Writers Who Were Artists


Hans Christian Andersen - Andersen made delightful paper cut-outs with which he entertained children and adults while telling his stories.

William Blake - Blake was a highly influential artist as well as poet.

Lewis Carroll - Carroll's first version of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland contained his own drawings, and he initially wanted the book published with his own illustrations. He was also an excellent photographer.

Bruce Chatwin - Chatwin's astonishing photographs may be seen in Photographs and Notebooks, as well as on the covers of several of his books. Here's the cover of Far Journeys.


Annie Dillard - Dillard attended art school. She drew the lovely little shrub that serves as a decoration in Teaching a Stone to Talk.

Isak Dinesen - Dinesen first trained as an artist, and was arguably the most talented of the lot. One of her paintings of a Kikuyu maiden was used on the cover of a Penguin Out of Africa.

Lawrence Durrell - Durrell did watercolors in a style reminiscent of Raoul Dufy.

William Faulkner - In college, Faulkner did dainty art-decoish drawings.

Rudyard Kipling - Kipling, whose father was an art teacher, did the excellent wood engravings for Just So Stories.

D.H. Lawrence - In his later years, Lawrence started doing oil paintings.

Wyndham Lewis - Lewis was as well known for his paintings as for his novels. Above is a portrait of Ezra Pound.

Henry Miller - Miller wrote books about his painting. Here is a painting of his lover Anais Nin.

Vladimir Nabokov - Nabokov drew fictional butterflies for his wife Vera's copies of his novels.

Orhan Pamuk - In Istanbul: Memories and the City, Pamuk describes drawing and painting the city, and seducing his first lover by enticing her into his studio as a model.

Mervyn Peake - Peake was a very fine illustrator, as may be seen in his drawings for The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti was perhaps a better painter than poet. He was a leader of the Pre-Raphaelite movement.

William Makepeace Thackeray trained as an artist. His illustrations for Vanity Fair are wonderful.


J.R.R. Tolkien - Tolkien's fine artwork may be seen on the covers of a number of his fantasy novels, as well as in The Father Christmas Letters.

John Updike - Updike spent a year at the Ruskin School of Drawing and has written extensively on art and artists.

Kurt Vonnegut - Breakfast of Champions is full of Vonnegut's lively drawings. He developed an interest in silk-screen printing, samples of which may be seen here. Note the flavicon!