Saturday, January 28, 2012


Howard Pyle illustrated more than 125 books. 

Of those books, he wrote 24 himself. 

Of those 24 books, one-- Pepper and Salt-- contained 90 of his illustrations.

Of those 90 illustrations, one was this small pen and ink headpiece of a girl with 17 geese:

Many thanks to Molly and Mary at the Delaware Art Museum for locating this drawing that I recalled seeing there 20 years ago.

The first thing you notice about these 17 geese is that Pyle treated each one differently, with its own angle or stance or personality.  Each has its own dignity: 

There are no stray lines to suggest geese in the background that Pyle didn't feel like drawing completely.  No Photoshop.  No photocopiers.

Charles Dickens wrote:
I should never have made my success in life if I had been shy of taking pains, or if I had not bestowed upon the least thing I have ever undertaken exactly the same attention and care that I have bestowed upon the greatest.

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