Their writing-illustrating partnership has already out-lasted many long-term marriages.
But Benalto artist David More and Leacock-Award winning humourist Eric Nicol are giving it another go, with Nicol’s latest book, Script Tease, a Wordsmith’s Waxing on Life and Writing again featuring More’s irreverent drawings.
More admitted he’s somewhat concerned about the future of such joint-projects, since Nicol is now a 90-year-old who lives in a care facility in Vancouver.
But while some of his abilities might be waning, Nicol’s writing is still as sharp and witty as ever, said More, who’s been illustrating the former Vancouver Province columnist’s books since publisher Mel Hurtig put them together in 1977.
The two previously partnered on six books, including the highly successful satire The Joy of Hockey, and writings about golf, football and tennis. One of their popular ventures was The U.S. or Us, What’s the Difference, Eh?
Script Tease leaves the sports field and politics to concentrate on short stories from all areas of Nicol’s life.
More said one of the more humourous tales centres on Nicol’s request to have one-way mirrored glass installed in his bathroom window. It turned out the installers placed it backwards, so Nicol couldn’t look out, but the whole neighbourhood could look in.
The cover illustration was done at Nicol’s request. “When I asked Eric how he wanted to be portrayed . . . he said, ‘Sitting on a stool, with a sheaf of papers in my hands, wearing a bowler hat, in the nude.”
The bowler hat was later revised to a red toque and scarf after Nicol realized he didn’t own a bowler.
What More most enjoys about Nicol is “he’s fantastically easy to work with.”
After collaborating on so many book projects, More asked the august writer why he keeps using his drawings when there are so many illustrators to choose from. “He said, ‘David, I think we make a good team’ . . . It brought tears to my eyes,” More admitted.
The artist will sign copies of the $19.95 book on Saturday (June 5) from 1-4 p.m. at the Chapters in Red Deer.
Anyone interested in having a closer look at how he does the drawings can survey More’s metre-high original cover image, which was shrunk down considerably for the book published by Dundurn Press.