We are very proud to present the cover for the first volume of the Seven Deadly Sins YA Anthology: Pride, accompanied by the first part of our interview with Luke Spooner, a.k.a. Carrion House.
Luke Spooner, a.k.a. ‘Carrion House’ and ‘Hoodwink House,’ currently lives and works in the South of England. Having graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a first class degree he is now a full-time illustrator and writer for just about any project that piques his interest. Despite regular forays into children’s books and fairy tales, for which he has won awards for literary and artistic merit, his true love is anything macabre, melancholy or dark in nature and essence. He believes that the job of putting someone else’s words into a visual form, to accompany and support their text, is a massive responsibility as well as being something he truly treasures.
Interview with Luke Spooner
How did you come up with the central idea for the cover? What did you think of when you heard of the theme for the Anthology?
I really like the symbolism that surrounds the ideas of ‘the sins.’ It’s something that all humans can relate to, probably because we are nearly always somewhere on that spectrum at any given moment. There’s a very primal quality to the understanding of this particular set of emotions and thought patterns. Irrespective of language or culture, they seem to be universally recognised, and the opportunity to cobble that into some sort of visual interpretation is something that is both massive and rare.
Out of all the deadly sins, which one do you think you’re the most susceptible to?
I don’t really see myself in any of their respective symptoms except ‘envy.’ As an artist you’re automatically quite bespoke and alone in what you do, but to do it professionally and as a freelancer you are by the nature of what you do: incredibly isolated. This would be fine if I could switch off from the world completely. I can honestly see the attraction in secluding myself with my work for whole weeks at a time. But the modern age we live in has social networking and I am incredibly dependant on it as a marketing and publicity tool.
Being such a necessity for what I do, it also means that at times rest of the world can slip in without me realising. Quite often, a simple posting of a recent piece of cover art to Facebook has the added side effect of hearing about people I went to school with having kids, buying real houses with real money, committing themselves to partners that they’ve had for years – an endless list of social media cliché complaints really. But despite my own conviction of being a stand-alone individual pursuing a unique and creatively driven career that doesn’t exactly fit with the status quo, I still find myself comparing myself to these people. I wonder if perhaps I’m doing life wrong, if maybe one day I’ll suddenly realise I’m old and have gotten nowhere with my ‘colouring in,’ while those people who I started out at the same height are able to reflect on a life that all would agree has been full and proper in every conventional sense.
That notion could be viewed as ‘envy,’ and although I wouldn’t change anything about myself or the profession I’m pursuing, I do find myself very jealous of those people that are so sure of everything they do. Those people have job security and absolutely no scruples about floating through life in the most conventional way possible.
Did you read as a teenager and if so what did you enjoy most reading? Why?
I’ve always read a lot, from infancy onwards. I actually read ‘The Hobbit’ when I was eight years old and have been actively seeking out books as a source of knowledge, creativity and escapism ever since. During my teenage years I read a lot of horror, science fiction and fantasy, plus books on myths and legends. Thanks to people like my grandparents, I also read a lot of crime and mystery, both contemporary and classic. When I was eleven years old my youngest brother was born so during my teenage years I had the opportunity to revisit all of my old children’s favourites, this time with the advantage of hindsight. I took great pleasure in noticing subtle little messages and meanings that hadn’t meant anything the previous times I read them.
In my later teenage years I actively sought out the classics of horror and fantasy. I went after Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’, Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’, then the ‘Invisible Man’, ‘Dorian Gray,’ ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ all peppered with Edgar Allen Poe works for good measure. I also got heavily into graphic novels.
The common thread in everything I seemed to seek out on my accord, regardless of age or format, seemed to be horror, primarily for the honesty it implores from those writing it. I respect nothing more in this world than straight up honesty. As a person that effectively gives physical form to other people’s stories and fabricates for a living, I can assure you that being honest is a lot more difficult than lying. Through darker subject matter, you get to explore the truly dark recesses of other people’s minds and often reveal things about yourself that you may not have realised were present in your character, your beliefs or even just your way of perceiving the world.
What advice would you give someone with a love for drawing/design who is maybe just starting out as teenager to experiment with it?
I’d simply be: be very conscious of yourself as an artist. There is absolutely no reward in trying to imitate others or try to be something you’re not. Learn to accept who you are and what it is that you do. Aim to forward that and explore it in any way possible while keeping your own artistic growth a priority. You’ll be able to survive a lot of things, purely because everything will be put into scale according to your desire to be creative and express yourself.
The second part of our interview with Luke is coming soon.
The first Volume of the Seven Deadly Sins YA Anthology is scheduled for release on April 1, 2015 as an ebook and a paperback. Join the release party on Facebook.