The Artwork of Arthur Rackham

Arthur Rackham’s art speaks to my inner child who yearns for a world just a little bit stranger, a litter bit wilder, a little bit magical. I only discovered his work last week and developed an intense art-crush immediately. As it turns out, Rackham was one of the leading artists of the “Golden Age of Illustration”, which I had heard of.

Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens

Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens by Arthur Rackham_1

I’m most fond of his illustrations for “Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens”. I had no idea Peter Pan had adventures outside of Neverland; it seems a bit greedy really. Owning a copy of this book with Rackham illustrations has just been added to my wish list. If I ever have a child they will be so spoilt with all of the beautiful books I’ll read them.

Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens by Arthur Rackham_8

Kensington Gardens' magical inhabitants come out after Lock-out Time

Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens by Arthur Rackham_2

Now there arose a mighty storm

Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens by Arthur Rackham_3

Put his case before old Solomon Caw

Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens by Arthur Rackham_5

...they stand quite still pretending to be flowers

Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens by Arthur Rackham_6

The fairies are exquisite dancers

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If the bad ones among the fairies happen to be out

Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens by Arthur Rackham_9

They all tickled him on the shoulder

Other Works

Arthur Rackham Santa Claus

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

Arthur Rackham Fairy

Alice in Wonderland by Arthur Rackham 15 At this the whole pack rose up into the air and came flying down upon her

At this the whole pack rose up into the air and came flying down upon her

Arthur Rackham Rip Van Winkle

His children were as ragged and wild as if they belonged to nobody

Arthur Rackham hanging stars

Hanging Stars

Arthur Rackham pandora

Pandora: A sudden swarm of winged creatures brushed past her

Arthur_Rackham_falling_leaf

There is almost nothing that has such a keen sense of fun as a fallen leaf

Arthur Rackham’s Technique

Rackham invented his own unique technique which resembled photographic reproduction; he would first sketch an outline of his drawing, then lightly block in shapes and details. Afterwards he would add lines in pen and India ink, removing the pencil traces after it had dried. With colour pictures, he would then apply multiple washes of colour until translucent tints were created… (source)

Although digital art really isn’t my thing, concept artist Sean Andrew Murray has created a Photoshop tutorial which takes you through his entire process of creating an Arthur Rackham inspired illustration.

If your hankering for all things Rackham is insatiable, there’s an epic 8-part series on him and his work over at Poul Webb’s blog. Have at it.

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