In my honors course, the topic of the week is illustration. Unfortunately, my baby is what I used to call a “big girl book”…alas, my baby has no pictures. That being said, let’s take a look at what my baby does have–a beautiful title page and artful endpapers.

My baby's title page, again

We’ll start with the former. I have spent a good bit of time studying and admiring my baby’s ornate title page, and I have come up with a theory concerning its creation. I think it was engraved. Obviously, being first printed in 1906, someone had to have drawn it first, but afterward, I believe it became a wood engraving.

Let me explain what this means.  First, an artist draws up a draft of the illustration to be printed. This is then transferred to the surface of the wood block, usually by either gluing the paper to the wood or by simply drawing the design directly onto the wood. The engraver then uses a tool called a graver to carve the design into the wood; afterwards, the block is inked and printed (Chappell and Bringhurst, 185-187). I know I am not the best person for explaining how-to guides, so here is a link and a video to clear up any confusion.

As for my baby’s endpapers, I feel very blessed to have chosen the book I now call my baby, if only for the lovely endpapers inside it. As you likely well know by now, my baby belongs to the Everyman’s Libary, the title of which was inspired by the play Everyman. To honor that inspiration, my baby’s endpapers contain a very artful rendering of one of the play’s characters (Good Deeds) and a quote from the play; you can read the quote from the picture below.

To quote the famous Stevie Wonder’s song, “Isn’t she lovely?”

My baby’s endpapers

References

Chappell, Warren, and Robert Bringhurst. A Short History of the Printed Word. 2nd ed. Vancouver: Hartley & Marks Publishers Inc, 1999.

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