Friday, 22 February 2013

O, Neville

The Google doodle for today is celebrating Edward Gorey's birthday. In my own nod to him, I decided to share my favourite Gashleycrumb Tiny...

For those who don't know, Edward Gorey is a wonderfully strange and macabre American illustrator. Young Neville above is taken from his book The Gashleycrumb Tinies, published in 1963, which recounts the tragically comical deaths of 26 children - one for each letter of the alphabet - in rhyming couplets. If you've not come across it, and you like your humour dark, I'd definitely recommend looking it up.

It's funny that Edward Gorey popped up today as I was just thinking of The Gashleycrumb Tinies the other day. I'd been listening to the Dresden Dolls and picked up my sketch book and a pencil to have a go at drawing up the image brought into my head by the song Mrs O off their album, Yes, Virginia.

Oh, Mrs O
Will you tell us where the naughty children go
Will you show
How the sky turned white and everybody froze
Heaven knows how they got into the fireplace
But everybody's saying grace
And trying to keep a happy face

And oh, Mrs O
Can you teach us how to keep from getting cold
Out we go and you watch us as we face the falling snow
What a show with our hairdryers aimed heavenwards
And fifty-foot extension cords
You really have a way with words...

The end result made me think of Edward Gorey's children, with their Victorian Gothic appearance and dark air.

Obviously, my drawing is a mere scribble of an amateur but I was pleased by the feel of it. Oh, and for the record, I have actually mastered the ability to draw decent faces but I ended up preferring the effect of the blank face on this occasion... Really, it's true!

And for those who don't know the Dresden Dolls, they're a duo from Boston who describe themselves as Brechtian cabaret punk. If that doesn't intrigue you enough to look into them, then probably nothing I say will. 

Image source:

But if you are intrigued, then Girl Anachronism is a fine place to start. I'll even help you on your way:


  1. Your drawing is wonderful! I love lots about it! The detail of the extension cord exiting through the gap in the window. Yes, the hairdryer is pointing upwards. The box seat under the window. The ornate frame for the painting above the fireplace - the partial view of the painting. Putting the girl (or Mrs O?) in the fireplace! Perfect and unexpected! Your fireplace benefits from your architectural interests...

    1. Thank you! I thought you might like the girl particularly. The addition of the extension cord coming through the window was an addition at the end and it made me feel it was complete! That's one of the wonderfully satisfying things about drawing - I could just "open" up the window a touch with my pencil and bring the cord through to a convenient powerpoint sketched in...

  2. Little Neville is fascinating. Dark but clever. Love the way Edward has made basically three different textures - rain, bricks and the more solid, though still fragile, bare branch and Neville.

    1. Isn't it clever!? I love the textures too - a clever solution to black on black on black!

  3. Ah I love Gorey and fricking love the Dresden Dolls did not know you were a fan! <<< xxx

  4. Ha! I thought you would be a Gorey fan! And that you would love the Dresden Dolls - if you'd not come across them before, I hoped you would check them out after this post and fall in love! I think they're absolutely amazing x

  5. I love Edward Gorey's books, if I ever have children I will be sure to buy them :D I also love the Dresden Dolls, I love their costumes and wonderful lyrics!

    1. I would be intrigued to see how actual children (rather than us grown-up children...) responded to them... I imagine they would have disturbed me as a kid - like Where the Wild Things Are did... As for the Dresden Dolls' costumes, it's my ambition to one day convince my boyfriend to dress up as them for Halloween. Would be so much fun!

  6. I love the Dresden dolls--keep up the good work with your drawing!

    Colour Me Classic

    1. Thanks, Haley. I just dabble for my own enjoyment, so it's lovely to have that encouragement!