As I’ve previously mentioned, one of the great joys of having even a little spare money knocking around is the opportunity to commission artists to illustrate my work. Now, I’m not exactly flush at the moment, but I can spare enough to bring some beautiful black and white art to my living room, and to help an artist who needs money very fast.
I was so impressed with B.L. Becotte‘s work on the last commission (an illustration for a key scene in my most recent, first-draft-stage novel, As Simple As Hunger) that I immediately jumped for another; this artist’s style is perfect for the darker, gothic turns that some of my novels have taken, and it’s art with a real grasp of the dramatic in terms of angles suited to storytelling.
Another of my books which was crying out for some illustrations and which I thought was perfectly suited to B. L. Becotte’s inky, Bisette-esque style is The Other Daughter, and so I eagerly flung a section of prose at the artist with a note reading “anything from this bit would be wonderful”.
I was right about it being wonderful.
I just can’t get enough of those thick, solid, deep shadows, and the delirious and alarming sense of action this low angle gives to the scene. The indignity of the violence, Nancy’s position, the way Polly is standing with her chair-leg raised; everything here screams of a situation gone terribly awry and tells you you’re right in the middle of something. It’s masterful.
(You can buy The Other Daughter if you like – and you should, it’s a terribly compelling story – but I’m afraid this illustration isn’t in it!)