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.

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

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Now there arose a mighty storm

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Put his case before old Solomon Caw

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...they stand quite still pretending to be flowers

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The fairies are exquisite dancers

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If the bad ones among the fairies happen to be out

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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


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.

House on the Rock & The World’s Largest Carrousel

The “House on the Rock” in Wisconsin is what I imagine might have happened to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory if Willy didn’t have the constructive pursuit of making candy to distract him from the dark depths of his deranged mind. We spent a month in the United States in June this year and the House on the Rock was probably The highlight outside of spending time with precious people. I’m actually at a bit of a loss to describe what it is exactly. It’s not a mere museum. It’s an unhinged mind made corporeal. It’s the end result of the lifelong obsession of a well-financed hoarder to gather the world’s miscellany throughout time and space in one place. And so much more.

House on the Rock Steampunk Gun

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House on the Rock Porcelain Doll Carrousel

House on the Rock is home to the world’s largest carrousel. (The photo above is of a smaller carrousel of creepy porcelain dolls, right beside which is the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse). The carrousel’s other feature of note is that there is not one horse amongst the carrousel animals. Apparently when Alex Jordan finished the world’s largest carrousel-of-horror, he noted the complete lack of horses, and liked it that way; so he hung all of the superfluous horses on the walls instead.

House on the Rock Carrousel Horses

It’s impossible to do justice to House on the Rock with photos alone because of its huge collection of room-sized assemblages of animated, automated music machines, mechanical puppetry, and ye olde novelty carnival games. This video does it justice more than any of the others I’ve seen on You Tube (it gets to the good stuff after the first 35 seconds):

I very much want to thank our friends Tara and Tyler, for impressing upon us the worthiness of visiting this marvellous monstrosity, and Keith and Sarah, for putting us up in their home and taking us to House on the Rock.

In conclusion, if you ever feel like glutting yourself on the unhinged and deranged, I can’t recommend House on the Rock, Wisconsin enough.

Colour Inspiration

I basically froth at the mouth with giddy delight when it comes to colour selection and colour mixing. An especially exciting moment for me is when I select the inspiration for my next colour scheme from my immense store of images. I imagine it’s a bit like the excited anticipation of finding out the sex of your baby, but more-so because there are only two (maybe three) possibilities in that scenario, which is totally lame compared to the vast array of colours and combinations therein. Continue reading