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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


 

Narraciones extraordinarias by Edgar Allan Poe

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Berenice.

Narraciones extraordinarias was the first commission that arrived from Spanish publisher Editorial Alma earlier this year but it’s the second one to be revealed here. (Copies of the pictures at a larger size may be seen on the main website.) I confess I was rather dismayed when the request came through for this. I was pleased to have the opportunity to illustrate so many stories but Edgar Allan Poe is a tough brief when Harry Clarke has already created the definitive set of illustrations. The challenge, then, became one of trying to successfully illustrate the stories without repeating anything by Clarke or the many other illustrators who’ve tackled Poe, not least my favourite collagist, Wilfried Sätty.

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Morella.

One advantage of the collection was the inclusion of several pieces that you seldom find in the common English reprints of Poe, stories such as A Tale of the Ragged Mountains. The style is Sätty-esque, of course, although less surreal in approach thanks to the flexibility of digital tools. I’ve been developing this engraving collage style over the past year or so to create a hybrid that blends drawn and collaged material into a seamless whole. When this works, as with The Man in the Crowd (below), you shouldn’t be able to easily tell which elements are drawn and which collaged. (And more importantly, it shouldn’t really matter.) This technique has been developed further in the most recent work I’ve done for Editorial Alma but you’ll have to wait a while to see the results.

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Ligeia.

Despite my initial misgivings, this job worked out better than I expected, not least because the deadline was so tight. Several of these pictures were created in a day, a work-rate common to many comic artists but not one that I’m used to (or happy with) at all. I’m still unhappy with MS. Found in a Bottle which lazily swiped a chunk of a Gustave Doré illustration; if I’d had the time I would have changed it, and if this series of pictures is ever reprinted that’s one I’ll be reworking.

As before, this is a Spanish-language hardback, and the only purchase link I have is an Amazon one. My next contribution to this series should be out early next year.

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The Fall of the House of Usher.

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William Wilson.

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The Murders in the Rue Morgue.

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The Mystery of Marie Rogêt.

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Descent into the Maelstrom.

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The Gold Bug.

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The Cask of Amontillado.

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The Premature Burial.

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The Man of the Crowd.

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The Imp of the Perverse.

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The Tell-Tale Heart.

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The Pit and the Pendulum.

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The Masque of the Red Death.

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King Pest.

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The Colloquy of Monos and Una.

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Shadow—A Parable.

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Silence—A Fable.

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The Oval Portrait.

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Eleonora.

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MS. Found in a Bottle.

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Metzengerstein.

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The Spectacles.

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The Purloined Letter.

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A Tale of the Ragged Mountains.

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The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar.

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The Assignation.

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The Oblong Box.

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The Sphinx.

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The Black Cat.

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The Raven.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Fritz Eichenberg’s illustrated Poe
The Pendulum, the Pit and Hope
Hugo Steiner-Prag’s illustrated Poe
Burt Shonberg’s Poe paintings
Illustrating Poe #5: Among the others
Illustrating Poe #4: Wilfried Sätty
Illustrating Poe #3: Harry Clarke
Illustrating Poe #2: William Heath Robinson
Illustrating Poe #1: Aubrey Beardsley
Poe at 200
The Tell-Tale Heart from UPA
William Heath Robinson’s illustrated Poe

 


 

Posted in {art}, {black and white}, {books}, {collage}, {horror}, {work}.

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11 comments or trackbacks

  1. #1 posted by Tororo

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    Stunning illustrations! (my personal favorites: Berenice and A descent into the Maelstrom, but does it make sense to pick up favorites? All of these are fantastic!). ¡Felicidades!

  2. #2 posted by Daniel del Valle

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    John, these illustrations for Poe’s work are beautiful and magnificent. It is hard to pick a favorite. They make me want to go back and read Poe’s stories and poems again. I have a few old editions of Poe in Spanish, but none illustrated. Editorial Alma made an excellent choice with you as illustrator.

  3. #3 posted by The joey Zone

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    NEED this edition.

    In all fairness to Wifred–5 at a quick glance are superior to Satty’s (“Shadow” is beautiful in it’s subtlety, while “Usher”…

    a wall size blacklight poster should accompany the roll-out for this publication)

    One note: REALLY like “Old Skool Coulthart” shewing thru in “The Man in The Crowd” which compares favorably to Harry Clarke’s.

    Some of Your Best Work EVER–which raises an already high bar.

  4. #4 posted by The joey Zone

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    WILFRIED (correct spelling/credit where due)

    –just so excited to finally see these!

  5. #5 posted by John

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    Thanks, everyone.

    Tororo: I was at a loss what to do for Maelstrom until it occurred to me that most artists showed the whirlpool from the outside, hence this alternate view.

    The joey Zone: Man in the Crowd feels old skool to me as well, and no doubt looks that way since the figure was hand-drawn so resembles some of my earlier drawings. I was at a loss what to do with the figure for that story; in the end I picked up the old wooden artists’ model I’ve had for years (one of those posable things), fixed it into the pose I wanted then did a quick sketch.

    Some things won’t be obvious to viewers but they pleased me, such as the building in the back of Marie Roget being the one that Poe mentions in the story. I had to go to some lengths to find a decent picture since the building was demolished years ago and there aren’t many drawings of it online.

  6. #6 posted by Ibrahim

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    These are wonderful. It’s really difficult to make Poe feel fresh & new while still conveying the atmosphere his work exudes. These designs certainly do the trick though.
    Never thought anyone would be able to bring something new to Usher.

  7. #7 posted by Ibrahim

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    The ‘Ligeia’ one inadvertently reminded me of one of my own by the way: http://ibrahimrineke.blogspot.nl/2017/05/citizen.html?m=1 ( third image / lady in white)
    I suppose some pictorial arrangements just naturally suggest themselves…

  8. #8 posted by Mitchell

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    John, you outdid yourself — great illustrations.

  9. #9 posted by John

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    Thanks again, everyone.

    Ibrahim: Yes, the negative space trick is a useful thing to have in reserve. I did something similar in my adaptation of Call of Cthulhu although it makes more sense here. One of my favourite examples is in one of Burne Hogarth’s later Tarzan strips:

    http://www.johncoulthart.com/feuilleton/2007/03/30/a-premonition-of-premonition/

  10. #10 posted by Ibrahim

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    That’s a great tree. Reminds me in turn of this guy’s way with shapes:
    http://robertadamgilmour.blogspot.nl/2012/03/forest-in-dark-sky.html
    Sorry for the rabbit hole of associations.

    Can we agree that Premonition is rather a horrible film though?

  11. #11 posted by John

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    That’s really good work, I’ve not seen any of his stuff before.

    I’ve also not seen Premonition, it was only mentioned in that post because the poster caught my eye. I don’t pay much attention to regular Hollywood fare, too much of it insults the intelligence.

 


 

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