The Masque of the Red Death - book cover artwork by Illustrator Duncan Long.

As most clients know, I don’t get much work done over the weekend unless we’re really pushing a deadline.

That’s not to say I don’t spend most of my free time creating illustrations. It’s rather to say that I’m creating illustrations to please myself rather than for profit. Yes, sometimes (often in fact) these pictures become money makers. But initially it’s a matter of personal enjoyment rather than creation with an eye toward the cash register.

With Christmas coming up, I decided to work on another Edgar Allan Poe story to illustrate and put together as a mini-ebook (in PDF format). Perhaps a Poe story seems like an odd choice for Christmas, but in fact it’s much in keeping with English tradition that often had family members telling ghost stories around the fireplace on Christmas. An arguably odd tradition, however one that brought us Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, a small treasure and arguably one of the author’s better works (and one that captures his thoughts about the need for generosity and care of the poor to temper capitalism).

So, that said, I’ve spent much of the weekend shuffling through typefaces, considering stories, and sketching pictures (as well as pressing old pictures into service). The result — not quite finished — is a good start on Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death.

Above is the current version of the cover. Hopefully the entire book will be ready for downloading before Christmas. The cover illustration is an earlier “for fun” picture, that has been labeled off and on as “The Red Death” so it fits right into the somewhat grand scheme of things with this project.

When not telling ghost stories to get into the Christmas mood, Duncan Long works as a freelance magazine and book illustrator for HarperCollins, PS Publishing, Pocket Books, Ilex, Solomon Press, Moonstone Books, Fort Ross, ISFiC Press, and many other publishers and self-publishing authors. See his book illustrations at: