This is a recent drawing I made of the Hohenschwangau Castle. I took a trip to the German Alps, not too long ago. We had a great time. One of the highlights of the trip was our tour of the Castles in this region. Hohenschwangu was the summer castle of King Maximilian of Bavaria.
I’ve been drawing quite a bit lately. Drawing…and reading. I’m reading an oversized book that highlights the ten greatest illustrators of America. I have to point out that the book is oversized, because it makes it a bit silly to try and read. Unless I want to hunch over a coffee table (which supports the book properly, but not my back) I have to sit back on the couch, put a pillow on my lap and put double pillows on my left side. The pillow on my lap supports the base of the book and the double pillows support the left side of the book so it doesn’t flop down too low. Silly, right?
Lives of the artists and their illustrations aside; I’ve learned a lot about printing, books, and literacy in America in the late 19th century and early 20th century. My favorite fact is that there were only 700 periodicals in print in America in the year 1865. Amazing to think about, right? I can’t begin to guess how many books are in print today.
My favorite fact about illustrating in early America is that these artists were only as good as their engraver. See, the artists did the drawing, and the engraver carved the plates for printing. So, the rendition of the original drawing could only be as good as the engraver. (The industrial revolution had a lot to due with the improvement of this situation.)
Here’s a drawing from an artist I admire. Howard Pyle. This is an engraver’s print. I like pen and ink drawings with lots of detail. I think there is a richness in the simplicity and the tiny lines. Images such as this inspired my drawing above. To my advantage, I did not have to wait for an engraver to carve a plate so that I may reproduce my drawing. If I had, you’d still be waiting for me to print this article.