Gary Burley is an UK based artist who recently acomplished an incredible feat. In 1989 he started illustrating 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. This stunningly beautiful omage of Verne’s 150 year old classic tells a well know epic adventure whilst providing a contemporary feel to the illustrations and overall production quality. From the comfort of his home and a trusted border collie keeping him company Gary created 700+ pages book, of which 600 are illustrations. Every picture he made with a brush and indian ink, and the end result made it look like an old fashioned book from 1900. True modern day Captain Nemo!
The way I would describe my art is century too late. I’m not trying to fit in with modern art, but trying to capture the old world look of books from a century ago.
My inspiration was firstly William Morris Kelmscott Chaucer, and the old fashioned Russian posters of hard working ordinary people. I used to be a coal miner so i wanted that stark black and white gritty look you see in old photos too.
I use the pen and ink technique because it looks like the old fashioned etchings and the sheer skill those people had. You have limited shading and you can’t make a mistake, its like extreme drawing. Or like diffusing a bomb, one slip and the picture is ruined.
I am working on a poster for Ivanhoe that is quite large. It doesn’t have pretty or hollywood armour, it doesn’t take place on a sunny day, and it doesn’t feature swords. It is in the howling wind and rain. The riders and horses are crashing into the mud and both knights are fighting with a mace or a hammer. Also i’m looking into the availability of ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ to illustrate.
Captain Nemo fans! Own Gary’s Illustrated Book Today!
This book is one stunning achievement! Mere thought that it took 27 years and a lot of dedication to complete is phenomenal. I can’t wait to see Gary’s future project. To stay up to date with Captain Nemo project and follow his daily activities, check his Facebook & Twitter. You can buy and own this absolutely amazing 700 pages illustrated book today on Amazon. You are interested in buying some of the individual prints of these pages? Then you should definitely check out Burley’s saatchiart page. Finally, if you feel like sharing your thoughts on these illustrations, do it in the comment section bellow.
Visual content courtesy of Gary Burley