IntroductionYou might not know the name Howard Pyle, but you are most certainly familiar his work. Pyle wrote The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood as well as a four-volume King Arthur set that are still in print and popular today. He began his career as an artist but eventually wrote and illustrated his own children stories and young-adult books. Due to the violent nature of some of the Robin Hood tales, Pyle changed them to be more suitable for children. In fact, not a single one of his stories was entirely original. He instead took existing tales and wove them together to create his own vision. It’s a technique that worked well: to this day, Pyle and the legend of Robin Hood are indelibly linked.
- Pyle was well respected during his time. Vincent van Gogh was a great admirer and once wrote, “His work struck me dumb with admiration.”
- Pyle was brought up as a Quaker and was encouraged to go to college until his family realized that art was his true calling.
- He taught illustration at Drexel University and eventually started his own art school. He taught many students who later went on to become famous artists, including N. C. Wyeth and Jessie Wilcox Smith.
- Pyle used a pen-and-ink style for most of his illustrations because it was reminiscent of the wood-engraved drawings he saw so often in his childhood.
- Pyle spent the last year of his life living in Florence, Italy, and studying mural painting.