4 Excellent Graphic Novel Adaptations of Literature


1. Gris Grimly’s Frankenstein- Grimly and Shelly


2. Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Adaption- Hamilton and Bradbury


3. The Shadow Out of Time- Culbard and Lovecraft


4.Beowulf- Hinds

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Filed under Book Reviews, Graphic Novels & Comics, Illumination, Literature, Science-Fiction

How to Look at Art:

A friend recently loaned me an excellent book on teaching art appreciation: Getting It: A guide to understanding and appreciating art by Becky Hendrick. Below is a simple outline of the book’s main points.


Art Appreciation=Life Appreciation

2 Requirements for Appreciating Art:

1. Look at it objectively without prejudice

2. Know enough information about its relationship to history and culture

Fine Art: 

-Not created for external demands (like graphic design or advertisements, it’s internally motivated)

-Non-verbal language, looking at art is like hearing a foreign language for the first time

-Content rather than subject matter (not an one sentence “answer”)

-“That’s terrible” really means “I don’t like it” Learn to be aware of personal preference

-If you bring the wrong set of expectations to a work of art you won’t be able to “get it”

-Most people spend an average of 10 seconds looking at a work of art

How to Look at Art:

-Describe it objectively without interpretation (a skill that needs to be practiced)

-Make subjective connections (this makes me think of_______)

-Analyze the content of the work

-Interpret and judge

Visual Vocabulary:

-Artists communicate in a different language they learn through making art

-Line, shape, space, value, color, texture, etc.

-Artists make a series of decisions based on their knowledge of their visual vocabulary


-If it’s in a book or on a screen it’s not actually the work of art

-Pictures can’t communicate scale or subtleties

“Art may not ‘mean’ anything in the literal sense, but like the atmosphere preceding a storm, it puts us into a frame of mind for pondering the timeless questions of existences and meaning.”


Filed under Art, Book Reviews

Illuminating “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe

Notice how Harry Clarke "illustrates" the increasing sound of the heart beats.

Notice how Clarke “illustrates” the sound effect of a heartbeat growing louder and louder. 

Harry Clarke illustrated many of Poe’s stories and the above image from “The Tell-Tale Heart” is one of my favorites. Clarke’s use of design and attention to detail allow him to contain almost the entire narrative in this one memorable and eery image.

The video below is an animated short film from 1953 which communicates the visceral experience of “The Tell-Tale Heart.” It tells the story through narration and a series of images rather than merely animating the sequence of events. Instead of being a traditional cartoon, the camera pans through a number of cubist-like paintings, focusing on essential details, symbols, and events in the story. The comparative stillness in most of the film makes the few sequences of action that much more striking. Visual elements like the old man’s eye are repeated and paralleled which heightens the sense of the protagonist’s mania.  The dead white shape of the eye is mirrored in the moon, then a vase, and then again in the buttons of the police officer’s jacket. Overall this film finds a perfect balance between being innovative in a way the serves the source material while still being traditional enough to not distract the viewers with unusual form. 


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Filed under Art, Illumination, Illustration, Literature, Videos

Art Quote: The Impossible Integrity of Art

“Do you know what you’re actually in love with? Integrity. The impossible. The clean, consistent, reasonable, self-faithful, the all-of-one-style, like a work of art. That’s the only field where it can be found–art. But you want it in the flesh. You’re in love with it.” -Gail Wynand

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

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A Glimpse Into the Studio

Detail from a triptych made in response to the Tower of Babel.

Detail from a triptych made in response to the Tower of Babel. Each piece is 10″x40″

I’ve been searching for new ways of giving my drawings depth and a more nuanced surface. The first step in that process was grinding my own ink which allowed me to apply multiple layers and have more control over the intensity and evenness of the black. After that I started adding graphite over the black ink on watercolor paper which creates a shimmering surface that ranges from velvety black to glisteningly metallic depending on the light (see the rightmost piece). At the suggestion of a painter friend I started mixing in small amounts of acrylic ink into the fresh ground ink to give it a subtle tinge of color. I mixed a rust ochre ink into black to create the lower section of the rightmost piece. The two inks separated after a few minutes which created the grainy, earthy quality you see above.

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Filed under Art, Drawing, Illumination, Jacob Rowan Studios

Mark Rothko

This documentary is absolutely fascinating. It’s an intriguing look at the life of Mark Rothko as well as an excellent example of a documentary that teaches one how to look at modern art. I highly recommend it for both the skeptics and the fans of modern art.




Filed under Art, Artists, Painting, Videos

The Spiritual in Abstract Art

Wassily Kandinsky is commonly credited with being the first painter to venture wholly into the realm of abstract art. However, Swedish artist Helga af Klint was making abstract paintings in 1906, while Kandinsky did not abandon recognizable imagery until 1910. [1] Her abstract works were not shown until twenty years after her death, as stipulated in her will. She did not believe her contemporaries were ready to appreciate their full meaning.

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Filed under Art, Art Meditation, Faith, Jacob Rowan Studios, Painting