Sunday, 19 October 2008

A Confederacy of Dunces

No, not a posting about the world governments... This posting is regarding the fabulous book by John Kennedy Toole -
A Confederacy Of Dunces and I can't recommend it highly enough.

The fat, obnoxious, self aggrandizing protagonist pictured here is called Ignatius J. Reilly, he has an overactive pyloric valve, a penchant for hot dogs and he's mean to his momma!

I've had this lurking around since last October... at the time I never quite felt I captured all that was necessary to do the character justice.

My good pal Matt didn't want to see my versions for fear of having his own attempt coloured by mine... His take on the character can been seen here and very good it is too. This means I am now free to share my version with you all!

I did loads of doodling and here are just a few pages from the sketchbook (badly photographed with lots of fish-eye distortion).

I never felt I'd got him right and there are things that are described in the book that I couldn't seem to express when I put pen to paper. Some things are just like that - better in the imagination!

I tried lots of different looks for Ignatius and I even looked at trying to push his features as far as I could in the direction of a pig.

That didn't work as the depth of the character demanded something more. I thought about Peter Ustinov, Martin Clunes and Orson Welles... and a few other people that I can't remember the names of right now.

Not that you'd have known...

In the end I picked the version I felt most closely represented the character I saw in my mind.

I pasted it onto a body that hadn't taken much effort at all and did a quick colour treatment on it, using mainly flat patterns plaid, tweed and corduroy (dropped in for speed).

It's interesting, but Matt has chosen to represent the plaid shirt that is so characteristic of Ignatius in a 'flat' collage type way too...

If his reason for doing it was anything like mine, then it was a mixture of laziness and wanting to avoid all the effort of painting that damned checkered pattern.

In retrospect I'm not unhappy with the characterization here. Buy the book, read it, and please let me know what you think of Ignatius and my illustration of him.


matt dawson said...

Great work Kev! There he is!!! I really can hear Ignatius' words coming out of this illustrations piggy mouth! I particularly like the supercilious french waiter aspect you've got into his expression and features. Ignatius' character is based upon a whole bag full of contradictions (most notably his intelligence and eloquence v his self centred immaturity) and I don't know about you but I found it a real challenge to hit upon something which captured the Ignatius pic in my minds eye. Seeing this pic it's like you rummaged in my head and drew what you saw from the mental box labelled "Reilly, Ignatius.J - to be laughed at but avoided at all costs". Lovely stuff!

qualia said...

Oooh! He does look like a foul, portly beast of a man. I don't know the book but the image is hilarious...x

phil said...

Likes it, likes it. I'm gonna re-read the book and give him a go too, I've got to finish The Magical Faraway Tree first though.

Glad to see the little grey one in his rightful place, on charity fundraising memorabilia.

dugbuddy said...

I really need to read this. Love the work you have done on this.