'The Runaway Pigeon'
© The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London 2015

Reference URL

'The Runaway Pigeon' 1953

Not on display

  • Artist Rooms
Throughout his career Warhol created numerous artist books based on his drawings. However, he also designed book covers for other authors. These drawings are a study for the front and back covers of a novel by Leslie Edgley called ‘The Runaway Pigeon’ (titled ‘Diamonds Spell Death’ outside America). The story involves a heist in a diamond merchants followed by a chase across several American states. The two illustrations combine marbleised paper, which Warhol was experimenting with at this time, and his blotted-line technique. There are also handwritten annotations and a rectangle marked around part of the drawing, indicating a selection that he would perhaps like to use as the cover.

Glossary Open

Blotted-Line Technique

Andy Warhol first experimented with this form of print-making whilst a student and it would later characterise his commercial work of the 1950s. With two sheets of paper hinged together, a pencil drawing is made on one sheet which is subsequently traced over with ink. Whilst the ink is still wet the sheets of paper are pressed together, thus transferring the line. The result is a broken, yet apparently intuitive, line drawing.

Marbled Paper

Blotted-Line Technique, Marbled Paper


  • Acc. No. AR00243
  • Medium Ink, watercolour and graphite on paper
  • Size 26.90 x 29.50 cm
  • Credit ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008