View Full Version : Once Upon A Time - Howard Pyle - September

08-31-2009, 04:26 PM
Hi, everyone!

For those who enjoy adventure, pirates and heroic looking art, Howard Pyle's work would fit the bill.


He started off only as an illustrator for Harper's Weekly and other publications but later on branched out to writing retells for the children's market. His most famous work is The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood which took him 10 years almost to complete. And from there, he was producing prolifically. Some of the works include Pepper & Salt, The Wonder Clock, Otto of the Silver Hand, Men of Iron, The Garden Behind the Moon, and the four volume Arthurian legends comprised of The Story of King Arthur and His Knights, The Story of the Champions of the Round Table, The Story of Lancelot and His Companions, and The Story of the Grail and the Passing of Arthur.

Here are some links to his works and life and I hope you would spend some time studying his work. You could draw according to his style or copy his work for practice.





You could read his books online

Of all the books and illustrations he has produced, it appears that he and the industry like his Otto of the Silver Hand the most. I saw some of the illustrations for that book and indeed they are very intricate.

08-31-2009, 04:30 PM
Here are some images of The Wonder Clock (http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.mainlesson.com/books/pyle/wonder/zpage277.gif&imgrefurl=http://www.mainlesson.com/display.php%3Fauthor%3Dpyle%26book%3Dwonder%26story%3Dpride%26PHPSESSID%3Df612c378af68d245efefa9ee08ea49e1&usg=__-lEDzfZl87WyAESz427ex7a9W1E=&h=554&w=610&sz=22&hl=en&start=377&um=1&tbnid=yAIdW2UlSkj7NM:&tbnh=124&tbnw=136&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dhoward%2Bpyle%26ndsp%3D20%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26start%3D360%26um%3D1).

Here are some of his work.








08-31-2009, 04:34 PM
A few more here.








08-31-2009, 04:37 PM
I grew up with Pepper and Salt and The Wonder Clock. Still have them. Love his illustrations. Should be a good month. :clap:

08-31-2009, 04:48 PM
This was my first practice piece in March this year when I was practicing with colored pencils and back then, I didn't realize it was Howard Pyle's work. :lol:

A5 Japanese watercolor sketchbook - hot pressed
Kimberely General's Watercolor Pencils

The Fishing of Thor and Hymir, from North Folk Legends of the Sea


Here is the original (http://www.artst.org/images/illustration/large/howard_pyle/14173593_The%20Fishing%20of%20Thor%20and%20Hymir%20%20from%20Folk%20Legends%20of%20the%20Sea%20%20Harpers%20Magazine%20%201902.jpg).

On this page (http://www.artst.org/illustration/howard_pyle/), you could see a lot of his works too.

08-31-2009, 10:17 PM
Hi Sandra...I never encountered Howard pyle's work before so it will be interesting to look & discover. I already love his figures.

08-31-2009, 11:43 PM
Great introduction, Sandra!
And you've presented some fantastic pictures here!

that "artBrowser" is a great link, too...

N.C Wyeth and Pyle are both tops in my book!
I remember both artists prominently displayed on many a Library poster in my school years!

I used Pyle's stark oil painting "Marooned" to do a poster for the Stop Art Piracy campaign over at FLICKR.
I"ll be re-posting a poster I made from his Spanish Galleon Approaching for Talk Like A Pirate Day -September 19th-on my art blog that day.


The bottom credit reads Marooned.....Howard Pyle 1909

09-01-2009, 01:59 AM
I'm really looking forward to trying this one out... pirates, swashbucklers, knights and adventure, oh yes it appeals. Love those illustrations and can't wait to get started. Too bad I have to go to work today.

Nice work, Sandra with that wc pencil sketch, lots of movement and colour. Love the hair and feeling of strength in the muscles.:thumbsup:

09-02-2009, 12:22 AM
Thank you, June, Inky for your comments. Yes, do give it a try. He has many styles there.

Chris, that is such a neat way to put the anti-piracy message across. I love that painting too.

I did a bunch of his work and I'll post one a day.


09-02-2009, 04:50 PM
Lots of movement in that, Sandra, did you use charcoal? :thumbsup:

Had lots of fun with this action shot - painted it in ink on hotpressed paper.


09-03-2009, 01:26 AM
Very cute, Inky, very cute! I love the way you colored their pants. They really look like they are duking each other out with the one in the foreground ready to lurch towards him with one more step. Very nice. You have a great eye for details.

Yes, mine was tinted charcoal.

Here's another one. This one is just graphite.


09-03-2009, 02:07 PM
Great work on the horse's legs, Sandra. So hard to get those legs right, but you did a good job. I can almost hear those hooves clopping. :thumbsup:

I once painted a horse in oils for my niece who asked "Can you paint horses?". Well, that was a challenge as far as I was concerned (I'm a bit like Marty McFly in Back to The Future when someone asks "Are you Chicken?"). In my foolishness I decided to paint a galloping horse - never again! The time I had painting, rubbing out and repainting those legs. Yikes! Next time, I shall go for head only! :lol:

09-03-2009, 09:40 PM
Haha...Inky, the first time I drew a horse, it looked a like cow. It took me a while to practice and I am still practicing. These days, when I go to the beaches, there are horses passing right in front of me while I'm drawing. It's so nice to see them closeup.

This month at the Southwest Challenge (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=8118007#post8118007), there are some horses too.

Derwent Graphitint Pencils


09-04-2009, 03:14 PM
Sandra you are getting so much energy in your drawings and Inky your duelists are really going at it with finesse.

I'm looking through my Pyle books, but am reading more than drawing. I haven't read these stories in years and am finding favorites.

Maxfield Parrish and NC Wyeth were his students and either one would be good for a future Oldies But Goodies. :heart:

09-04-2009, 03:30 PM
Wild Goose, forgot to mention your poster. It intrigued me so I went into your blog to see what else you were up to. So many interesting things to read, that I'll have to spend some time there. A really busy exciting blog. :heart:

Sam Cree
09-05-2009, 09:14 PM
Great stuff

09-05-2009, 10:34 PM
Thank you, Janet. Sam, please do join us when you have time. It'd be great if more people give it a try.

Here is another one. I had so much fun doing this one because I have never drawn pirates before.

Derwent Graphitint pencils


09-09-2009, 11:48 AM
Here is another one. It was a black and white piece and I simplified it and gave it color.

Chinese brush and ink, Derwent graphitint, used up markers....


09-12-2009, 10:18 AM
Sandra, nice action in the graphitint one and I love the colour in that last one, really brings it to life. :clap:

Here's another from me, not quite finished... need to do more washes, particularly on the right side of her hair, it looks faded out (she needs more than her roots done! :lol: ) - also sorry about her left hand, it's plain weird. :D


09-13-2009, 02:03 AM
Inky, she's looking good already. Hands and feet are the least thing I worry about and I only pay attention to them if they are in a prominent position. You have a very detailed approach to your drawings! Very refined.

Here's another one I did of Pyle. I was trying to use up my Elmer's Paintastic brushpens. I still haven't finished using them up after 8 months. Long lasting things.


09-13-2009, 10:27 AM
Hi, I just found this thread link, and I am a huge fan of Howard Pyle and the Brandywine school. For those who want even more examples of this type of art, there is an amazing book called "Visions of Adventure" (I'd add a link, but not sure if that is against the rules) I highly recommend it :thumbsup:

09-13-2009, 10:58 AM
David, you have to draw a few pieces and join us then. Pls go ahead and put the link to the book. I would like to see if my library has a copy and check more into this genre.

09-13-2009, 11:50 AM
Sandra...as usual you study the work and then make it your own. I was going to try an intricate pen and ink of a "Wonder Book" illustration, but now I think I'll follow your lead and do a looser rendition.

Inky, good start on your Ink wash. I like the long finger. Do you pencil it in first or just go for it. The drawing, not the finger? :lol:

Sam and Faded please join us, and Faded links are good. We want to know as much as we can about artist, teachings, paintings and time period.

Sandra this is a very stimulating artist...and you are a very good host :heart:

09-13-2009, 02:32 PM
I'm not sure I'm up to the masters yet, but I may give it a go. Meanwhile, here is the link to the book...


09-13-2009, 05:22 PM
Thank you, David. Yeah, I think I have checked this book out once from the library in Washington before I moved. My California library doesn't have one unfortunately. It has a lot of great photos closeup. Highly recommended.

Here is a book review (http://books.google.com/books?id=CaM8kIGUzPYC&dq=Visions+of+Adventure&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=FJmqNiyDBU&sig=USl8ZNzby77IS4LoUExDK6R5Jj0&hl=en&ei=1WGtSoyOIoiwswOl3-yKBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4#v=onepage&q=&f=false) of a good 10 pages of color photos!

Thanks for posting the link, David!

09-15-2009, 12:17 PM
Here is another one of Pyle's work that I did a composite of and simplified. Love his characters and their postures.


09-15-2009, 12:35 PM
I noticed that the verses in "The Wonder Book" were written by Katherine Pyle. Just as an aside, here is her bio.....


Born in Wilmington, the youngest child of the Pyle family, Katharine Pyle was encouraged by her brother, Howard, to pursue a career in writing and illustration. While still a child, her poem "The Piping Shepherd" was published in Atlantic Monthly. Howard Pyle asked her to contribute drawings and verses to his book The Wonder Clock, published in 1888.

Katharine Pyle studied art at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women and in her brother's illustration class at Drexel Institute. Two of her drawings were exhibited in the first exhibition of Pyle's School of Illustration at Drexel in 1897. While living in New York for four years, she wrote a play published by Ladies' Home Journal in 1896 and the book The Counterpane Fairy, published in 1898. During her career she wrote and illustrated about thirty books and illustrated a number of books by other authors, including Anna Sewell's Black Beauty in 1923. In 1924 her serialized article "The Story of Delaware" appeared in the Wilmington newspaper, the Sunday Morning Star.

Many of her stories were drawn from fairy tales, ancient myths, nursery rhymes, and stories about animals. In 1900 a series of poems about young children by Katharine Pyle, illustrated by Sarah S. Stilwell, appeared in Harper's Bazaar. In 1902 she and Bertha Corson Day, a friend at Drexel, collaborated on a book of fairy tales, Where the Wind Blows; Katharine Pyle provided the text and Bertha Day the pictures.

In 1923 the editor of Child Life magazine expressed concern about two fairy tales that Katharine had submitted for publication. The editorial policy was to keep out "the horror element and the adult experience from Child Life stories as much as possible." Katharine argued that in traditional fairy tales evil always defeated itself and that in the end good always triumphed. However, the Child Life editor argued that "lurid picturization of the hideousness of evil is usually more impressed upon the child than is the great truth that good finally triumphs." However, she continued to re-tell and illustrate fairy tales and stories from Greek and Norse mythologies throughout her career.

Katharine Pyle was an intense, public-spirited person who pressed for change in the field of social reforms. Her deep concern for troubled young people led to her involvement in the Juvenile Court of Wilmington. AS a champion of the underdog, she was responsive to anyone in need, often at her own expense. Her niece Ellen Pyle Lawrence has described her as "a brilliant and vital individual and a woman well ahead of her time." Though raised in a Quaker faith, she, like her brother, became an active member of the Swedenborgian Church.

Pyle relatives fondly recall her curious distinction of having one blue and one brown eye.

By Elizabeth H. Hawkes


Taken from Elzea, Rowland and Elizabeth H. Hawkes, eds. A Small School of Art: The Students of Howard Pyle. Wilmington: Delaware Art Museum, 1980.

back to top

09-18-2009, 01:48 PM
Thank you, Janet, for that piece on Katharine Pyle. So how are you coming along with your Pyle? Are you going to try a piece?

Where are all the Pyle lovers? :evil:

Here's another piece. Also the same Elmer's Paintastic brushpen.


09-18-2009, 02:24 PM
Trafford, thank you so much for the great info on Katherine Pyle.

Sandra, wow you've been so busy! I really like your work with the brushpen. :thumbsup:

Just finished The Lady of Ye Lake - she's happier now she's had her hair done :lol: :


In answer to your question... with this one I lightly pencilled in first and then went over with the ink, but often I just wade right in with ink (I have a lazy nature:D ).

I could have fixed the finger with a little ink, but you know, I kind of like it :cat: .

I have really been enjoying this project and I hope to fit another piece in before long.

09-18-2009, 05:29 PM
Beautiful works here, Sandra and inky. :clap: :clap:

I haven't done anything on this artist as yet...but looks like he has very adventurous subject matter...with knights and pirates and so forth!!:thumbsup:

09-18-2009, 11:01 PM
Yes, Inky, she does look a lot happier now with all the colors and intensity in! Great piece there.

Thank you for comment, and June too. Ah, Pyle is too much fun on his pirate and medieval pieces! You have to try a piece one day.

09-25-2009, 09:09 AM
Here's one more piece.


09-25-2009, 12:57 PM
You've done some wonderful Pyle feeling art this month, Sandra. You and Inky have carried the ball. I'm going to try and post something before the first. Amazing how it all gets away from you sometimes. Paint along has been there two months and I never got around to it, and it's one of my favorite projects.

Anyway, good work. :heart:

09-26-2009, 12:05 AM
I have one in mind to do and I hope to get to it this weekend!!

09-26-2009, 09:24 AM

A sketch of a hound from one of Howard Pyle's illustrations. I loved this elegant hound. I hope to do a colour version later.:p

09-26-2009, 10:57 AM
Thank you, June, Janet, for your comment. I got the Pyle book again but I'm not sure if I have time for a full color one in the next few days. I might try now that I have learnt how to do soft pastels!

Neat hound, June. Very alert expression and pose! Would love to see your color rendition soon! Feel free to post even after the month is over. I'll be here.

09-26-2009, 12:16 PM

Here's my watercolour version, 6 ins square. Managed to do it this afternoon whilst I was still in love with this greyhound!!:D

I tried a limited palette of winsor yellow, ultramarine and alizarin and it seemed to work fine. Used sponge for the bushes!!

09-26-2009, 12:52 PM
Great drawing, June and lovely watercolour too - a nice sunny painting. :clap:

09-26-2009, 01:24 PM
June, I love your greyhound. I want to adopt him. What a nice light touch you have.

I did a Pyle, but the scanner broke down or it's not communicating with the PC. What a pain! Will have to wait until my son gets home so he can take a picture. :heart:

09-26-2009, 02:59 PM
Whao, June, great colors! Was the Pyle version anywhere close to this? Your background offset it so well!!! Thank you for doing this in color!

09-26-2009, 04:04 PM
I see I went over part of his neck with the bush colour. I could have left it as edges blending into one another but decided to reclaim the white of his neck by washing some colour off. Its always a problem when you muck around with a watercolour. I hope it has improved rather than mucked it up!

Here's the neck redone version.


09-26-2009, 04:07 PM
I took the dog from an illustration something about Eileen at a window. I don't know which story this was. Do you Sandra?

I think I have a copy of the original.


You can see I missed out most of the image and concentrated on Fido!!:D

09-26-2009, 05:27 PM
June, I don't know this story but you have showcased the dog perfectly!

Sorry to disappoint you but I like the first one better. Don't change anymore now. It's good as it is now, just showing the dogs front more but the first one gives the feeling of it arching a bit more its neck and gave it a certain intensity in posture plus the vanishing edges was very effective. Now, it's more like the original of Pyle.

09-27-2009, 02:21 AM
I think you are probably right, Sandra. I won't change anything now. It was a toss up between an artistic version and a correct version. I think in future the artistic version should win in a painting. Plus, I am trying to rid myself of the horrible habit of fiddling and changing, when I should leave well alone. Its a pretty common habit...and 'improving' your painting generally means mucking it up. Lesson learned, I hope!

09-27-2009, 03:14 AM
OK, just to be Miss Awkward, I like the second one.... the dog looks healthier, not so skinny and I think you have reclaimed the white of the neck very nicely without making it at all mucky.:thumbsup:

Having said that, I liked the first one and didn't notice anything untoward so it looks like they're both winners! :clap:

Know what you mean about the temptation to fiddle, June... many's the painting I have wrecked by not knowing when to stop! :rolleyes: :)

09-27-2009, 03:41 AM
Thanks to you both. Obviously the second version is the one which stays ...as I can't go backwards with watercolour! I think I need a red light flashing or a loud claxon sounding off ....to stop me from fiddling. Inky, I too have ruined lots of paintings by fiddling.

09-27-2009, 08:14 AM
I'd adopt both greyhounds.

Pyle was a really great artist/illustrator. Maybe we can spotlight some of his students some time...Maxfield Parrish. N.C. Wyeth?

Here is my Pyle copy from the story "Peterkin and the Little Grey Hare" Peterkin is carrying off the giant's goose with the help of the hare.

By the time I got to copying the tree, I was pooped, so no giant or castle. I did learn a lot from copying though. I want to do a study of just his trees and how wonderful they look.

From "The Wonder Clock"


09-27-2009, 10:52 AM
Janet, brilliant capture of the eye expression and body language. Yeah, Pyle's forests and castles are absolutely enchanting. If you have time, study them!

09-27-2009, 03:00 PM
Janet ..that is a wonderful and lively sketch...full of humour. Your line work is lovely.

I would like to do some studies of trees in the future too! Any trees.

09-28-2009, 06:24 AM
Thanks all....yes, his trees are wonderfully gnarly. I want to try a few. They would go well in my witch paintings. :heart:

09-28-2009, 01:07 PM
Lovely work on that, Janet. :thumbsup: