It was with great sadness that I read yesterday about the passing of one of the great makers and steampunks, Richard "Doc" Nagy, known as the Datamancer.
His creations were some of the most inspiring and beautiful artifacts produced in the name of retrofuturism, useful and elegant pieces that would last a lifetime. His attitude towards making totally encapsulates everything I want to celebrate and commemorate with my project, Steam in the Willows.
Although the only character in my book with a physical likeness drawn from the steampunk community is Badger (based on Jake von Slatt), Mole was always in my mind something like Doc. A tinkerer and experimental builder, I saw his home filled with strange and wonderful brass and wood creations, his hands always busily working on the next project.
I began working on an illustration shortly after I read the news of his passing. It's from the first chapter of the book, the very first paragraph, when Mole throws down his whitewash brush and scrambles out of his cosy home and into a new world.
I'd like to dedicate it to Doc's memory. I'm sorry I was never able to meet him, and I mourn for the great loss so many must be feeling, but I know the legacy of his works and enthusiasm will continue to inspire makers for many years to come.
Watercolour and digital, 2013.