December 28th, 2014

Homage to Fermor

Illustrator Jeff Nelson explains in this post that he likes to do calligraphy drawings to accompany the books he’s reading. This one is a tribute to Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915 – 2011), who was regarded as England’s greatest travel writer and “a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene.”

“My name is Jeff Nelson. I live and work as an illustrator in Saint Paul, Minnesota. I work on murals, menus, magazines, maps, signs, and whatever else that may require hand-rendering that comes my way. I recently discovered the travel writings of Patrick Leigh Fermor. When he was nineteen, he left Oxford and began walking across Europe. This was just after Hitler had come to power. Fermor’s knowledge of the lands through which he’s passing is thorough and quirky. It balances well with the interactions he has with the people he meets along the way while also providing some foreshadowing of the horrors to come. He was also an accomplished sketcher and portraitist who frequently thanked his hosts with a drawing.

I like to draw while I’m reading — it helps me remember. By the end of a book, I like to have a piece that sums up the overall feeling of my reading experience. In this case it was grandiose, over-the-top, yet playful typography. I used a Mitsubishi Hi-Uni 4H pencil, Pentel brush pen with Carbon Ink, and a Carbon Ink pen in my Stillman & Birn sketchbook. (I also used Graham’s 10-year-old Tawny Port, but that’s probably more information than anybody really wants.) My work can be seen at or under the name Jephemera on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.”

ED. NOTE: Leigh Fermor was a renowned author, scholar and soldier who played a prominent role behind the lines in the Greek resistance in Crete resistance during the Second World War. This article from the BBC describes one of his more audacious exploits, the abduction of a Nazi general from Crete in 1944.

MEDIA: Pencil, ink, ink wash
SURFACE: Zeta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Smooth Finish


jeffnelson (640x564)


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