After Arthur Rackham

Alice in Wonderland

“Alice and the Mock Turtle”
Pen & ink with watercolor on paper

Arthur Rackham is one of my favorite children’s book illustrators. In order to better understand his technique and improve my skills, I copied one of his illustrations from “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” (1907).

I used pen and ink with watercolor. It took me a good 12-15 hours to complete – and even then, I didn’t get around to finishing all the details. I did it freehand without tracing or taking measurements so it’s a bit off in terms of proportion and composition… and that’s okay. It was about the process rather than trying to make it a perfect copy. It was a very interesting exercise – I think you can learn a lot by studying great artists. If one day, I could come anywhere near his brilliance, I’d be very happy.

You can see the original below:

Alice in Wonderland

4 thoughts on “After Arthur Rackham

  1. You did a lovely job of your painting! I’m not surprised it took a long while. Rackham . . . big shoes!

    I agree with you that you can learn a great deal by studying the greats. It is a constant amazement to me that illustrators (who’s work I have been looking at so much this year) express so much with such economy. They get to the root of an expression or the suggestion of movement and form with a stroke of the pen. It really is genius taking things down to their essence and expressing them so clearly.

    Nice Work!

    • Thank you so much! Yes, there’s so much to learn from the greats, especially those from “the golden age” of illustration. Tremendous amount of skill there to admire!

  2. yes LOVE copying as a learning tool!! in my college, they even stressed to use tracing paper (more for line drawings that were more exact) so that you get a feel for a master’s hand. i find it works well, and it’s a big part of how i self-taught myself long before i went to college for art. and good job on your rendition! hope you learned whatever you were after from it ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks purplestgirlnthworld! I think I will try to do more copies from now on – yes, it is a great learning tool and I did get a lot out of it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Although to be honest, near the end I was kind of getting sloppy. Maybe next time, I’ll pick some less ambitious ones or do sections instead of the whole thing. Thanks again for stopping by and for your input. All the best!

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