on illustration and incredible books

This is one of my favorite prints from Jack Sheppard – an 1839 crime novel by W. Harrison Ainsworth, illustrations by George Cruikshank. VCU Special Collections has the 1839 edition – so I got to see the original prints as I might have seen them in 1839. It’s amazing how rich they look – how much detail and texture gets lost through reproduction.

Taking the comics class has me taking a closer look at imagery as it interacts with text. Amazing, really, how it flows together in my imagination. Medieval illustrated manuscripts, comics from the early 20th century, and illustrated serial novels from the 19th century … mix that together with a class on making books … and all sorts of ideas start to swirl.

The first I’m working on is a personal Book of Hours.

Meanwhile, a friend has curated this Book Arts exhibit in Richmond, Virginia. I couldn’t make the opening (not with my grumpy 8-year-old) but what I want to see is the work – sometimes it’s hard to see art at an opening. To paraphrase the Bard, “the art’s the thing.”


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