B2L: A Lot of Frigging Gizmoids In The Back, There

With apologies to Mr. Lafferty, wherever his consciousness resides.

School project: to do an illustration of a literary figure. I chose the great R.A. Lafferty, penner of preposterous parables and other priceless prose, partly because I'm a huge fan, and partly because he's got this great look about him, with a small, square head and what look to be, in every photo I've seen, enormous ape-arms. I am a sucker for ape-arms. Everything I read about the fellow (alas, now passed-on) says he was a devout Catholic. It seemed fitting, then, that he be sainted, and so sainted he be, in monastic dress no less, to further exploit the humour of his monkey arms (monkey! Get it? Monk-y! Yes, yes, that's a pun and an etymological reference at the same time). Yet, I could swear I read some antitheistic sentiment in some of his stories, so compositionally I've used an inverted cross. The assignment, more specifically, was to do an illustration integrating type, so I just have snippets from Past Master thrown around in what might pass as a meaningful fashion.

I did this on a piece of printer paper with a Hunt (Speedball, whatever) 102, my Rotring ArtPen, and my trusty #2 inkin' brush. The paper was not ideal,


  1. Hi, I just re-posted your excellent illustration of Lafferty on my Lafferty blog:


    Very interesting to hear your comments and glad to come upon another fan of Lafferty. Oh, and 'ape-arms', 'monk-y' - nice. (And Lafferty-esque!)

  2. Lovely, and as Dan noted, always good to come across another Laffertian. (If you cruise along to his blog, or to Teddy Horan's [http://hieronymopolis.wordpress.com/2011/03/25/japanese-lafferty-artwork-scanned-out-of-dan-knight%E2%80%99s-boomer-flats-gazette/], there's some more great illustrations of Ray, though I'm not sure if they've got up my favorites: the Sleepy Sailor cover http://hc2.seikyou.ne.jp/home/DrBr/RAL/cover/coverASS.html; the Lafferty in Orbit dust jacket (only half here: http://www.amazon.com/Lafferty-Orbit-R/dp/0962382485), or the Japanese tribute here: http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/853/laffertyjapanesememoria.jpg/

    Would you consider selling the piece? If so, let me know: ferguson dot aj at gmail. Thanks for posting it!

  3. One other note: where you see an inverted cross, I think Ray would see Peter's.

  4. Nice links, Andrew. Is that Snuffles in the picture below the Sleepy Sailor cover? I wish that book was still available.

    Also, yeah, I agree on the inverted cross.

    Adam, you probably did encounter some 'antitheistic' sentiment in some of his stories. He fairly often either represents it plainly as a character or societal viewpoint, or, probably more often, presents it in order to satirize it. Still, overall in the whole body of his work, I think one sees a generosity toward atheists and those of other than Catholic worldviews. Even the satirical humour can make you laugh at yourself when you're its target in Lafferty's writing. I think that's why non-Catholics like Neil Gaiman like him so much.

    Again, thanks for doing this great drawing (and be sure to sell it to Andrew!). Take care.