On the Road, Illustrated

“On the Road” Illustrated

Illustrator Paul Rogers recently completed illustrating Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road”—he made one black and white drawing for each of the novel’s 309 pages. The work is fantastic; it’s lively and bold and improvisational and clever, just like the book itself. Rogers posted the drawings in a series of very tall scrolling blog posts, which you can see collected here. A few examples below.

On the Road, Illustrated
On the Road, Illustrated

Unsurprisingly, Rogers’s project attracted a lot of interest and Viking Penguin had even considered publishing it—but the work apparently did not meet with approval from the Kerouac Estate. Rogers writes:

They decided not to grant permission because they feel that the project ‘detracts from the book,’ is a ‘dumbing down’ of On the Road, and ‘diminishes the aura’ that the novel possesses. We disagree, but it seems the Estate has made up its mind about it.

For such an iconoclastic book, that response strikes me as remarkably tone deaf.

See all of Rogers’s “On the Road” drawings at drawger.com, and see more of his work at paulrogersstudio.com.