Beowulf The creation of an illustrated edition of the Old English poem Beowulf was my final project at Colchester Institute, Colchester, UK, in the year 2003. I saw it as an opportunity to link graphic design and illustration, by exploring a subject that contained many of my interests, such as mythology, history, archaeology and old languages.

introduction sketchbook illustrations layout and bookdesign publication

 

sketchbook

These pages from my sketchbook show a combination of historical research and early layout suggestions that later would inspire the style and placement of the illustrations, and the treatment of the text.

 

layout and bookdesign

Some pages from the actual book: the text occurs both in the Old English original and a translation by John Porter. The original text is set in Junius Rough, a typeface that incorporates the runic letterforms particular to this language, and which has been crafted after the handwriting of the 10th century Junius-manuscript, a contemporary of the Beowulf-manuscript. The translation is set in Adobe Caslon.

The book was ink-jet printed on Whatman watercolour paper (190 gsm), at 340 x 255 mm, and bound in Japanese four-point binding. Inspired by Anglo-Saxon shields, the cover was made of wood, copper-foil, and leather. Again I considered it important to use natural materials that reflected those of the period in which the poem was written.

 

publication

In 2009, the book was published by Walking Tree Publishers, with a foreword by eminent Tolkien scholar Tom Shippey. I am very pleased that he agreed to write this foreword. In fact, it is only fitting. It was because of his book The Road to Middle-earth that I got interested in Old English and Beowulf in the first place. I'm also indebted to John Porter who allowed us to use his verse translation in the published version, and to Thomas Honegger for his editorial assistance. Below are the cover and some sample pages of the published edition.

The sample pages can also be found at the publisher's website, together with information about prices and availability.

Moreover, some of the illustrations are available as prints or postcards in my shop

André Gand of www.tolkien-buecher.de has conducted an interview with me concerning Beowulf and the Dragon. You can read it here:

Interview

 

 

 

 

 

 

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