Art Journey Challenges, Launch Pad

Art Journey #1: The Illuminated Illustrations of Aubrey Beardsley

The book was called Le Morte d’Arthur, a (relatively) modern reworking of the existing Arthurian legends by Sir Thomas Malory. The London publisher, J.M. Dent & Co. sought an artist to make the stories come to life. They chose a 20-year old insurance-office clerk and art student named Aubrey Vincent Beardsley to illustrate the massive undertaking. To Dent, the quality of Beardsley’s monochromatic illustrations rendered in pen and ink was captivating, and he also felt that the young up-and-coming artist would be enticed by the meager fee he could pay for this huge task. He was hired on the spot.

Excalibur in the Lake (1893)
Aubrey Beardsley
pen and ink

It took two years for the 12 parts of this tome to be issued between June 1893 and 1894. This project culminated in over 360 full- and double-page drawings, borders, chapter headings and ornaments, many repeated throughout for a grand total of over 1,000 individual illustrations.

Can you imagine how heady it must have been to be such a young man entrusted with such a daunting task for such an already classic work?

How Four Queens Found Launcelot Sleeping (1893)
Aubrey Beardsley
pen and ink

At first, the young artist sought to emulate his own artistic heroes, but Dent was furious that he was plagiarizing another. So Beardsley switched things up and quickly developed and explored his own style, which included motifs from Greek vase painting, Japanese printmaking, caricature, and sixteenth century Italian illustration. This book has since been hailed as Beardsley’s first masterpiece, and launched what is known as the “Beardsley look.”

How Morgan Le Fay Gave a Shield to Sir Tristram (1894)
Aubrey Beardsley
pen and ink

Aubrey Vincent Beardsley (August 21, 1872-March 16, 1898) was an English illustrator and author. He was a prominent leader of the Aesthetic movement and contributed to the development of the Art Nouveau and poster style.

Beardsley was born in Brighton, England to Vincent Paul Beardsley and Ellen Agnus Pitt. In 1883 the family settled in London and the following year, Beardsley appeared in public with his sister as an “infant musical phenomenon.” In 1885 he attended Brighton, Hove and Sussex Grammar School for four years, writing poems and making illustrations and cartoons that appeared in the school’s magazine, “Past and Present.”In 1888 he started working for the Guardian Life and Fire Insurance Company. But his artistic mentors, Sir Edward Burne-Jones and Pierre Puvis de Chavannes suggested that he take up art, and in 1892 he started attending classes at the Westminster School of Art.

How Sir Tristram Drank of the Love Drink (1894)
Aubrey Beardsley
pen and ink

It was at this time that Beardsley travelled to Paris and discovered the poster art of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Japanese prints that were all the rage in Paris, both influences on his art journey. Most of his images are done in ink and feature large dark areas contrasted with large blank ones, and areas of fine detail contrasted with areas with none at all.

Beardsley only had six years of creative output before his untimely death at the age of 25 from genetic tuberculosis.

What is the Art Journey Challenge?

Every six weeks or so we will challenge our readers to create jewelry inspired by the featured artwork or collection of art or theme. Use any or all of the artworks as your guide to the challenge: color, theme, motif, style, etc. You have until the end of the Art Journey period to share your work and then we pick one winner to receive beads and jewelry-making supplies from our editors and sponsors that will work with our NEXT Art Journey to hopefully inspire you to continue joining the challenges. Our only rule?
You must use at least one art bead in your piece!

We need to emphasize that all art provided on the Art Bead Scene is for inspiration and education only. No art may be downloaded or replicated in your art. Please bear that in mind. 

How to Enter the Monthly Jewelry Challenge:

Create something using an art bead that fits within our monthly theme. This challenge is open to jewelry-makers, fiber artists, collage artist, etc. The art bead can be created by you or someone else. The challenge is to inspire those who use art beads and to see all the different ways art beads can be incorporated into your handiwork. An art bead must be used in your piece to qualify for the monthly challenge. Upload your photo to our photo album. Include a short description, who created the art beads and a link to your blog or shop, if you have one.

NEW! Entries will now be posted at our Art Bead Scene Lounge page on Facebook! Go to the Albums, find the one corresponding to the current Art Journey challenge, and post your images there. Remember that each entry is a chance to win! Be sure to add the hashtag #artjourneyone to your post.

Deadline to enter is Friday, February 14th.

You may upload as many entries as you like per Art Journey, as long as they follow the guidelines. (Please be patient as they are approved by one of our editors to post in the Album). Our prize for Art Journey #1 will be given away from a random draw of all entries on February 14th with our prize package donated by Erin Prais-Hintz that will be perfect for use with the Art Journey #2! We hope this will encourage you to play along!

Monthly Challenge Winners

One prize winner will be selected at random from all pictures posted in our new Facebook albums!
• The winner will be randomly chosen from all the qualifying entries on February 14th.
• Be sure to point out all the art bead artists in your work in the description of the photos when you upload to the new gallery. Links to their website or shop are appreciated. That way we can all find new art beads to love!

What is an Art Bead?

An art bead is a bead, charm, button or finding made by an independent artist. Art beads are the vision and handiwork of an individual artist.

***A bead that is handmade is not necessarily an art bead. Hill Tribe Silver, Kazuri ceramic beads or lampwork beads made in factories are examples of handmade beads that are not considered art beads. Beaded beads, stamped metal pendants or wire-wrapped components are not considered art beads for our challenge.***

Bead Artists

Feel free to share beads that you made inspired by our challenge in our gallery. You can enter multiple submissions for each challenge. We love to promote new artists and share what you’ve created! Be sure to add some links so that we can know where to find more of your art beads!

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1 Comment

  1. […] out a teaser for their next nine art journeys, and this is going to be a great, inspiring year! Art Journey One features pen and ink illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley from the book Le Morte d’Arthur from the […]

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