I love, Arthur Rackham’s art.
I am not learning EVERY art technique in the basic drawing class, but I am learning quite a bit and my draw skills are improving. What has this to do with, Arthur Rackham? Nothing. Nothing at all. I just happen to think that, Rackham is an illustration master. I look at some of the art in today’s children’s books and I cringe. My generation were truly given a gift of fine art in the illustrations of the fairy tales we read.
Arthur Rackham’s style was to draw the illustration first in light graphite, then ink it erasing the graphite lines. He would then apply several layers of watercolor tint, and finally do another layer of ink to make sure the lines showed up in the limited three color printing available at that time. His work is distinctive. It is emotional. Every illustration is a masterpiece.
Although beautiful, for some reason many of his illustrations were absolutely terrifying to me as a child.
They were not the bright colored images we see in children’s books today. Alice in wonderland is a nightmare. The illustrations, Arthur Rackham produced for the book seem more in alignment with the darker themes intended by the author.
Sometimes, kids like to be scared. It challenges them to rise above their fear. I remember when my nephew as about 2 or so and we watched Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. You and I think, ‘cute puppets’. Kids think, ‘freaking scary bumble monster!’. Opening up a book that is supposed to be geared for kids and seeing dark illustrations is like expecting a cute puppet movie and forgetting there is a scary bumble monster to be encountered. You don’t even need to read every word of the Alice in wonderland story to know ‘it ain’t right!’. Rackham’s illustrations take Alice in Wonderland from a weird fairy tale into ‘psychological thriller’ territory.
I keep waiting for the sun to shine.
But like, Alice stuck in Wonderland’s madness… it never seems to find its way out.
Wonderfully weird and terrifying. Is it not just delicious?