Edward Gorey is my hero
We don’t have enough fun with our work. That was what I was reminded of when reading an article about Edward Gorey earlier in the year. He instantly became my hero. Edward didn’t just draw…he didn’t just write, he delivered wit and whimsy in a way that was thoroughly unique to him.
First let me paint you a picture of how awesome Edward was: his most iconic uniform was comprised of large fur coats and tennis shoes. He loved cats, the ballet, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Batman: the Animated Series, and as I imagine: had a proclivity for Diet Coke.
Edward, who was born in 1925, published his first independent book, The Unstrung Harp, in 1953 while working at Doubleday publishers, contributing his signature ink drawings to their titles. You may have seen his work before or maybe not — definitely if you tune into Masterpiece: Mystery! on PBS where his animated illustrations have played out the opening since 1980. His work has been cherished for decades for its hybrid of Victorian technique and whimsy as well as its beauty and macabre, both contrasts that don’t feel too off from his own personal style.
As he produced more and more books (the total count exceeding one hundred), he published them under a pen name. Pretty standard, right? Well, not for him. Edward Gorey had fun with it! He crafted multiple nome du plumes, each an anagram from the letters in his name. Ogdred Weary, Mrs. Regera Dowdy, Eduard Blutig, Dogear Wryde, E. G. Deadworry, D. Awdrey-Gore, and (seriously) many more. His books often were wordless, bucking the tradition and comprising them solely of illustrations.
And he wasn’t afraid to explore other creative expressions — all with his unique point of view. In 1970, he penned a screenplay for a silent film called The Black Doll.
Edwards way of doing things and approaching his life and work has given me total inspo to do things my way. Taking those things, that by default feel a lil’ expected and ho-hum-normal, and infuse them with my own droll sense of fun!
How about you?
P.S. Learn more about channeling Gorey’s style from Rookie.