I recently stumbled across the most mesmerizing graphic novel at Monster Art and Clothing in Ballard. It’s called Capacity by Theo Ellsworth.
What immediately grabbed me were his uber-detailed, surreal illustrations of fantastic creatures and impossible architecture, reminiscent of art by Moebius, but with a much looser, doodle-like quality. As a constant doodler myself, simple line-art illustrations that evolve by relinquishing the direction of the pen to the subconscious mind are right up my alley.
Self Portrait by Theo Ellsworth
Upon reading, I felt like Bastian discovering the The Never Ending Story. The sprawling imaginative dreamworld that Theo attempts to document, and the way in which he engages the reader to participate in that exploration, is truly unique and inspiring. The summary text on the back cover nicely captures the amorphous nature of this book in words:
Intricate, even exquisite – but never immaculate, Theo Ellsworthâ€™s Capacity is a mind turned inside out. Ellsworthâ€™s careful line gives shape to profound and profoundly silly thoughts alike, bringing a visionary, startling new life to the doubts and hopes that are so familiar to everyone.
Fans of visionary/psychedelic art, the creative process, imaginative creatures, dream worlds, and unique stories should do what they can to buy this book. It has easily became one of my favorite graphic novels in my collection.