Autun Purser - Design and Illustration

This is the website for my various design activities. Although I have a reasonably diverse portfolio of design work completed, I am probably best known for my 'Fantastic Travel Destinations' series of posters advertising travel to locations from fiction... Right now I am putting together a 'play by email' game where players explore a Stanislaw Lem-type alien planet - SEED PODS (see below or click the link) one turn per day. This was supposed to be a fun thing for this COVID-19 period, but actually, has become all encompassing.

 

For my other work, please visit the 'Projects' section.

4th Sept 2020 - Quarantine then the Sea

Hi all!  I am typing this from a special quarantine approved hotel in north Germany, waiting for a COVID test tomorrow morning. If I and my colleagues get the all clear we will join this ship next week and head to the ice edge near Svalbard for a month of deep sea imaging, mapping and water sampling. We thank the DFG and Briese for all their work in getting this expedition off the ground during this pandemic.

I will have email (see image above), but responses will be erratic. The ship is named after an illustrator who was not shy of throwing down a bold colour, so perhaps I will copy her style for some deep sea postcards....

 

..And then, back to 'Seed Pods'....

20th August 2020 - 'Doors of Eden' published!

The last few years has seen the author Adrian Tchaikovsky add to his plethora of fantasy novels with a number of well received Science Fiction novels. With 'Children of Time' he won the 2016 Arthur C. Clarke award with a tale featuring super-evolved spiders, and today his new novel is published 'The Doors of Eden'...

 

To mark the release I have produced some illustrations based on the 'interlude' sections within this sizable and zesty book. I do not want to give too much away, but each deals with how Earth may have ended up if things had been a little different.Making these illustrations was a real pleasure as Adrian has hypothesized some very different situations and civilizations in this bumper book.
 
..Over the next days I will trickle-feed these illustrations to you!

 

--Here below are the first few...

 

 
Order the book from the usual places, or find the signed hardback editions at Forbidden Planet bundled with a postcard from this series...

Great reviews flood the internet, from the serious Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/aug/14/the-best-recent-science-fiction-fantasy-and-horror-review-roundup) , within the scientific popular press (https://www.newscientist.com/article/2235357-the-doors-of-eden-review-a-gripping-alternative-biology-tech-thriller/), and even from real people...(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48643567-the-doors-of-eden)

 

The book is also available as an audiobook, so you could spend the 18 hrs play time looking through my illustrations as the prose unfolds around you?

 

Go buy it!

14th August 2020 - Cruise preparations

As some of you know, for my 'real work' I am a deep sea ecologist. I have the great opportunity to lead a deep sea Arctic expedition with this ship, the RV Maria S. Merian in September and October 2020. Like every activity on Earth, COVID-19 has thrown a spanner in the works and many people have worked hard to get us into the ice, for which I and all the other participants are grateful. This has delayed the launch of my 'Seed Pods' play by email game project, but will allow me to work on it when equipment is broken or we are stuck in the ice....!

 

I will also miss the virtual Eurocon - Futuricon 2020 - a real shame, but i will contribute to the program with some more, as yet unseen, deep sea video footage...

CURRENT PROJECT - Seed Pods game

Greetings to all. Like everybody, I am in a mix of quarantine, social distancing, lockdown and stress. During this time I have designed a graphical text adventure for play over email - one turn per day - the perfect pace of play for this quarantine situation.... Read a bit about the game my clicking HERE or on the image above. Basically, players get to enjoy a Stanislaw Lem-type universe from the inside, and all the confusions and misunderstandings that will bring them.... how could that NOT BE FUN!!!!

I am going for a 'Gemini' period aesthetic for this game, though the plot and situations is much more Lem-mian...

14th January 2020 - New Postcards available for pre-order

My new postcard range from this cruise is available to view and purchase HERE.

3rd November 2019 - 'Bait' movie

Following a long period at sea, it is always a treat to catch up with whatever obtuse bits of zeitgeisty culture I may have missed. 

 

Whilst sitting in the bath last week devouring the 'Sight and Sound' magazines published during my recent cruises to the high Arctic, I was intrigued by the reviews and mentions of the new film 'Bait' by Mark Jenkin. A drama set in a Cornish village (near one I actually grew up in myself), the film deals with various characters attempting to make a life and living in the 21st century countryside, where permanent community structure and physical, landscape based earning options are giving way to twee airbnb weekend retreaters and tourist pap. The premise was enough to hook me, given the amount of time i have mulled over Cornish art colonies, books like 'Akenfield', 'The Worm Forgives the Plough', early passages within 'Mythago Wood' and 'The Stone Book Quartet'. On top of that, 'Bait' was filmed with a suitably rigid aesthetic I found hugely appealing; Mark Jenkin as key creative force taking charge of the 1976 16mm cameras, one lens, home developing the filmstock, making the music etc. HERE the creative process is briefly described. Amazingly the film combines strong narrative with beautiful shots and a firm integrity of vision. Like the recent 'Rusty Brown' graphic novel volume by Chris Ware, it is heartening that some solo creative forces manage to make a living, and headway, in our current, fairly desperate creative climate.

 

By luck, 'Bait' was playing at the 'Kino in Künsterhaus' in Hannover, the evening after i read about the film. The quick train journey was certainly worth taking for this splendidly individual film. Please go see it and support it. DVD / Blu-ray comes out on Jan 20th 2020 if you cannot get to an appropriate cinema - order it HERE.

29th October 2019 - Sentimental agents...

I am taking a few days off work after my recent cruises. I decided to finally give The 'Canopus in Argos' series of books by Doris Lessing a decent chance. I find much of her non-scifi fiction suitably unusual, and have several ideas for using her short stories in my 'Fantastic Travel Destinations' range of illustrations.The 5 books in the Argos series are curiously presented in most editions - these typographic covers, with the multicoloured serif and sans-serif text separated by simple lines have always mildly intrigued me. How else could the publishers present these odd books?

21st October 2019 - Back from the High Arctic...

I got back from almost three continuous months at sea, on PS121 (RV POLARSTERN) and HK19 (RV KRONPRINS HAKKON) to the Arctic. I would like to thank the participants and crews of these two cruises for their help and humour during fairly tough conditions. I have produced a number of illustrations from these cruises, which can be inspected HERE (PS121) and HERE (HK19).

31st July 2019 - Large cruise paintings

From illustrations I produced on a recent research cruise to Antarctica, I am midway through the production of large acrylic paintings... see above, for wall mounted, and below, for a sense of scale...

Weddell Sea and Powell Basin sketches

I just returned from the Weddell Sea / Powell Basin in Antarctica, where I operated the deep sea camera systems for the research vessel, FS POLARSTERN. As well as operating these, I took the opportunity to make a number of sketches of these frozen and icelocked ecosystems. Some of these sketches I have worked up into the illustrations above... At some point these will be made available as sets of postcards.