Illustration: Roger Ebert’s “The Molecules of Titan”

Before he died, Roger began writing “The Molecules of Titan”, a story about space exploration set in part at his beloved University of Illinois. He never got a chance to finish it. In the spirit of Roger’s belief in crowd participation, is holding a contest to help complete the story.

I was offered the job of illustrating the story, which I readily and happily accepted, but I had just a day to work on it. I ended up with the two illustrations below.

The first is a fictional “Amazing Stories” cover, inspired by a line in Roger’s story and the kind of covers pulp magazines had in the late 20’s and early 30’s. The second illustration is one that attempts to capture the sense of wonder, mystery and simplicity associated with the story. In addition to Roger’s story, I kept in mind movies like “Close Encounters” and “Contact.”

To see 36 illustrations that I later worked on for “The Molecules of Titan,” check out this gallery.

3 thoughts on “Illustration: Roger Ebert’s “The Molecules of Titan””

  1. Two very different interpretations. Which one do you think Roger would have selected? Which one do you prefer? I think they are both good, but lean more towards the retro one for its dramatic impact–on many levels. Fun to see!

    1. The two illustrations are very different because one captures the main story while the other captures the story in the story.

      I think Roger would’ve liked the retro one as well. He enjoyed that sort of thing!

      As for me… I dunno. I spent a LOT more time on the Amazing Stories cover. In fact, the black-and-white one is among the most rushed illustrations I’ve ever done.

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