Airplane fish are a GENRE now.

Twice a year, I offer my books in “Artist Edition” — I create a custom unique sketch in every book, for those that desire it. Patrons of the most recent offering are well familiar with my fixation on “flying fish,” by which I mean strange hybrids of fish and aircraft (or fish and armored vechicles, or insects and aircraft, or land mammals and construction equipment). Here are some examples from this spring’s series of Artist Editions:

I will be honest with you: I have harbored furtive dreams of turning this particular subject into an oeuvre, of creating larger and ever-more-complex tableaux of sea creatures/aircraft, engaged in all sorts of aerial hijinks in glorious, full-painted color. (The sketch at the top of this post was an expression of this urge to refine and develop the theme.)

Well, thanks to diligent reader and frequent correspondent Kevin S., I have learned that apparently someone else had the same ideaRoland Tamayo:

I HEREBY DECLARE TAMAYO MY NEMESIS

…although I should point out that my inspiration, and perhaps Tamayo’s as well, was and is the surrealist vehicular work of Stan Mott:

I believe this more comprehensive collection may be Stan’s official site, but with respect, it’s miserable to navigate. However, if you have a little patience you’ll find the charming “History of Tanks” illustration series there, which I’m sure is why 90% of the sketches I’ve done at conventions in the past year have featured tanks in some fashion (usually attached to African wildlife).

Finally, consider this your official warning that the fall Artist Edition series will become available very soon! Before the moon is full! October is going to be a big month, I’m just brimming with exciting news. ALL IN GOOD TIME.


  • http://www.vaillphoto.com/ Ethan

    I’m thinking some crazy creepy anglerfish helicopter, angelfish ultralights, mantaray stealth bombers, the possibilities are endless and awesome!

  • http://ameblo.jp/bobbyjudo Bobby Judo

    I live in a small town in Japan that features an airplane fish as it’s mascot. It’s a half mudskipper, half airplane named moopy. It looks… mostly like an airplane.

    Check it out:
    http://www.pref.saga.lg.jp/web/var/rev0/0054/5034/s-muppi.jpg

  • Miss Nell

    Yes, but has he created a PIRANHAMOOSE? No? I thought not.

    Carry on.

  • http://lusipurr.com Dissapointed By the Lack of Zeppelins

    There is a conspicuous absence here of fish-dirigibles.

  • http://newlinks.blogspot.com *Disappointed

    Moar blimp!

  • trj

    See also Keith Thompson’s illustrations for Scott Westerfield’s Leviathan: flying whale battleship!

  • Corey

    Puffer-fish blimp! Sea squab of the sky!

  • http://www.oncetherewerelions.wordpress.com Scott

    I’d like to put in a request for the Evolution Works Turtlecopter as a t-shirt. Can we get that up at TopatoCo? I’d also like to see a fish-dirigible, but who wouldn’t, really?

  • http://lusipurr.com Dissapointed By the Lack of Zeppelins

    Clearly, the people have spoken: more zeppelins are needed.

  • CF

    Trj beat me to it, but definitely pick up a copy of Westerfeld’s Leviathan. (And the sequel, Behemoth, which I believe is out and regrettably have not read yet.)

    Evolutionary steampunk! Featuring whale airships! And jellyfish hot air balloons!

  • http://www.rocketbride.net rocketbride

    about a year ago, my boyfriend and i wandered into an art opening by tessar lo. his work is dream-like, very beautiful, and we came back twice throughout the night to see it again. our favourite was a big canvas featuring a shark and a plane colliding, with a small boy watching. gorgeous.

    http://www.the-contact-network.com/otheregg/rocketblog/uploaded_images/nostalgic-737901.jpg