The Art of Dracula of Transylvania by Ricardo Delgado
Clover Press (February 2023)
200 pages; $53.53 hardcover
Reviewed by Danica Davidson
The Art of Dracula of Transylvania is a complementary art book going with the illustrated novel Dracula of Transylvania. Not all of Ricardo Delgado’s artwork made it into the novel, but thankfully this book is here so people can still see his many macabre, imaginative and morbid creations.
Published as a handsome hardcover, with a foreword from writer and filmmaker Donald F. Glut and an afterword from writer and filmmaker Gary D. Rhodes, the book is about two hundred pages of conceptual art. Delgado gives commentary to each of his artworks, ranging from a few sentences to multiple paragraphs. The commentary might include what he was thinking about when making his art, what writers, artists or filmmakers influenced this style, or even which pictures would most horrify his devout family members. There’s some tongue-in-cheek and punny writing, and there’s also a lot of insight. Delgado has worked in Hollywood for years as a conceptual designer and illustrator, so sometimes he remarks on how difficult something would be to make for a Hollywood movie, or gives tips he learned while working at Disney Animation. Some of these comments could be very helpful to aspiring artists who could learn from a professional.
So what sorts of designs are in there? There are a number of manifestations of Dracula, many images of buildings that are in the novel, as well as drawings of other characters, like Dracula’s brides. Normal, human characters like Jonathan or Mina are not in this book. Quite a bit of it concentrates on various demonic or evil figures, like werewolves, goblin vampires, and other mythological creatures, some of whom are from legends, and some of whom are made up by Delgado. Some of his remarks flesh out ideas and notions from the novel, adding more depth to them. The artwork tends to stay dark and doesn’t use a lot of color — except for red, of course. There is plenty of blood in these pages. A person could also look at this book on its own if they’re interested in morbid, supernatural art and would be interested in professional and personal comments from the artist.
Delgado also likes to share this influences, and the end of the book includes recommendations on vampire movies and books. The very last page, for anyone interested, offers up the music he was listening to while working on these designs, in case they could be helpful for another person. One can tell from reading this (as well as reading the Dracula of Transylvania novel) that Delgado is very interested in movies, art, literature and history, and he mentions anything and everything from M.R. James to Umberto Eco to Akira Kurosawa to Universal movies to kaiju. Fans of Delgado’s novel, fans of Dracula or horror art, or people interested in dark art books would probably be those most interested in this piece.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Be sure to check out Danica Davidson’s interview with Richard Delgado to learn more about his various Dracula projects!)