Illustration for the Bath Bicentenary edition of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, published by Palazzo editions, 2011.
Ink on Fabriano Artistico hot pressed watercolour paper.
Yesterday was the birthday of Arthur Rackham (19 September 1867 – 6 September 1939), one of the foremost illustrators of the Golden Age and one of my artistic heroes and influences (though I can scarcely imagine an illustrator for whom he wasn’t so in some way). I wanted to share something of his in celebration sooner but was nursing a severe headache.
I could no more choose an ultimate favourite illustration by him than I can — I don’t know — give up drawing, I suppose. But here is a favourite, at any rate.
Arthur Rackham, The Dance in Cupid’s Alley, 1904.
I had initially made a very short trial video of me inking in part of the troll. This is a much longer and hopefully better follow-up in which I ink the troll’s head. You can also get a measure of how slowly I work from this. I’m afraid I didn’t quite manage to finish the entire head for the video, but I hope for better pacing and editing in the next one, if and when I manage it.
I have also learned that the video is blocked in some countries by EMI due to the music I used (Satie’s Gymnopodies 1, 2 and 3, performed by Aldo Ciccolini, for those interested), so here is the silent version if you are unable to view the above.
A few readers already familiar with the palaeontological aspect of my work may recall this illustration of a Citipati which I did about two years ago.
Back in January this year, I was contacted by a writer from the German television broadcaster, WDR, requesting permission to use this illustration for their science documentary strand, Quarks & Co. The programme in question, I was informed, concerns the palaeontologist Jack Horner’s proposal to create a ‘chicken dinosaur’.
I wasn’t sure whether or not the use was going ahead and soon forgot about it altogether. It transpired that it did indeed take place and that the programme itself had actually aired in late February and early March. The short animated sequence in which the illustration appeared can be seen here.
Thankfully the image still reads well even though it has been flipped for the purpose. They also referred to it as an Oviraptor, rather than Citipati — but oh, well. The pleasantest surprise is that they even constructed a skeleton to match.
As a side note, I would of course have given it feathered fingers and a much thicker tail base were I drawing this now, and would also have resolutely avoided the running posture.
Brown ink and gouache on recycled paper, 111 x 162mm.
The palaeontologically informed among the readers won’t need any explanation, but this silliness was prompted by the recent re-surfacing of the ‘Triceratops didn’t exist’ issue. Triceratops isn’t going anywhere.