Illustrating Every Page of Moby Dick


Inspired by LA-based artist Zak Smith, whose superb project illustrating Gravity’s Rainbow page by page was turned into a book in 2006, self-described non-artist Matt Kish thought he might try his hand at a similar feat — only instead of Pynchon, he decided to illustrate all 552 pages of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Though he focuses on drawings, some of Kish’s best pieces are heavily or at least partially collaged, and almost every work incorporates found paper as its background. Kish started the project on August 5 of this year with the goal to create one drawing every day, and to this date he has 104 illustrations, all in order from page one — maybe a little behind, but not too shabby.

As is fairly typical with a series of quick art, we find some of his pieces wonderful and some ho-hum, but as a collection, we think it’s pretty glorious. We’ve posted a few of our favorites after the jump — check out Kish’s blog (or website) for the full picture and to follow along for the 400-odd pages he’s got left.

Page 030 : Yes, here were a set of sea-dogs, many of whom without the slightest bashfulness had boarded great whales on the high seas — entire strangers to them — and dueled them dead without winking…

Page 035 : What deadly voids and unbidden infidelities in the lines that seem to gnaw upon all Faith, and refuse resurrections to the beings who have placelessly perished without a grave.

Page 047 : “Delight is to him, who gives no quarter in the truth, and kills, burns, and destroys all sin…”

Page 048 : Queequeg was George Washington cannibalistically developed.

Page 055 : They had made a harpooner of him, and that barbed iron was in lieu of a sceptre now.

Page 072 : …the sight of many unclad, lovely island creatures, round the Horn…

Page 094 : It was nearly six o’clock, but only grey imperfect misty dawn, when we drew nigh the wharf.

Page 096 : “Face!” said I, “call that his face?”

Page 097 : It was now clear sunrise.

Which ones are your favorites? (We’re especially fond of page 96.)