A few weeks ago, Maria Popova published a post in her wonderful Brain Pickings blog featuring the illustrations by Ralph Steadman from a 1972 edition of Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland.
Before you go any further, read her post. Then come back here. Then go read more of her posts if you haven’t already.
I didn’t know Steadman illustrated Alice In Wonderland, but I should have, because I own a copy of his Through The Looking Glass, also published in 1972, that I bought on a trip to England in 1975 (Steadman’s Alice In Wonderland is mentioned on the book jacket flap, but what 15-year old reads jacket copy?). It is one of my Most Valued And Beloved Books. Here are more of my favorite images:
The Jaberwock, with eyes of flame. Steadman is also a political satirist.
Notice how he uses the gutter split to advantage. Perfect for a story set in a world of reflection.
Steadman takes the commonly accepted view that the White Knight is Lewis himself.
When I was first starting out as an illustrator, nearly thirty years ago, I tried out pen and ink as a medium, a la Steadman. The image below was for The Clinton Street Quarterly, a small publication from the 80s out of Portland, OR. It is humbling to look back that far in my professional history, but take it as a tribute to my love of Steadman’s work.