His Dark Materials

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Before first the Dark Materials Books came out the publisher suggested  it would be good  to have a small decorative device at the head of every chapter.  “The same one in every chapter?", I asked and then suggested  "Why don’t we have a different one?”. “Well, OK”, he conceded.  I then asked if I could draw them.  “But you’re not an artist”, he pointed out. I said I could draw, and he challenged me to prove it. So I went away and had a go. I knew the illustrations would be reproduced very small, but after some experimenting I found a way of doing it that involved solid blacks that wouldn’t get lost in the printing. This was important because not only were the pictures going to be size of a postage stamp, but also the paper would not be good enough to take fine lines. It was very difficult judging how much detail could be used, and some of the cross-hatching did get lost in the printing process.  It was more of a challenge that I anticipated, and some drawing took more than a day to complete.


 I refer to these illustrations as “Lantern Slides”, and they appeared in the Lantern Slide editions of the Dark Materials Books.

 I would also like to share with you some of the great Peter Bailey’s illustrations for the Folio Society’s edition of His Dark Materials. The Folio Society has resolutely gone on publishing books with pictures in them when most mainstream publishers have given up.

 Visit the Illustrations section of my site: 

view illustrations