The Written Image: The Writer's Brush

The line, as it were, between the written word and the visual arts is fine (and becoming noticeably finer, as graphic novels gain prominence). After all, both involve "dark marks on white paper," as John Updike observes in an essay in The Writer's Brush: Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture by Writers by Donald Friedman, released earlier this fall by Mid-List Press, an independent publisher in Minneapolis. The drawings below—clockwise from top left: Social Activities by William Faulkner, Self-portrait by Booth Tarkington, Melting Pot by Tom Wolfe, and Self-portrait with fly by Günter Grass—are among the doodles, sketches, paintings,

etchings, watercolors, and sculptures that appear in the book. From an illustration by Kathy Acker to a pastel by W. B. Yeats, an oil painting by e. e. cummings to a silkscreen by Kurt Vonnegut, the tome includes more than four hundred color reproductions of art by more than two hundred writers. While it's not as pretty to look at, the text that accompanies each image provides some biographical and contextual information about each writer-artist. Readers are likely familiar with the images these authors have rendered in print; The Writer's Brush offers a colorful catalogue of those they've rendered in paint.