Folk-Inspired Illustrations Tell the Tales of Murders (and Beyond)



Murder ballad illustration by Katy Horan

The Bloody Gardener (murder ballad) 

Have you ever heard a murder ballad? It’s a song that narrates, as the name suggests, a murder. Gruesome, yes, but it’s a long musical tradition. Murder ballads predate standard music notation and date back to the Middle Ages; 17th century Europe saw them printed and sold on broadsheets. Artist and illustrator Katy Horan imagined two of these classic tunes called The Dreadful Wind and Rain and The Bloody Gardener. In each image, she uses her folk-inspired style and expert use of inky tones to produce a moody scene that’s dark yet not gruesome. This same aesthetic is present beyond the murder ballads, from her Literary Witches to characters from the likes of classic literature.

Katy has recently reopened her online shop with prints, cards, and original works of art. Check it out and look for updates on her Instagram!

Murder ballad illustration by Katy Horan

The Dreadful Wind and Rain (murder ballad) 

Katy Horan creates beautifully dark folk-inspired illustrations that often focus on classic literature.

Folk inspired illustration by Katy Horan

Cinderella

Folk inspired illustration by Katy Horan

Folk inspired illustration by Katy Horan

Folk inspired illustration by Katy Horan

Folk inspired illustration by Katy Horan

Folk inspired illustration by Katy Horan

Folk inspired illustration by Katy Horan

She has recently re-opened her online shop, and it includes prints, cards, and original art.

Folk inspired illustration by Katy Horan

Portrait of Lucy Westenra from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. (As a Halloween card!)

Folk inspired illustration by Katy Horan

Folk inspired illustration by Katy Horan

Folk inspired illustration by Katy Horan

Folk inspired illustration by Katy Horan

Folk inspired illustration by Katy Horan

Folk inspired illustration by Katy Horan

Folk inspired illustration by Katy Horan

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