The official page FAQs for author and illustrator Madyson Blair.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
--Why aren’t your illustrations in your book?
There are several answers to this one. My writing style is very visual and I felt that if there were any images dispersed throughout the book, not only would it disrupt the flow of the story but compete with the imagery already described in words. I want my writing to stand alone so that my readers have the freedom to envision the story however they wish. Also, my illustrations often don’t depict specific scenes. More than this, I tend to illustrate the archetypal moods and symbolic subject matter associated with the story and characters (which could become confusing for a reader). Therefore, I plan on compiling separate ART BOOKS of my illustrative work! I would, however, like to publish special editions of my book someday that each include a section of illustrations in the middle or back.
--When is the second book coming out?
It's OUT! However, I don't have it on Amazon yet for several reasons. I am happy and willing to ship it out personally, and I do have PayPal which makes such things way easier nowadays! If you are interested in purchasing my books, PLEASE send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be more than happy to send your books off signed and everything. I have started to write Book III, but that won't be out for a while.
--What medium do you use for your illustrations?
The vast majority of my illustrations are created using Prismacolor coloured pencil on grey illustration board. The black and white images were done with graphite.
--Where do you get inspiration/ what sort of things inspire you?
Music is an enormously powerful driving force behind my work. Usually I'll become somewhat fixated on listening to a certain band, whereupon their sound becomes the temporary soundtrack of my life. Oftentimes, my fixation stems from an unconscious yearning to grasp an upcoming epiphany. Just a few of my most common go-to bands for inspiration are Rammstein, Nine Inch Nails, The Birthday Massacre, Korn, Kamelot, Nebelhexe, Loreena McKennitt and Arcana. Films and shows such as Closet Land, The Dead Poets Society, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, What Dreams May Come, The Green Mile, Eraserhead, Angel's Egg, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Hannibal and Bates Motel have been hugely inspiring. I have a weakness for anything that is both psychological and spiritual.
Aside from music and movies, I garner inspiration from a variety of venues, most predominately nature itself (walks in the woods are essential) and antique stores. I adore vintage items that ooze a certain kind of mystery and nostalgia. I am especially compelled by kitschy deer figurines (I collect them!), mysterious religious ephemera, Venetian masks, old images of theatre or carnivals, anything Dionysian, tarot cards, vintage children's storybooks and even 90s Pokemon cards. The archetype of childhood wonder is very fascinating to me--both individual childhood and the primordial childhood of mankind itself. I constantly devour books about alchemy, astrology, mythology, Jungian psychology, occultism and more. History in general is an inspiration to me--Ancient times, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Revolution, Victorian all the way through the Great Depression and across the rest of the twentieth century. You name it, I'm interested. Every time period has its riveting charm and intriguing darkness.
More recently I have found myself additionally interested in very cosmic and futuristic things which coincide with a lot of my themes in Book II. I also adore anything glowing be it warm and soothing faerie lights of a mysterious forest or the glaring neon signs of a decaying metropolis. I definitely enjoy my occasional rave and psychedelic experience as well... ;)
--Who are your greatest influences?
Intellectually, my biggest influence is the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung. I also enjoy Joseph Campbell and Richard Tarnas. Artistically, my biggest influence is Mark Ryden. Mark has been an incredible source of inspiration for me and one which I have revisited over and over in much the same way that I tend to revisit my favourite bands. In addition to Mark Ryden, I am very fascinated by the surrealist low-brow art movement in general and the archetypes unconsciously expressed therein, including artists such as Ray Caesar, Nicoletta Ceccoli, Laurie Lipton, Lori Early, and Eric Fortune. Greg Spalenka is another artist who has not only been an inspiration to me, but a great friend as well.
As far as the old masters go, the list is endless. Bosch, Bouguereau, Rubens, Fragonard--and later artists too like Magritte, Ernst Fuchs and Norman Lindsay. Old alchemical/Hermetic illustrations are also exceedingly compelling to me, and I've been known to study them for hours. In 2013 I took a trip to Italy that changed my life, and stirred deep within my soul an utter fascination with the dreamy, enigmatic coexistence of Christian and Pagan imagery during the Renaissance.
Writing-wise, I find my influences are harder to pinpoint. My writing style emerged through my studying the craft of creative writing more through the readings of short stories, many of which I can't recall the author. When I was a child, I adored Junior Great Books and could marvel for hours at the deep, mysterious quality of the stories. Sylvia Plath has been quite an influence, as well as Virginia Woolf, e.e. cummings, Vladimir Nabokov, Charles Baudelaire, Oscar Wilde, William Shakespeare, Walt Whitman and certain elements of J.D. Salinger's unique dialogue and blocking. Also, my writing would not be what it is today if not for the help of my awesome mentor and fellow author, Adam Schuitema.
--Alastair is the star, but you have many other characters in your novels--why do you almost exclusively draw pictures of him?
Again, my art is not so much a way for me to literally capture my story as it's written. Rather, it is a separate venue for the predominate archetypes of my unconscious to unleash themselves. Alastair is essentially my muse and animus. He is the strongest force in me that desires to be expressed. Since my artwork is highly archetypal, he and his 'queen' appear most frequently. The result is a reoccurring yin-yang motif that plays upon the grander themes of my novels. I know that once I have delved deeper into the remaining volumes of the series, however, other critical characters will begin to appear more often in my illustrations. There is so much more to come!
--Do you do commissions?
I am open to commissions only if the project is well suited to my specific art style. If the project is related to my series (i.e. a request to draw a certain scene or character(s) from The Weather Inside) then I am more than willing to consider it!
--Where did you get your book printed/published?
I self-published through 48 Hour Books. For anyone who wants to self-publish, I cannot recommend that site enough. Absolutely fabulous customer service and quality.
--Are you looking for an agent or a big-name publisher?