Detailed Art in Black and White

Many of these illustrations are inspired by American political cartoonist and illustrator John 'Johnny' B. Gruelle. I discovered examples of his work in my dad's copy of The Grimm's Brother's Fairytales. As a child, I devoured these stories for their dark humor and spooky themes, but what truly attracted me to them were Gruelle's visual interpretations. They feel to me like intricate etchings carved out of the dark. His best work shines through darkness: hunchback witches with crooked fingers; beautiful maidens with young, gaunt faces; and scheming dwarfs whose thin, spindly limbs carry the weight of stolen treasures. Characters come to life by Gruelle's hand.

"The Cello Virtuoso" (2020) | Pencil and micron pen on paper. | 8.5" x 11" | original by Theodore Valerio, c. 1857