Yes, it is official! In the Deluge is on the way. While not 100% done, it's close enough for me to be confident in a release date. My poetry collection will come out by August or September 2023. I hope to begin pre-orders in May or June. Two months to finish a poetry book? Let's do this!
Poetry and Imagery
One of the biggest setbacks for me (aside from writing/editing enough poetry to fill the volume) was that I wanted Deluge to have illustrations. Some of my favorite poetry collections of all time have illustrations in them. Also, I am a poet that leans towards short, punchy poetry. To avoid dead, empty space, illustrations are a must.
But alas, I was struggling to find an illustrator. I searched in my local network, but couldn't find anyone with a style I wanted. I even searched Fiverr and 99Designs without finding the right vibe. And then, the biggest crux of all: when my new car engine bill came due, any excess funds that I had for funding In the Deluge suddenly evaporated. Now we're on a budget. Something had to give. So, I polished up my rusty art skills and went to work. It was worth a try.
"Beneath the Surface" - (C) Grigori Press
Artist v. Writer
Up until then, my passion for art and my passion for writing were on equal ground. However, due to writing being much more accessible on the go - at work, at home, on my phone, on my tablet, on my laptop, on a flash drive, in the cloud – it soon became my main means of expressing my creativity.
Long story short, I stopped being an active artist and became a professional writer. Art had always been a hobby for me, anyway. I never had a desire to sell anything I made because it was unique and special to me. Besides, being a writer made more sense for both my career and my primary hobby. Having good writing skill is generally a better resume booster than having an eye for color.
I brushed off my rusty art skills to make an Azula armor cosplay for Archon 2022. It sure helped to have a background in doing art to get it done, but it was still a challenge since I had never worked with foam or tailoring before. My friend, who is much better at sewing than me, helped me make the tunic!
Graphic Designing to Digital Art
I've dabbled in graphic design for several years now, primarily with GIMP 2, Photoshop, and Canva. I was editor-in-chief of my school yearbook, did newspaper design and web design in college, and in my spare time I dabble with promos, memes, mock book covers, and photograph manipulation/enhancement. But it's always been what I would call collaging – taking pieces and putting them together. But for In the Deluge, I wanted to try something different. A new medium. Instead of drawing by hand and then trying to turn the drawing into a crisp digital image, I wanted to draw straight into an art program on my tablet. I ordered a fancy chargeable stylus to make precise lines, and away I went!
I started with Sketchbook, a rather basic but modestly loaded program with more than enough brushes and features to accommodate my needs. It was familiar territory. I've messed with a lot of different settings in photo editing software over the years, so I was able to adjust to digital drawing pretty quick. I have to say, it's so nice to just click the undo button to delete a line you don't like instead of carefully trying to erase it. Oh, and using a line predictor to smooth out a line that had been wavy? Absolutely genius. Digital art is the bomb!
While what I'm doing isn't exactly the style I had wanted, either, it comes closer than anything else I had looked at. And it's unapologetically me, like my poetry is. This undertaking has revitalized my hope that maybe not all of my art skill has been lost. There's perhaps still a little old-fashioned artist in me yet.
"Monstrum Humanum" (C) Grigori Press