Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Charming Talk with Alpheus Sherwin Cody

The following tidbit comes from the article “Artist-Authors” by Alpheus Sherwin Cody in the May 26, 1894, issue of The Outlook:
Howard Pyle says that he thinks every illustrator should be also a writer, though not every writer can be his own illustrator, for the reason that drawing requires a technical skill which is not by any means so easy to acquire as the more natural art of writing. Mr. Pyle has succeeded very distinctly as a writer as well as an artist, and we find Smedley writing articles, and Reinhart and Remington, not to mention Mary Hallock Foote, who is more of an author than an artist, she maintains.

I had a charming talk with Mr. Pyle recently, regarding the connection between illustration and writing fiction, during which he made the following interesting explanation:

“My own writing has come as naturally with my drawing as it possibly could. In writing, one gets a vague impression of a face. It is an impression, not a vivid delineation. For instance, one cannot so easily call to memory the features of an intimate friend as those of one with whom he is not so well acquainted. It is as if the features of the flesh dissolve into the soul that gives them life. One grows to know the soul better than the face. So it is with the face in a story. In a story you get the soul. The pencil gives a body to the words of the author, for as he clothes them they must henceforth walk in the world. That is why I say the art of writing and delineation ought to go hand in hand.”

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