Five Artists Who Inspire Me Part 2: Edward Gorey

Second in this series of Five Artists Who Inspire Me is this 20th Century Artist and Illustrator, Edward Gorey.

I first came across his wonderfully macabre work  when I was a kid. He was fond of anagrams and was known by several other names. 

Garrod Weedy anyone? Or how about "Ydora Wredge"?

My cousin had his book "The Shrinking of Treehorn", where the illustrations and story were so bizarre to us, we used to giggle about it together. Even then, his style stood out to me from other children's books I read but, alas, over the years I forgot all about him...

Little did I know that over 20 years later, I would stumble across his illustrations again. Recognising that same style, I set about finding out more about him, and recreating one of his pieces in my sketchbook.

Ed Gorey is often thought as being English due to the Edwardian style clothing he dressed his characters in. However, he was actually born in Chicago in 1925 and only left the US once to visit the Hebrides in Scotland.

He's often thought as a children's illustrator, but he really wasn't fond of them at all. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in his dark humour book "The Gashlycrumb Tinies" - an alphabet journey into the demise of 26 unfortunate youths!

Gashlycrumb Tinies

Instead, Gorey preferred the company of his cats and remained a dedicated advocate of animal welfare supporter until his death in 2000. He left his estate to The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust, which continues to support various animal organisations. If you're anywhere near Yarmouth, Massachusetts, you can visit his house which has now been turned into a museum, and holds his astonishing collection of 25,000 books.
Aside from his sense of the macabre, I love Gorey's markmaking, and stylisation of characters with long craned necks, and vintage clothing. While his illustration can come across as rather simplistic, he captures a wonderful sense of atmosphere in this work, with great storytelling and intelligent use of black and white with minimal values.

You can listen to the entire Gashlycrumb Tinies in the video below. Dark stuff :)

What do you think of Ed Gorey? Are there any other ink artists whose work you enjoy? Let me know in the comments!

Stay tuned for Artist No. 3 coming up soon.

Lou x


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