Here's his Kickstarter video, which showcases a beautiful variety of pieces, and his multi-faceted approach to the material:

Unsurprisingly, the funding goal was reached on the first day but there's still plenty of time (14 days, ending September 23rd, 2016) to add support and secure a pre-order of the volume (possibly signed and with a print or with other bonuses, depending on the amount you contribute). Considering the price the book, and extras, would cost commercially, it could be considered a limited time offer bargain.

"Over one hundred drawings and watercolor paintings packed into an 88 page full color book. 10x12 inches, hardcover with a printed dust jacket and an introduction written by the one and only Charles Vess."
Rayyan has released Goblin Market pieces via social media here and there through the years, (his Facebook page is a delight to follow and his sense of humor is always evident) but most of these are yet to be viewed by the public. (All artwork in this post was created by Rayyan for Goblin Market.)

I'm really looking forward to seeing the layout and pieces chosen alongside Rosetti's words.

On the left are the sample pages he's currently share. (Look at all the sketchy-goodness and hand written text!)

Like most people, many of the supporter levels are out of my reach, but I'm always interested to see the creative ways in which artists reward their backers. 

I'm particularly tickled by the $10,000 reward. I'm not really sure he's expecting anyone will pay this, but you never know..


A gift basket of fresh fruit, hand-delivered to your door by Omar himself! You get to spend one-on-one time with the artist, in your very own home. He will also deliver a signed special collector's limited edition of "Goblin Market" with sketch inside, and all sorts of other goodies. Date of delivery to be arranged. 

Tell me you're not a little envious of whomever can splash out $10,000 for goblin fruit!

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