Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sir John Tenniel

Sir John Tenniel was born in 1820 in London, England. He studied at the Royal Academy of Arts and in 1836 he sent his first picture to the exhibition of the Society of British Artists. In 1845, Tenniel submitted a cartoon, An Allegory of Justice, to a mural competition for the new Palace of Westminster, and received a commission to paint a fresco in the House of Lords. He became well known for his original and good-humored political cartoons in Punch, but is best remembered for his illustrations in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland as well as Through the Looking Glass. Sir Tenniel's style of drawing ranged from "high art" to "scholarly caricature." Roger Simpson described it as "an often forced formal art contrast[ing] with a comic art of almost unprecedented vigor and inventiveness" (Sir John Tenniel, 11).

The first drawing is called "Do I look very pale?" and was drawing by Tenniel in 1872. It was an illustration for Through the Looking Glass. The second drawing is called "London's Nightmare," drawn in 1866. The last drawing is called "A Pan-Anglican Oversight," drawn in 1867.

I chose these three drawings because they show the different types of drawings that Sir John Tenniel did. The first one is representative of all of his illustrations for Lewis Carroll's books. The second show's Tenniel's political drawing side, and the third shows a more realistic approach to drawing as opposed to satirical or caricaturistic. His style, however, remains constant between each drawing. He uses mostly lines in his work, even when creating values. He creates cross-hatching patterns most of the time to achieve darker areas in his illustrations. Tenniel is very good at not making his drawings look messy even with all of the lines going in various directions. I like Sir Tenniel's style not only because is it more lines than values, but also because he pays very close attention to detail and manages to create cartoons with detailed features. He is able to capture the silly nature of what he is depicting without losing realistic touches in his work.

Simpson, Roger. Sir John Tenniel: Aspects of his work. Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses, Inc., 1994.

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