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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.

Archive for the {fantasy} category


The Chronicle of the Cursed Sleeve


A copy of the cover art that I attempted to colour-correct some years ago to compensate for the poor print reproduction. This month I’m in Record Collector magazine talking in a sidebar feature about my work on the Hawkwind album The Chronicle of the Black Sword. The issue is Hawkwind-heavy, with a Nik Turner interview, […]

Posted in {books}, {design}, {fantasy}, {magazines}, {music}, {work} | 2 comments »




Relativity (1953) by MC Escher. Escher’s famous lithograph has a less familiar companion piece in the woodcut below. Delirius (1972) by Philippe Druillet. Lone Sloane’s adventure on the pleasure planet of Delirius was written by Jacques Lob, and features this diversion in the Palais d’Escher. Possibly the first fictional use of one of Escher’s prints.

Posted in {animation}, {art}, {books}, {comics}, {fantasy}, {film}, {science fiction}, {television} | 3 comments »


Liénard’s grotesques


Yesterday’s book was from the Internet Archive scans of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Library. The majority of the books in the collection are related to textiles or crafts but the archive has a few design books of which this is one example. Spécimens de la Décoration et de l’Ornementation au XIXe Siècle […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {design}, {fantasy} | No comments »


Weekend links 269


Grosses Wasser (1979) by Cluster. Cover art by Dieter Moebius. • RIP Dieter Moebius: one half of Cluster (with Hans-Joachim Roedelius), one third of Harmonia (with Roedelius and Michael Rother), and collaborator with many other musicians, including Brian Eno and Conny Plank. Geeta Dayal, who interviewed Moebius for Frieze in 2012, chose five favourite recordings. […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art}, {books}, {design}, {electronica}, {fantasy}, {film}, {music}, {painting}, {politics}, {science fiction} | 2 comments »


The Plutonian Drug


Cover art by Leo Morey. To HP Lovecraft, Pluto was the planet Yuggoth, home to the fungoid, brain-harvesting Mi-go whose exploits are detailed in The Whisperer in Darkness (1931). Clark Ashton Smith wasn’t averse to imagining the planets of the Solar System as exotic worlds but in his short story The Plutonian Drug, published in […]

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Shadowland, a film by Anthony Lucas


I forget who recommended this to me but the tip was probably a result of my recent work with silhouettes on Ishbelle Bee’s book covers. Shadowland (1988) is a short student film which, for the most part, concerns the conflict between stick-figure humans and an army of giant winged insects. It’s not quite a silhouette […]

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The art of Aleksandr Kosteckij


This is the kind of fantastic art I like a great deal: nebulous landscapes whose vast forms may be some kind of hybrid architecture; implications of the alien and mystical that retain some ambiguity; dreamlike without slipping into post-Surrealist cliché. Monsieur Thombeau at Full Fathom Five (whose excellent eye I have to thank once again) […]

Posted in {art}, {fantasy}, {painting}, {surrealism} | 5 comments »


Invisible Cities: Miscellanea


Cover art: The Castle in the Pyrenees (1961) by René Magritte. A final post for this week devoted to Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, and it occurs to me that “Miscellanea” could easily be the name of one of Marco Polo’s cities. One thing that’s become apparent over the past few days is that this subject […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art}, {black and white}, {books}, {cities}, {design}, {fantasy}, {painting} | Comments Off


Seeing Calvino: Invisible Cities


Continuous Cities 4: Cecilia by Leighton Connor. Seeing Calvino is the most recent of the illustration projects featured this week, a group effort by three artists—Leighton Connor, Matt Kish and Joe Kuth—dedicated to picturing all 55 of the Invisible Cities. Matt Kish has been mentioned here before since he and I were among the many […]

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Gérard Trignac’s Invisible Cities


I wrote a short appreciation of French artist Gérard Trignac back in 2006, and he’s been mentioned a few times since, so it would be remiss of me to not include his etchings in this week’s illustration series. Trignac is a favourite of mine among the current crop of French etchers and engravers for his […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art}, {books}, {cities}, {fantasy}, {illustrators} | 4 comments »


Colleen Corradi Brannigan’s Invisible Cities


Cities and Memory 5: Maurilia. Colleen Corradi Brannigan’s multimedia project was linked here back in 2011 when news of her endeavours reached a number of high-profile websites. These artworks are another attempt to depict all of Italo Calvino’s cities, this time using a range of media that includes sculpture. I like the variety of this […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art}, {books}, {cities}, {fantasy}, {illustrators}, {painting}, {sculpture} | 1 comment »


Le Città In/visibili


Thin Cities 3: Armilla by Luca Enoch. Sergio Bonelli Editore, an Italian comics publisher, staged an exhibition of art based on Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities at the Triennale Milano in 2002. The drawings for Le Città In/visibili head in the opposite direction from Mikhail Viesel’s depictions, and in several pictures push the cities towards generic fantasy […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art}, {books}, {cities}, {comics}, {fantasy}, {illustrators}, {science fiction} | 4 comments »


Mikhail Viesel’s Invisible Cities


Thin Cities 2: Zenobia. I’ve a lot of work to get through this week so the theme will be illustrated Calvino, and that means looking at various renderings of the Invisible Cities. Calvino’s novel has many attractions for illustrators, at least superficially: all those descriptions, the endless variety and invention. Whether the book should be […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {cities}, {fantasy}, {illustrators} | 1 comment »


Copying Clarke


“On to the brocken the witches are flocking.” From Faust (1925) by Harry Clarke. Spotted earlier this week, a rather blatant swipe from Harry Clarke’s Faust by an unknown cover artist for the Avon Fantasy Reader. Such borrowings weren’t uncommon in the pulp magazines—the pressure of deadlines no doubt encouraged them—and I’ve logged a couple […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {fantasy}, {illustrators}, {magazines}, {pulp} | 2 comments »


Weekend links 263


Dancing Horse (1972) by Tadashi Nakayama. • The Wounded Galaxies Festival of Experimental Media takes place in Bloomington, Indiana, on October 7–11, 2015. The event is an offshoot of the earlier Burroughs Century, and the phrase “wounded galaxies” is one of Burroughs’ own. It’s also the partial title of Wounded Galaxies Tap At The Window, […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {drugs}, {electronica}, {fantasy}, {film}, {gay}, {horror}, {music}, {psychedelia}, {television}, {work} | 4 comments »


Weekend links 262


You’ll Never Be Alone, Even In Death (2014) by Stacey Rozich. • “But the CD-R format, which eventually replaced the mix tape, turned out to be a technological letdown. ‘CD-Rs are just such an unstable format,’ Margolis says. ‘When you made 10 cassettes, the 10 cassettes generally played. If you made 10 CD-Rs, 8 of […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {electronica}, {fantasy}, {film}, {gay}, {horror}, {music}, {occult}, {surrealism}, {technology} | 1 comment »


The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl


Three months after The Singular & Extraordinary Tale of Mirror & Goliath I can reveal my cover design for Ishbelle Bee’s sequel, The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl. Here’s a summary, swiped once again from the Barnes & Noble SF & Fantasy blog: Two orphans, Pedrock and Boo Boo, are sent to live in […]

Posted in {books}, {design}, {fantasy}, {typography}, {work} | 4 comments »


Lachman’s Inferno


I’ve written already about Harry Lachman’s remarkable melodrama, Dante’s Inferno (1935), but the links to the Inferno sequence are now defunct so here’s an updated one. Lachman was an artist before he became a production designer for Rex Ingram, and later a director in his own right. The French government awarded him the Légion d’Honneur […]

Posted in {fantasy}, {film}, {religion} | 2 comments »


La Bibliothèque de Babel


It was perhaps inevitable that this small collection of works of fantastic fiction was named after its director’s most famous creation, the Library of Babel. Jorge Luis Borges chose the titles, and also wrote introductions for each of the books. The series was published in France by Retz–Ricci, with 4000 numbered copies of each title […]

Posted in {books}, {borges}, {design}, {fantasy} | 6 comments »


More trip texts


More psychedelia of a sort. Anthologist Michel Parry, who died last year, was a familiar name to British readers of fantasy, horror and science fiction for his themed collections: Beware of the Cat (1972; horror stories about cats), The Devil’s Children (1974; horror stories about children), The Hounds of Hell (1974; horror stories about dogs), […]

Posted in {books}, {drugs}, {fantasy}, {horror}, {occult}, {psychedelia}, {science fiction} | Comments Off



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