Let’s start with G for Gorey

(c) Michael Romanos

Since this is a blog about illustrators, I decided to begin it with my favorite: Edward Gorey. I still have to add some items to my About Me, Illustrator Names and Dates and Glossary sections. Stay with me as this blog develops. 

Gorey (1925-2000) was primarily a self taught writer and artist who mainly worked in pen and ink. Occasionally he would add watercolors to his drawings, but pen and ink drawings without color make up the bulk of his work.

During his lifetime he created more than one hundred books of his own; many of which are written and drawn in a way that seamlessly incorporates his unique (and somewhat dark) sense of humor with his endlessly crosshatched drawings of people and places – all of which seem to have existed from 80 to 130 years ago.

(c) Edward Gorey Charitable Trust

Many people have commented on the relationship between his last name and the “macabre” aspect of his work. I actually don’t prefer to think of him as macabre. Friends and colleagues continuously describe him as quite a fun loving and generous individual. He was, however, a voracious reader, an aesthete of sorts and an artist influenced by everything from surrealism (he loved Max Ernst) to silent films, Japanese literature and pop culture. All of these inform his work in some way or other.

(c) Edward Gorey Charitable Trust

Gorey is most well known for two things: First, The Gashlycrumb Tinies, an alphabetically arranged cautionary tale in which 26 children from Amy to Zillah meet their deaths under a variety of circumstances.

Second, Gorey is fondly remembered by many as being the mastermind behind the set and wardrobe design for the Broadway version of Dracula in the late 1970s. His love of theatre and his innate artistic flair earned him a Tony award for Costume Design.

Now, it’s possible to go on endlessly about Edward Gorey. I recently returned from a 6- week long “internship” at the Edward Gorey House museum in Cape Cod. There I had the rare privilege of being allowed to live at the house while attending to a number of projects such as scanning Edward’s original drawings and coordinating Fantastagorey!, an annual children’s event at the House. For the purposes of this blog, which I’m completing as part of a class, I’ll keep to some very general information about each illustrator. After this class is over, I will most likely continue the blog with more detailed info. Enjoy!


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