Castle made his ink from soot scraped from the family’s wood burning stove mixed with his saliva. His tools were made from sharpened sticks, apricot pits, swabs of cotton, and broken pen nibs.
Without instruction, Castle taught himself how to create perspective in his drawings. It appears he learned through endless practice, repetition and experimentation.
Castle collected many matchbook covers featuring the Minneapolis-based Art Instruction School’s “Draw Me” advertisements. Castle often drew nearly exact copies of such ephemera.
This photograph is believed to date from the early 1950s, when Castle was in his early fifties. He typically worked at a modest wooden desk, hunched over, inches from the drawing at hand, working quickly and assuredly.
Though Castle lived most of his life in remote rural areas of Idaho, he accessed a much broader world through printed materials. He came of age during the heyday of newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals, all of which were overflowing with rich graphics, photographs, and text that provided inspiration for his art.
Castle meticulously sewed together pieces of cardboard and other recycled materials to create boxes to house his drawings for safekeeping.