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

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'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 covers for other authors. This drawing is one of several Warhol completed as a study for the cover of a crime 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. This illustration combines marbleised paper, which Warhol was experimenting with at this time, and his blotted-line technique. He has also included a cut-out shape of a figure that appears to be running, although it also resembles the line drawn around dead bodies at crime scenes. The dark marbleised background adds to the ominous feeling.

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.

Blotted-Line Technique


  • Acc. No. AR00244
  • Medium Ink, watercolour and graphite on paper
  • Size 27.20 x 23.70 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