Illustration 28 Aug 2008 07:33 am

Emergency Mouse

– I’ve been a Ralph Steadman fan/collector for most of my life. I love the guy’s work and would give anything to be able to do anything remotely as well as he does.

His versatility with pen and ink, dyes and watercolors doesn’t quite hide the magnificent draftsmanship behind his illustrations. Many try to copy his style and none have come close – though Gerald Scarfe has made a nice living off of a similar style – though a bit sweeter. Others, more academically inclined, those who swear by the Bauhaus rules, tend to turn their noses up at his work. I like to think of Steadman as the Jim Tyer of illustration.

Regardless, the work is brilliant. His art always has an amazing intelligence carrying it to the highest pinnacle. It breaks the rules and makes new ones. Illustration comes damn close to Art.

Not too many people have focused on his children’s books, and there are many. Not least is the series of “Mouse” books he’s done with Bernard Stone. Here is Emergency Mouse, a good example. I’ve not lifted the script but am merely showcasing the illustrations. Unfortunately, this also takes a bit away from the book design which is unique on its own. The type is well placed to balance off the different sized illustration.

If you want to read the story, you’ll have to get the book from the library – or buy it.

(Click any image to enlarge.) This is the inner cover.

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6 Responses to “Emergency Mouse”

  1. on 28 Aug 2008 at 10:46 am 1.Luke Farookhi said …

    Though I’m sure Gerald Scarfe is influenced by Ralph Steadman, I think his style is sufficiently different to be his own. I particularly like his cartoons from the period when Nixon was in charge, and of course, his Thatcher caricatures are brilliant. Love Steadman too though. I particularly like his drawings for ‘Alice in Wonderland’, and the ‘Animal Farm’ illustrations you posted earlier.

  2. on 28 Aug 2008 at 12:03 pm 2.Emmett Goodman said …

    Ralph Steadman does have a brilliant and envious style. I’m not sure if you know, but he and Gerald Scarfe were peers at the same school (I can’t remember which one), and they studied together. However in the years since leaving school, they became rivals, and lost touch with each other. So I wouldn’t be surprised if they learned to think similarly during their time in school.

    Still, both Steadman and Scarfe have beautiful styles, which are very pleasurable to study. These images are great, and the coloring technique is marvelous. I would love to know how these were colored, and what sort of watercolors/dyes he used.

  3. on 28 Aug 2008 at 11:42 pm 3.Tim Rauch said …

    anytime you post steadman I will salivate. kinda like how i respond to searle… why are all the best pen and ink men british?

  4. on 04 Sep 2008 at 7:29 am 4.Matt Jones said …

    Nice Steadman post-I’m a big fan of his too. I’ve always preferred his work to Scarfe’s (although Scarfe’s early work is great)-they’re both heavily indebted to Searle’s style & have both admitted as much in interviews.

    As with Searle’s style, Steadman’s drawings are very tough to animate but Oscar Grillo did it brilliantly in a spot for UK wine shops Oddbin’s (Steadman did their print ads for years).

  5. on 09 Sep 2008 at 11:00 am 5.Matt Jones said …

  6. on 20 Sep 2008 at 9:38 pm 6.Matt Jones said …

    Video commentary by Scarfe on his political ‘monsters’

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