A happy Halloween doodle just for you! Whether you’re sitting home downing fun-size candy watching spooky movies or if you are out getting your spook on, I hope you have a great Halloween. To those witchy friends, have a beautiful Samhain. Now, lets get Gorey and honor a great artist and author!
The Edward Gorey exhibit runs through Oct 31 at the Orlando Museum of Art and it’s fantastic. I went on a mini-road trip with the Crafty Hag and her guy on Sunday and we all agree seeing his work in person was really an amazing experience. They had original sketches, loads of pen and ink pages from many different books, some of his dolls, pop-ups…you name it. (Well, everything except his saucy, naughty limericks – that side of him was left out entirely) They had the actual little books available to read right alongside the illustrations so you could take a few minutes to read the book the work came out of. I’ve read lots of his little books and read a lot about Gorey himself, but this was the first time I saw any of it in person. His work is detailed beyond comprehension…so many teeny tiny ink marks!
If you don’t know who Edward Gorey is, you really need to go to a library or bookstore and find out. He is easily the greatest inspiration behind GingerDead and loads of other spooky artists’ work. Gorey used saucy and macabre limericks alongside dark illustrations. When I started using haiku I didn’t make the connection, but soon realized that I was following in his footsteps in a small way. If you look at my stuff and think Tim Burton, I suggest you look at Tim Burton’s work and think Edward Gorey. All of us in this spooky, charming genre owe Mr. Gorey’s spirit a nod. It makes me sad when people don’t know who he was…especially people who love dark art or literature.
Okay, I know I’ve linked to his stuff before but it’s been a couple years I think so I’ll refresh you. The most well-known book is his Gashleycrumb Tinies which is one of his alphabet books. Each letter is a different child’s name and the page illustrates and explains how each child meets an untimely demise. Neville dies of ennui. When I renamed my character, I chose the word Ennui not only because it’s a name I associated with myself before in Second Life, but because it was a homage to Gorey and I hoped a wink to Gorey fans.
Here’s a few example pages of the Gashleycrumb Tinies book –
One of my favorite stories is The Doubtful Guest starring a strange creature that simply wont go away. He causes some havoc and is a bit of a weirdo. Our friend pointed out that this character seems very much like it was inspired by a cat. I have to agree the behavior is a lot like living with a crazy cat. The character design always reminded me a bit of a plague doctor though. See what you think:
Edward Gorey also did amazing work in theater like costume and set design. Dracula probably being the most well known (and most bad-ass in my opinion). Here’s Mr. Gorey in front of the set from an old newspaper clipping:
I love this illustration from his Dracula works. You’ll notice the hedges are trimmed into a strange topiary design. I’ve seen this before but didn’t realize it was something he did an awful lot. These animal shaped topiaries appear in many of his books. I wonder if Tim Burton was inspired by them because they sure reminded me of Edward Scissorhands. I found out from my friend that nearby Gorey’s home in New England she saw a place that has been around since the 1920s that had these animal hedges for sale or on display or something. We can only assume that is why they came up in his illustrations so much. I love little tidbits like that.
Okay, that’s enough to pique your interest I hope. Please check out a few Gorey books from your library or bookstore and pass his work on to your friends. He only passed away 10 years ago. I sure hope his work lives on beyond his wildest dreams.
See you next week!