Monday, June 15, 2015

Dark Arts: Paying Homage To M.R. James

"Casting the Runes" ~ Bukowski
~by Marie Robinson

We are big fans of M.R. James here at Fascination With Fear.   His classic stories of ghosts, curses, and monsters are sure to deliver a shiver down your spine and leave your mind filled with ghastly images to follow you to bed at night. It’s no wonder, then, that his tales would provide inspiration for dozens of artists. Today I wanted to highlight three modern artists that have paid homage to the late great Mr. James.

Hannah Cooper is a young woman from the UK.  She illustrates books (a few being The Bloody Chamber and Bram Stoker’s Dracula), runs her own shop (, and shares her wonderfully fun sketchbooks online at her website ( Ms. Cooper undertook a project of illustrating M.R. James’ anthology Casting the Runes and Other Stories, and the result is a delightfully eerie batch of black and white etchings.

I find a touch of Edward Gorey in Hannah’s illustrations, which adds a disturbing tone of childlike whimsy to them. It’s like seeing something evil through a child’s eyes, and leaves you with an uncomfortable (but now unwelcome) sensation. I’ve selected several of her drawings below, but you can view them all at her website.

"Whistle and I'll Come to You"

"The Tractate Middoth"

"Number 13"

"A School Story"

A.E. Brown is a Delaware-based illustrator who, like our aforementioned artist, has a fun sense of humor but can also scare the crap out of you. Brown is an illustrator who frequently works on comics, and who also happens to have a lovely collection of M.R. James-inspired paintings. If you had any doubt that James is a master of terrifying tales, then Brown will convince you with his heart-stopping images. Seriously, we’re talking nightmare-fuel. Brown has lovingly illustrated over a dozen of James’ stories, which you can view by scrolling through his tumblr ( You can also check out his shop, here (

"The Residence at Westminster"

"The Ash Tree"

"Number 13"

"A Vignette"

Last but not least is Michael Bukowski, an artist from New Jersey who makes a living by making flyers, shirts, records, and etc for punk bands. By following him on Instagram ( I found out about a very intriguing hobby of his—illustrating horror stories. Well, it’s a little more specific than that; Bukowski takes the ghastly, unimaginable creatures dreamed up by authors like Lovecraft, Ramsey Campbell, and, of course, M.R. James and brings them to life. Bukowski has gathered a whole zine’s worth of M.R. James ghouls, but unfortunately for us, was only released in a limited quantity. So, enjoy here what you can for free, and check out his wonderfully fun blog (, and, of course, his shop (

"The Treasure of Abbott Thomas"

"The Diary of Mr Poynter"

"Canon Alberic's Scrapbook"

If you haven’t gotten enough M.R. James artwork (how could you?), please check out our good friend James Gracey’s appreciation post, here.

No comments: