Tag Archives: Halloween

Edward Gorey – creepy stories and cross-hatching

29 Oct

With the spooky Halloween holiday coming up we are going to look at the art and stories of a man named Edward Gorey.
American artist born in Chicago in 1925 and died in 2000 at his home on Cape Cod, MA.Edward_Gorey_-_2a
Gorey wrote and illustrated more than 100 books (including some pop-ups, some very, very tiny…) all with signature drawing style of an often dark image made with the cross hatching technique.

Each of his illustrations is made with many, many pen & ink lines – he didn’t paint with a brush or fill in areas completely he only used a pen and created his art entirely out of tiny lines… a process that we will discuss more in a moment. The stories he wrote are quite different than books you might read- often a little weird or creepy or unusual – which is why we are learning about him at Halloween! But they were never super scary. In fact there are more likely to be kind of silly! He had a very dark sense of humor.

(read Doubtful Guest) – A mysterious, outdoor creature, dressed in sneakers and a scarf, appears on a winter night at a family’s Victorian home and never leaves again. End of story.

ASK: How is this book different than other stories you’ve read?

Some artists look at a person or object to draw it but Gorey drew from his imagination and that’s why his images are often so unusual – he wasn’t limited by drawing what his eyes saw… he drew whatever his mind could imagine! Not all his stories rhyme – some full of nonsense words and seem confusing to read – some books no words at all  – West Wing is one of those stories … story is all in reader/viewer’s mind and is different from person to person

images{flip thru West Wing}

We will make a book like west wing
– each student drawing a page
– Gorey’s book referred to a wing of a large house – setting & title of our book “The Suspicious School”

DEFINE: Value – the lightness or darkness of color
explain cross-hatch/demonstrate

bta_crosshatch_plane1 bta_crosshatch_plane2 bta_crosshatch_skull

Think of a scene that will leave people wondering what happened and use their imaginations to fill in the story.
Maybe a room with something curious in it… Close your eyes and use your imagination to invent a place to draw

– an open door/window
– something someone left in an empty room
– footprints or tracks in mud or snow
– something that looks out of place where it sits
– a tree or a field with something unexpected sitting in it
– open book on a table/desk
– a bicycle left someplace

** write on the back one sentence about the scene and YOUR NAME

– lightly sketch out scene in pencil before filling in with pen cross hatching
– remember to use criss crossing lines to make the values in your image
– we are NOT scribbling
– some lines will be short, some will be long
– further apart for light areas, close together for dark
 – consider where the light is coming from – a lamp? a window?
 – simple scene – not crowded
– details are in the textures of the lines
– fill whole square with your drawing – that’s why page is small!
photo (22)
Each student’s drawing became a page in our book. I copied and bound a book for each student and bound the originals for our hallway display along with a photocopied West Wing for comparison.

– white drawing paper cut to book page size
– fine-tipped permanent black pens
– newsprint for scratch paper

Art Docent: Jen Clark
Room B-1, Grade 2, Mrs. Shimada
Elements/Principles/Artists Reviewed: LINE, Cross-hatching, Edward Gorey