Amazing Illustrations of Edgar Allen Poe Stories / Clark and Dore


dore illustration of poe

The 1st two illustrations here are by Harry Clarke. The one below is by Gustave Dore.

See the whole post with more great drawings at

Harry Clarke’s Hallucinatory Illustrations for Edgar Allan Poe’s Stories 1923

Gustave Dore’s Splendid Illustrations of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” 1884






The Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist and Horse Anatomy, a coloring book

This is what I learned in art school and what I want to learn now.

This is what I learned in art school and what I want to learn now.

At York Academy of Art, they wanted us to draw and paint in the ways of the old masters. These are important things from the old school:

#1 Anyone can learn to draw at any time in life. It’s like a musical instrument. You can do it if you practice.

#2 The difference between average artists and great artists is drawing skill. The great artists practice drawing so they have better skill.

#3 The figure is the hardest thing to draw. If you can draw the figure you can draw anything. To draw the figure well you have to study anatomy. To paint a good portrait you have to draw skulls.

#4 If you trace from a photo your drawing skill won’t improve. If you paint a portrait from a traced photo it will come out looking flat and lifeless. So if you really want to learn to draw, put the camera away.

Does that sound like tough talk to you? I thought it was. That’s how it was at York Academy of Art. I rebelled. I said, “I don’t feel like drawing, I want to do sculpture.” But it was an intense program and I learned despite myself.

At YAA we went through this whole book copying all the illustrations and memorizing the names of the bones and muscles. It’s to teach you the sizes and shapes that make up the volume of the figure. And how the figure moves.

Twice a week we had figure drawing with a live model. We had to put a piece of tracing paper over our figure drawing and draw the bones and muscles on the tracing paper to check what we drew.

Plus we had another drawing class every week besides figure drawing.

I filed the info in the back of my mind for many years and started working on it again about 15 years ago. When I was younger I probably didn’t have the time or self discipline to do it. One subject I always liked is a horse. They’re not easy for me to draw. So I was excited when I found this horse anatomy coloring book in the gift shop on Assateague Island. I know it’s a kid thing, but if I do the same exercises using the horse anatomy book it will help improve my drawing. So that’s my plan this winter, because the weather is too dreary to paint outside.

sketch of Cold Harbor (road) charcoal

cold harbor road

I’ve heard a lot of stories about the Civil War. It’s complicated. You can study it your whole life and still have questions.

I drove around and looked at the battlefields close to Richmond. Seeing the places and reading the signs brought it together in my mind. The Battlefield National Parks signs have great illustrations and photos from the 1860s that show how it looked, and so much information I have to go back and look again.

The war went on longer than expected. Slaves and soldiers built the earthworks because the landscape was wide open fields. The armies could see each other far away but they were out of firing range. They ran out on the field to fight and die. Now it’s mostly woods.

So many died at Cold Harbor they named the stream Bloody Run because it ran red with the blood of the soldiers.

The Cow is OK / left / 2003 / pastel

image 18.75 x 26.5

image 18.75 x 26.5

When I was working on these drawings I saw a “Weird News” article in a political magazine that had my daughter, Sarah , and I laughing for days. This is what it said :

In Fla. there was a flooded field and a cow was standing in the water. People driving past it were concerned that the cow was stuck in the mud and 911 got so many calls that DOT put a lighted sign by the road saying “The cow is OK”. Then the cow moved on but the sign was still there. It caused a traffic jam as people slowed down to look for the cow.

The Cow is OK / center / 2003 / pastel

image 18.75 x 26.5

image 18.75 x 26.5

In 2002 I took a road trip. I picked up Rt. 66 in Springfield MO. and followed it to Santa Monica CA. I took a few detours off Rt. 66 to see different sights then went back to the famous road. I decided to go to the Grand Canyon and try to get on a mule ride, so I stopped in Flagstaff AZ. at a grocery store and bought some carrots to make friends with my mule. The mule rides are booked up months in advance and everyone on the schedule showed up that morning for the ride. So I got back in my car and went back to Rt.66. with the carrots in my car.

I saw signs saying to watch out for wild burrows but I couldn’t spot them. The road was narrow, twisty and steep. I was glad I was driving the old Buick instead of a camper or SUV.
Then I pulled into a small town called Oatman AZ. and that’s where the wild burrows hang around. The burrows smelled the carrots as I was driving in and they had their huge heads all over my car before I could park ! They got burrow slobber all over the car, and I couldn’t get the windows up fast enough. The burrows gobbled up the carrots in seconds. I laughed while I explored Oatman and shopped for a souvenir. Then I bought the skull of the bull and it had to ride on my back seat for the rest of my trip because it didn’t fit in the trunk.

When I got back to VA. I hung the skull on the wall over my fireplace. Then I started drawing it. I drew it about 10 times.

The Cow is OK / right / pastel 2003

image 18.75 x 26.5

image 18.75 x 26.5

After I got home from my adventure on the road I was inspired to draw the skull of the bull. I was practicing drawing and I took an old set of pastels out of the box so I could practice layering colors in different combinations. Today I took these 10 year old drawings out of the flat file to compare them to what I’m working on now so I can see my progress.

2 portraits by William Sidney Mount @ High Museum

The eyes seem to follow you. Want to know the secret ?

It’s kind of spooky when you walk past a portrait and the face watches you. It’s not just a funny scary movie gag. You can make a portrait that has that effect. In art school they told us how.

First you have to study anatomy . You have to copy the bones and muscles of the eye  from an anatomy book.  eyes are difficult. If you don’t study anatomy, the best eyes you can make will look like a cartoon compared to this master’s work.

You need a live model to sit for you. If you work from a photo, the eyes won’t show any personality. The portrait will be without soul. The picture won’t have any depth either.

But the real secret tip here is : The model must look the artist in the eyes when the artist is working on the eyes. If the artist doesn’t draw tight, it doesn’t work . If you’re 1/8th ” off on your drawing, the effect of eyes following you doesn’t work.

This is a secret art tip from the academy.

I think I can do it. I’ll try this winter when the weather gets bad.

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