There should be absolutely zero surprise at my listing of Edward Gorey as one of my inspirations. I’ve heard it a million times, and no, I ain’t scared. I adore Edward Gorey.
But I really can’t pay tribute to Mr. Gorey without mentioning John Bellairs.
You see, I was a fan of Edward Gorey long before I really knew it. When I was about ten years old, I ravenously read the supernatural thriller novels of author John Bellairs. And truth be told, I was initially drawn to them because of their illustrated covers – some of his best novels were illustrated by Edward Gorey:
Guuuhhhh!! Such a good combination! Gorey’s illustrations perfectly matched the creepy thriller stories of John Bellairs. I loved them.
It wasn’t until years later that I rediscovered Gorey and made the connection to my old reads. I don’t know how I could’ve avoided it. Like Stephen Gammell, his work was embedded deep in my subconscious.
You may read more about Gorey here – he was a very interesting character, of course.
His books, which are a delicious combination of maudlin, Victorian, dark, sinfully playful & ominous, have certainly had a large influence on my work.
Long before I entered art school, I often found myself studying the styles of my favorite artists, including Gorey. There is no better way to learn the style of another artist than by copying their work.
Keep these drawings in your sketchbook, and avoid the blatant rip-offs in your own work. Instead, use what you learn to enhance your own style. These sketches have traveled their way through various school projects, but I have since parted ways with these drawings to embrace my heavy ink lines, gray washes, and saucer pan eyes – just the way I like them.