Time's Face - a book illustration by graphic artist Duncan Long

The mind often tries to see faces where none are: The man in the moon being a prime example. I can remember as a child walking homeward on a crisp autumn evening and being asked by my mom if I could see a face in the rising full moon.

I sure could after that question. There he was, smiling, looking down on me with a silver glow.

Oddly, somewhere during the transition from youth to adult, the face on the moon vanished from my sight, leaving a dead satellite of mountains and dry seas. This loss brings no comfort in “knowing better.” In this case, it is the loss of a comforting friend. Such are the losses in becoming an adult with blindly correct vision.

At least one animated version of Alice in Wonderland sports a door latch that becomes a face (the knob being the nose, the two screws above the knob the eyes, and the key hole a pert little mouth). I recently heard of children spooked when they “saw” faces in the new wallpaper in their grandparents’ house.

Seeing things that aren’t there is arguably the normal state of affairs rather than a sign of insanity.

So surely a “clock face” should at least have an eye (hey, most already have hands, right? — groan, groan). Thus the inspiration of this picture. I know it’s not an original idea, but hopefully the execution is.

The numeral patterns came from an antique clock my parents gave me a few Christmases ago. Perhaps they’ve brought me full circle from the Man in the Moon to the eye in the clock.

I did the original picture in color, but after creating a B&W version as one of the illustrations for Richard Thieme’s Mind Games, I decided I liked the color-free look better.


Duncan Long is a freelance book illustrator. His book cover artwork has appeared on titles from HarperCollins, PS Publishing, Pocket Books, Solomon Press, Paladin Press, and many other publishers and self-publishing authors. See more of his work at: http://DuncanLong.com/art.html