Homer Henry Hudson (HHH) is the canine curator of a rather splendid Curio Museum. Just step inside and take a look…
The story comes alive through Homer’s prized possessions and tells how each were found. We join Homer on his adventure filled travels and are treated to the journey he takes to find his most prized curiosities.
The whimsical, vintage illustrations from Zack Rock are jam packed with minute details and not one square inch of the page is left uncovered.This is a fabulous read with rich text and illustrations to accompany an imaginative journey with this eccentric bulldog.
Interview with Zack Rock, the creator of Homer Henry Hudson.
PBB: You have such a distinctive and detailed style. How did it emerge and did you take inspiration from anyone?
ZR: Arthur Rackham was my most formative influence, I aped his pen and ink and watercolour style for years before managing to crawl out from under his shadow. Nowadays my inspiration stew has a more realistic flavor: a pinch of Adam Rex, a dash of Roberto Innocenti, two spoonfuls of Olga Dugina and Andrej Dugin. Plus my own special blend of OCD, which makes some of the more involved illustrations less a matter of style, more a cry for help.
PBB: HHH is a fascinating character, when and how did he come to life?
ZR: HHH came to me during a late night walk a few years back. Stopping outside an antique store, I imagined myself wandering in and discovering a snoring bulldog behind the register. I ding the service bell, but instead of a clerk coming to assist me the dog grumbles awake and begins showing me the antiques. I loved that unexpected turn. So I interrogate that idea, trying to understand this dog’s story, how he came to run an antique store.
PBB: Are you a collector yourself and if so, what of?
ZR: Books. No matter how many times I’ve had to haul endless, anvil-heavy boxes of books around when I move, I still manage to acquire more. While I was abroad doing my MA a friend offered to store my collection in his attic, but soon relocated them to the basement after cracks appeared on his ceiling and plaster started drifting down like snowflakes. It’s a problem. It’s a wonderful problem.
PBB: Please tell us there are more adventures planned for Homer. You certainly ended the book perfectly for more curiosity collecting.
ZR: The book is definitely ‘prequelly’, and I’d jump at the chance to pilot another one of Homer’s adventures. But there are so many other books I want to create, it might be a while before I’m able to check in with him again.
PBB: What process do you follow to arrive at your final artwork? It’s incredibly detailed.
ZR: I draw a batch of small, thumbnail sketches to explore the possibilities for the composition. Afterwards I create a 5×10 inch final sketch that has all the detail in it. The 5×10 inch sketch is way smaller than the final painting, since I knew I’d be in danger of adding too many details if I gave myself too much space. That sketch gets transferred to watercolor paper, and then I spend several days painting/kicking myself for making the illustration so complex.
PBB: Illustrators usually have a nemesis, what do you not like drawing?
ZR: I’ve owned cats all my life and have never been able to pin down their grace or exaggerated self-importance with my pencil. Though I have literally pinned my cat with a pencil, but that’s the risk you take when you sleep on the lap of a clumsy artist.
PBB: Can you share what you’re currently working on?
ZR: The same publisher that released Homer Henry Hudson’s Curio Museum is putting out my next book, The Unexpected, in 2016. It’s about a pig who hates his career in accountancy. I don’t expect it to make me popular with accountants.
Huge thanks to Zack for taking the time to answer our questions so thoroughly and we look forward to more travels, exploration and curiosities with Homer.