InkTober - more harpies with eagle body base InkTober - more harpies with eagle body base InkTober - more harpies with eagle body base

InkTober - more harpies with eagle body base

Nostalgia Illustration: John Blanche & Sorcery!

Sorcery! Was a four part, D&D/Fantasy themed  choose-your-own-adventure book series that was published by Puffin in 1983-1985. Written by Steve Jackson, they have since been adapted a really great game App series by Inkle Studios. 

The series was good, but as with many good books, the illustration was part of the success story. There was a lot of raw topics in these books, and Blanche’s artwork complimented the ‘gross’ aspects of the story pretty successfully. 

Like, here, in Book two, when the player is attacked by an animated corpse.

Or in Book 4, when you have to option to ‘go down a rabbit hole’.

Or in Book 2 again, when the player accidentally wanders into a ghetto of creatures who never open their eyes in case fireballs shoot out of them.

But Blanche is good at more than just gross and unsettling. Check out these atmospheric, scene-setting illustrations …

Blanche also brings adorable and eccentric to his depictions of in-book characters ….

And babes. Blanche can draw babes.

Look at how much story is told in this one drawing of a babe on a locket …

And finally, a self-portrait of the artist, as it appears in Book 2!

Nostalgia Illustration: Louis Darling in the Ramona Books

Louis Darling (1916-1970) wrote many of his own books, but might be best known by modern audiences for his illustrations of the books in Beverly Cleary’s Ramona universe (most recent book published in 1999). While it’s hard to imagine, the Ramona books aren’t where the series started - they started in 1950 with a book called Henry Huggins. 



The last Henry Huggings book was published in 1964, but Ramona was debuted in the 1950 original, and would become Cleary’s real star.


This series, being written over the course of 49 years, covers some issue that just don’t apply to modern childhood (I think there was a plot point in one of them about being forced to wear woolen tights in the winter because it was the only way for little girls to keep their legs warm).


The more moderns illustrations have a distinctly 70s feel to them (I’ll talk about Alan Tiegreen some other time) — but Louis Darling’s work is grounded firmly in the Rockwellian 1950s, and fabulously captures Ramona’s energy.


I think this one is my favorite. Tricycles and bicycles aren’t very easy to draw, but this, with the balancing and the weight being thrown around is especially great.


Back in the days before there was a wealth of literary and tv tomboys for little girls to relate to — or even any alternative to the little girl who just loved to be quiet and well-behaved, we all had Ramona.

Ramona got frustrated. She had meltdown. She hated people. Beverly Cleary wrote these situations with complete comprehension, and without apology. Ramona was a brat, and at the same time, you could only relate to her character.


And Darling drew it!


Little boys who might not have read the Ramona books, or even the Henry Huggins books might remember Darling’s work from The Enormous Egg or The Mouse and the Motorcycle.

Buy my artwork for the cheep cheep cheep.

InkTober Day 7 - Ham Gliders! InkTober Day 7 - Ham Gliders! InkTober Day 7 - Ham Gliders!

InkTober Day 7 - Ham Gliders!

InkTober - more Ham Gliding

Day 5 of InkTober — total WIP. Peacock harpy!

Day 4 of InkTober - Harpy with a tiny chicken body base!