The Art of Charles Vess

My first exposure to Charles Vess was through his collaboration with Neil Gaiman for "Stardust." Vess' work there particularly reminded me of the old fairytale books I read as a child*. Maybe because Stardust is a fairytale for adults, or maybe the period the story is set in. Aesthetically, his character's features are not my type, but I love the attention he gives to details, the color he uses and how each artwork evokes emotion.

Charles Vess at the 2004 Comic Con (Source)

Dark Horse Books has released "Drawing Down the Moon: The Art of Charles Vess," an compliation of Vess' works over the years. The beautiful illustrations are accompanied by comment from Charles Vess himself, describing his adventures as a painter, sculptor and publisher.

Aside from Neil Gaiman, Charles Vess has worked with writers like Susanna Clarke (Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell) and George R.R. Martin. He is the recepient of such awards like The Will Eisner Comics Industry Award, World Fantasy Award, and Spectrum Annual Award.

*In the foreword, author Susanna Clarke mentions that there is something "unsettingly familiar" with Vess' works, and goes on to mention names of Edwardinian story-book illustrators like Authur Rackham, Charles Robinson and Kay Nielsen. I didn't recognize the names at first, but when I saw their work, I knew what Clarke was talking about. Those were the artists whose works I saw many years ago.


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