In response to some personal projects he’s set himself in the past, present and future. Illustrator and story teller Simon Hendley answered 5 of my questions.
Why is writing your own story so important to your project?
‘It’s a sense of freedom you don’t get within the real ongoings of the world today. Any world outside of this one can be exciting, fantastic and all together a wondrous adventure. The prospect of delving into one of my stories, is a way into the unknowable. How does one come to know the unknowable? They venture there.’
Why did you select the method of constructing your book. Printing, binding etc.?
‘My preferred method of book making can vary. Whether it be hand binded or professionally printed however, each will undoubtedly follow a similar theme when it comes to colour, and “feel”. My stories tell of worlds of curious creatures we were told of as kids, wars between Dragons and Men and all things fantastical. Therefore, old parchment colours always provide the richness of fictional history.’
What sort of materials, binding and printing methods can we expect from any future books?
‘I’m absolutely and unequivocally a traditionalist. There are so many out there bent and intent on leaving antiquity behind. I will certainly be looking to replicate and carry on the traditions of bookbinding. Yet, where it’s not possible or more plausible to assume alternative methods, I won’t be averted to them. So long as I carry on the correct colour schemes to provide the book with the right appearance.’
Your books vary from handmade editions to professionally printed, what are the benefits from the ‘old’ and ‘new’?
‘New workings certainly make for convenience and a faster method of production, and invariably, this is something which benefits all storytellers (and their publishers). However, the benefits of old methods speak for themselves. You only have to pick up a handcrafted book to realise its beauty.’
What are the crucial ingredients to a Simon Hendley book?
‘Coffee, cigarettes and Damien Rice. No but in honesty, it’s important to go out for walks, go for a break, take the dog out or read a book or listen to the radio. All and everything around you can be inspiration. Everyone hears and sees, but the trick is to know how to listen and observe… something I’m still very much in the process of learning.’