Our Pre-Raph Gang

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Birthday, Grace! (Ned Likes Mermaids)

I drew this picture for the lovely and talented Grace Nuth for her birthday several months ago.
(Go here for this wonderful interview with Grace about Pre-Raphaelite mermaids!)  It is no secret that she is especially fond of our Nedster and of his own special fondness for mermaids. Ned may have developed a taste for aquatic ladies due to his move later in life to the seaside village of Rottingdean ( also home to Ned's nephew Rudyard Kipling).  No, I've never been there but there is great Google reference of its cliffs, which I tried to show in the above drawing.

Perhaps Edward Burne-Jones is associated most with his angels (yes, it is getting to be that time of year when you will see a plethora of Burne-Jonesian angel greeting cards everywhere), but it is his mermaids which proved to be his most haunting obsession.

First of all, everything that needs to be said about  Burne-Jones and his mermaids was expressed to perfection in this wonderful post from Kirsty Stonell Walker. I can't add more.

Except for showing you some of Ned's mermaid art, right here:


Ned seemed very fond of mer-families...

 But more treacherous mermaids seemed to be on his mind as well, as shown in this small painting:

Hurling a fish at her isn't going to work, buddy.

And this is probably his most famous mermaid image
of all, as well as one of his most famous paintings:
The Depths of the Sea.
Or better known as a t-shirt called "Mermaid Hugging Man". We'll let Grace explain...

Coming up next:
Wombat Friday and why everyone needs to celebrate it.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Sorry for the Lateness...

Yes, my apologies being so late posting new cartoons, but to make up for it...

               ...here's William Morris on a skateboard!

I've been working on lots of other illustration projects, and unfortunately have had a few maintenance disasters in my apartment that have also delayed work (looooong story.) But coming up in future posts, I will finally get to, among new cartoons, some new birthdays, Ned Burne-Jones and mermaids, and the phenomenon of Wombat Friday. (What, you don't know about WOMBAT FRIDAY? Go here and here. )

See you soon!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Happy Birthday, Verity!

First off, I apologize for the misspelling of "magnificence". I can't even blame American spelling for that one. As I told everyone, unfortunately my sketchbook doesn't come with a spellcheck.
My birthday cartoons have been getting later and later no matter how much advance planning I put into them. Poor Verity had to wait several weeks for this one and Fiz several months!
Sorry, Fiz.
Yeah, so I took the opportunity to blame

it on the wombat.

(So if your birthday goes by without a cartoon, rest assured that in a decade from now you'll unexpectedly get a message on whatever social media is in vogue at the time: "Hey, sorry this cartoon was late for your birthday ten years ago, but here it is, lol!")

We've already established that Dante Gabriel Rossetti was an animal-lover and kept a
menagerie of exotic animals at his home at Cheyne Walk. Unfortunately, he never really knew how to care for them properly and was somewhat hurt when they unexpectedly expired. This cartoon is based on a (somewhat) true story that Verity Holloway related to us.

Verity is a Rossetti devotee and an authority on all things Rossettian. So you can imagine what it must have been like for her to see a lock of Rossetti's actual hair! I'll let her elaborate more from this email she sent me entitled Hairball:

It was at Literary Circles in 2007 when I was an undergrad: http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/whatson/exhibitions/article.html?223 I think I'd just started my dissertation (partly on Lizzie Siddal) and was in full Serious Note-Taking Mode. I didn't know the hair was going to be there, or even that it existed, so it was a shock to see this dark coil in a folded bit of paper and to belatedly realise it came from Rossetti's head. And then to even more belatedly realise you're staring at a dead man's hair with a massive grin on your face like someone with a bit of a problem. And then to realise you'd quite like to touch it.
They also had Keats' hair, but who cares?
 :-D I like it that it's of the utmost importance to DGR that he pleases some blonde he's never met.

It's just occurred to me…what would happen if someone excavated his garden? Can you image all the weird animal bones? The horror.
"Keats' hair too? Gasp!" ---Me.
The exhibition was probably the best I've ever been to! They just had everyone I love - Rossetti, Blake, Sassoon, The Brontes: just all of it! And there were Lizzie Siddal's paintings, too. I went to an evening talk there by Lucinda Hawksley, and before the talk you were allowed to view the exhibition semi-privately. I was standing in front of a chalk drawing of Fanny by DGR, and he'd run out of space so just glued another piece of paper on and carried on over the join! I could just hear him thinking, "Oh Hell. Nobody'll notice."

Thanks again for the story, Verity.
(I would love to touch Keats' hair...)
Reading about the exhibition, I would have absolutely loved to have seen it. It's completely up my alley. "...text and image intersected, reinforcing one another, but also competing for pre-eminence... Focusing on illustration, fantasy and caricature": Pre-Raphaelites, Richard Dadd, William Blake, Max Beerbohm and dead guys' hair in boxes all in one place?

Damn. I would definitely have flown out there.

Here's hoping a raccoon shows up on your door someday with a curl of thick, glossy, chestnut Italian hair in its mouth, Verity.

Coming up next: Ned likes mermaids.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Stünners in Concert!

I'm pretty sure this idea came from a silly conversation on Facebook with members of the Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood page. "The Stunners sounds like a good name for a girl band!" "Who would play what instrument?" Etcetera. The line-up in the top cartoon is: (left-to-right) Annie Miller on bass; Fanny Cornforth on drums; Lizzie Siddal on lead guitar; Jane Morris on vocals; and lastly, Georgie Burne-Jones on keyboards. We all agreed that Effie Gray would be their manager.

As it turns out, there actually is a girl band called The Stunners. So I added the umlaut over the "u" to make them more metal. (As David St. Hubbins says in This is Spinal Tap: "It's like a pair of eyes. You're looking at the umlaut, and it's looking at you.")  Georgie Burne-Jones actually did play the piano and sing very well--her husband did many drawings of her at her keyboard.

                                      Anyway, the band of course needed groupies.
William Homan Hunt
finds it hard to resist a good groove.

"Who would be the one to rush the stage?" "You know it would be William Holman Hunt."

Hunt (who I've sadly neglected in cartoons as of late... not for long though...) was notoriously religious but was also nicknamed "Mad" or "Maniac" for activities such as creeping around at night with a lantern to paint nightscenes, boiling a dead horse or stranding a goat in the Dead Sea to depict this psychedelic image:

Poor goat...

Burne-Jones had a penchant for fainting when he became over-excited. Fred Stephens (with his new moustache) is shouting "Look!" The man holding the stuffed wombat and later saying "Oy vey" is Simeon Solomon.
Simeon Solomon
is embarrassed on behalf of the
PRB for Hunt's dancing skills.

Coming up next: Rossetti cuts off his hair for a good cause!

Young Topsy and Ned (inked)

This is one to hold us over until The Stünners...

Yay! Another one inked! (You can find the original post about this cartoon here.)

I'm gradually getting through them and I'll keep posting them as I ink and letter them.

This is the original sketchbook drawing (right).

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Millais, Effie and Ruskin (inked)

As I said in the previous post, I'm going back and inking the older cartoons in order to start compiling them for a book. The original post about the sketchbook drawing for this particular picture can be found here. 

Here is the first drawing (right).
The inked version is done in Pigma pens with acrylic gouache and a watercolor brush.

The Stünners are coming, I promise this time!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Rossetti and Jane (and Top)

I've been late posting new cartoons due to other illustration projects (see my other blog http://thewatchertree.blogspot.com/) but there are lots coming, including the promised Stünners concert.

This is a commission I did for someone who requested a picture of Rossetti painting Jane. (I couldn't resist adding Top as well. )

This is the original sketch (right), done in my sketchbook. I photocopied it, enlarging it, and transferred it to a 9" x 12" sheet of vellum bristol paper, using a lightbox. Then I "inked" it using acrylic gouache.

Incidentally (shameless self-promotion) if you have an idea for a commission (either original artwork or a print of inked art), please message me here: .https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Pre-Raphernalia-Pre-Raph-Sketchbook-Cartoons/280541598646298

I'm going through and inking the original cartoons seen here in this blog to be collected in bookform.
And there are still new ones on the way!