Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Vintage Cow Illustration

Some people collect depression glass 
(Oh, so pretty!)
Some people collect thimbles or spoons or tea cups.

When my husband gave me a gift certificate to the antique store for my birthday
with the added gift of baby-sitting the kids at home while I roamed the aisles,
my bliss took me to the bookshelves to rummage for what I have a passion for:
I collect old books with beautiful illustrations.
I am particular about the age, the look, and the price.
When one is found that is chock full of wonderful illustrations,
I am giddy with my prize.

I admire the way so many of the old books were so carefully illustrated
and try to mimic their technique in my own drawings.

Of course, many of the illustrations made before the late 1800's were actually created on blocks of wood
and then carved for their reproduction into book form,
sometimes by the artist, but usually by another artist specializing as a draughtsman or wood engraver.
(You can read and see some interesting information on this if you click >HERE<)

It is great to admire artists and try to duplicate their style of work
and then because you are an individual, your artwork will be different.

Here is a piece of illustration from a book called Play Days that was published in the late 1800's.

It is a small illustration, measuring 5" by 3 1/2", taking up about 1/3 of the page...

but the detail of the artwork is amazing to me!

 I take pictures of these illustrations with my camera because I find that they come out much clearer than when I tried to scan them through my printer.

 I cleaned the image up using my computer photo editor,

 and as I did so, I zoomed in on parts of the picture
to find how incredible the detailing is.

 My daughter said to me the other day that the picture she had to draw for her art class was too detailed.

After seeing how detailed this picture is
I cannot imagine how much time it took.

 Here is a picture of the dog zoomed in and cleaned up...

...and here he is zoomed in straight from the picture I took of the book.
He looks a bit like our Border Collie mix and as interested in the cows, too.

You are welcome to use any of these prints.
They are not copy-righted because of their age,
as far as I know.

 I enjoy using old illustrations on cards.

Scenes like this draw a person in...
reminding us of simpler times:

old moo-ly cows.

Linking to:


  1. this was great -thanks for sharing!

  2. I love the detail in the woodcut illustration you show. The amount of work and craftsmanship to produce just one picture like this is mind boggling. We need to appreciate fine craftsmanship a bit more these days. And, I need to do more work in pen and ink. Thanks for the kick start.

    1. Yes, the craftsmanship and skill people put into their work in years past is pretty amazing! Thank you for commenting!

  3. What amazing details! I remember my art teacher making us do a stippling drawing. I really did not have the patience to do my one little drawing. I am amazed at the carver you had to carve the detail--esp. the stippling! Thank you for linking this up with Rustic Restorations Weekend!

    1. Yes, amazing! Stippling is quite a task, isn't it?

  4. Love these pictures. I'm just seeing this one now. Saved this one to practice. YAY!!


Thanks for your thoughts! If you have a question, I'll try to answer it.