Mervyn Peake's illustration from Grimm's Household Tales, 1946, is another fine example of how he created silvery tones with rich and varied textures. He again saves longer unbroken lines to add emphasis in key spots within the drawing. In the tale being illustrated, The Nose-Tree, the absurdly long, winding nose is the important storytelling element in the art.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Mervyn Peake 1911-1968
My first introduction to Mervyn Peake was through this 1979 paperback reprint of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. Well executed pen and ink drawings have always been a great joy for me to look at. I have the impression that Peake must have been a painter before he was a pen and ink artist. He uses line to create tone. His shapes have a painterly soft edge. He separates shapes through a contrast in value, generally not with a solid outline. Even the line, on the illustration of Long John Silver's face, is not solid -- it is a broken line. A few of his edges do have longer lines. On the crutch, the use of a long, straight line seems to help emphasise the hard texture of the crutch in contrast to soft clothing.