Monday, December 30, 2013

Featured Collection: Crysanthemum in Japanese Designs

While we're still in the throes of the holiday season, at DoverPictura we're combing through our archives with sunnier times in mind- that's why you'll find a few intriguing new-to-Pictura floral collections popping up on our site, including this week's featured collection- Chrysanthemum in Japanese Designs.

Imported from China during the eighth century, the chrysanthemum has long served as the official flower of Japan. The Japanese monarchy is known as the Chrysanthemum Throne, and the exquisite blossom is widely revered as a symbol of longevity, dignity, and nobility. This volume, reproduced from a rare and expensive publication, features more than 120 color woodblock images of the lovely perennials. 

You can download the full collection for $15.99 or any individual image sheet for just $0.99 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Brief Respite from Winter

Ok, so winter's coming on. Actually, we're already six days into it, and before we embark on a full ninety some-odd days of frost and snow I thought that I'd throw out one more little burst of green. That said, this week's featured collection is Botanical Plates of Basilius Besler:

This collection, in relation to all other botanicals, occupies a special and pivotal position. Prior to its publication this type of portfolio or book served a practical role. Typically, the plants depicted were of a utilitarian value–usually medicinally or culinarily. Illustrations tended to be crude, and the plants were rendered in a single color of ink. They appeared very much like this:

Now, I find the above illustrations quite useful graphically, but that's from a vantage point out about 500 years from their creation. What was startling and revolutionary about Besler's work was not only the accuracy with which the plants were rendered, but that in the deluxe edition they were hand-colored, as well. This 'luxury' edition sold at its initial publication for 500 Florins, and it has been stated that with the proceeds of the sale of five of these hand-colored versions Besler was able to purchase a very  'comfortable' home in one of the better sections of Nuremburg, Germany.

Equally unique was the fact that Besler's horticultural reproduced many renderings of plants kept simply for their aesthetic value; it was a thing to be admired for its beauty–a 16th century coffee table book. (It should be noted that Besler did publish a more utilitarian edition, which was uncolored and sold for a mere 35 florins). Also of note is the scale of the publication itself– approximately 22 x 18". This was, for its day, a luxurious trim size, and it afforded Besler and his various engravers the ablility to depict many plants at nearly life size.

Below is a mini-selection from this collection to entice you. When you consider purchasing this collection, please keep in mind what I said above about the original price!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Vintage Christmas—A look inside the definitive Christmas Collection

We have two collections called 'Vintage Christmas' here at DoverPictura; one's called A Vintage Christmas, the other, Vintage Christmas—how clever of us! The simple addition (or deletion, as the case may be) of an indefinite article and we have a new title! We adhere to the belief that the world holds just so many titles, and that it's our responsibility to squeeze as many publications into each of them as we can. We had a post a few days back about A Vintage Christmas, now it's time for a look inside Vintage Christmas.

So, it's getting late. It's December 19th. You're in a jam. You didn't get Christmas Cards out—you didn't even buy any! This is the collection to help you out–download it, it's jammed-full of great vintage Christmas cards (over 90 in all) that are formatted to easily print out on an 8 1/2 by 11" sheet of card stock—then all you have to do is fold the sheet and cut them out. But wait, you don't have any envelopes (what have you been doing this last month, anyway?) It's OK. There's also a great selection of postcards, too (but you're on your own for the stamps).

Here's a typical template for a fold-card from the collection–

And here's a template for a postcard. They print out two per sheet, so you can save even more paper than you're already saving by having forgotten to get envelopes...

Wrapping presents? No wrapping paper? The backgrounds on many of the sheets in this collection are printable JPGs of wrapping paper. Unless you've got a really big printer I hope you're giving some nice small gifts.... (like diamonds). Below is a sample of one of the wrapping paper images.
Want to tuck the children into bed on Christmas Eve and recite The Night Before Christmas to them? Forgotten the words? Lost the book? There's a wonderful facsimile of a mid-century edition reproduced in the collection (in its entirety).

Beside all of this useful stuff the collection includes a great selection of vintage & mid-century clip art, sticker art,  gift tags, and even the sheet music for Jingle Bells (I'm not kidding). Anyway, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Clip Art in Play – Pat Bliss interprets Noelle Dahlen

A few years ago while formulating the Clip Art of Machine Embroidery series I had the pleasure of getting to know master machine embroiderer, Pat Bliss. I called upon her for technical guidance about the selection and processing of images for those books. Pat lives here in Santa Fe, and beside her many other talents and interests she is a machine embroiderer and pattern-maker extraordinaire.

Pat rocks. She rocks so hard that we started calling her the Jimi Hendrix of machine embroidery. In retrospect, and based on Pat's own assessment, I'd actually like to change that moniker–she's the Jeff Beck of machine embroidery. To my ear Hendrix was all passion and inspiration, Jeff Beck, on the other hand, was this amazing combination of inspiration and execution. There's something of the 'empassioned engineer' about his playing; so it is with Pat. She even told me once that she sees the task of creating a good pattern as an engineering problem.
    So this past summer I gave Pat a bunch of Christmas clip art to evaluate for another machine embroidery project (it's still under wraps so I cannot divulge many details). She ended up taking a set of Noelle Dahlen's lovely little Christmas characters, and turned them into some fantastic embroideries.

Here are Noelle's originals.....

And here's a sampling of Pat's sewn out embroideries.....

Check out the collection Merry Christmas on for more contemporary 
Christmas clip art!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Featured Collection: Vintage Christmas

Oh, the weather outside is frightful...really! With single digit temperatures in such unlikely places as Texas and California, it seems like the perfect time to settle down for a long winter's nap...or maybe just hunker down with a fun holiday craft project! Luckily, our very best holiday collections are available for fast, easy downloading. See all of our beautiful and timeless Christmas and Holiday clip art.

This week's featured collection is Vintage Christmas. The holiday spirit of Charles Dana Gibson, Helen Dryden, and other early 20th-century artists shines through in this festive collection of over 55 images. Color and black-and-white illustrations capture the spirit of Christmas with images of St. Nick, families gathered around the tree, holidays feasts, a 1902 cover of Life magazine, and more. 

You can download the full collection for $12.99 or any individual image sheet for just $0.99 and some vintage warmth to your projects!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Typologies of Santa

I've been snooping around inside the collection Full-Color Decorative Christmas Illustrations (048699967X); there's a lot of different motifs in this collection: angels, holly, children—but the motif nonpareil is definitely Santa.

When confronted with the kind of diversity that this collection presents, I slip into long-standing behavior patterns—I sort. I can't resist it, I'm a born taxonomist. The first thing that you notice is that there's some really differently colored Santas: that just isn't what I was raised with—Santa dressed in red. Period. Check out these images from the collection:

I kind of like the white one; it's second best to red. The green is a little 'elfish' to my eyes—more of a 'staff' than 'management' look. I don't know what to make of the blue.

Next, I noticed some images that seemed to be 'cousins' of one another. If it were a little more self-conscious it'd be like a visual rap song from the 19th century. (Hmmmm, bit of a stretch there ....nevermind.)

And then we have the 'repetitive motif', the most prevalent of which (after Santa Carrying Presents) is Santa Carrying Christmas Tree.  Similar to the color variations, this isn't really one of the Christmas motifs I remember from my childhood. That's not to say I don't like it. I do. I'm becoming a real connoisseur of all the nuances—you know: tree right/tree left, gloves/mittens, decorated tree/bare tree, snow/no snow, relative beard length.... I could go on. Anyway, check these guys out:

The variation in Santa's facial expressions is a constant source surprise and delight. Here's a nice study in contrast—I think that the Santa on the right probably needs to take a couple of deep breaths....Santa on the left is doing just fine...

Here's another. This one begs a Reddit meme....

And finally, is it just me or does Santa look like he's on the verge of exhaustion? Check out the eyes...

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tutorial: Santa Toppers from Sweet Paul

Sweet Paul recently shared these whimsical Santa toppers and recommend making your own using our clip art- they're shown on cupcakes, but you could use them on everything from Christmas wrapping to hor d'oeuvre! Click through for a supplies list and more suggestions!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Featured Collection: Denslow's The Night Before Christmas

The holidays are nigh! And now, our very best holiday collections are available for fast, easy downloading. Thousands of unique, high quality season images for crafters, designers and artists. Our holly jolly selection includes loads of authentic Victorian-era illustrations, highly customizable vector motifs, Photoshop brushes, and much more. See all of our beautiful and timeless Christmas and Holiday clip art.

This week's featured collection is Denslow's The Night Before Christmas. The father of the "American Picture Book," W. W. Denslow is best remembered for the distinctive illustrations he created for the original Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This colorful collection gathers nearly 20 of Denslow's delightful drawings for his 1902 version of The Night Before Christmas.

You can download the full collection for $9.99 or any individual image sheet for just $0.99 and some good old-fashioned holiday cheer to your projects!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday: Thanksgiving Place Cards from PaperCrafter's Corner

Our friends at PaperCrafter's Corner are back with another great tutorial for using DoverPictura clip art- this time to create simple yet splashy Thanksgiving place cards using Full Color Holiday Vignettes, and glitter embossing! See the full tutorial here.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Featured Collection: Snowflakes Vector Designs

With the first flurries hitting the northern states and our Winter Wishes Craft Contest now in full swing, our full selection of holiday clip art is your perfect excuse to retreat to the cozy indoors and create something!

This week's featured collection is new to DoverPictura- Snowflakes Vector Designs. No two are alike in this generous collection of more than 100 snowflake images- from realistic to more fanciful. The compilation features a tremendous variety of geometric designs that appear as lacy white patterns against royal blue backgrounds. 

These images  are also perfect for teachers creating festive winter bulletin boards for their classroom!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Inside the Collection: The Art of Music

This collection, another superb one from Carol Grafton, was for me 'just for looking'— the luxury of looking. I'm sure that all the crafters out there can think of a 101 projects to do using these images, but what I liked to do was just peruse the images and ruminate. In this case, to quietly look at images of music being played—without the hearing of the music; it's like watching television with the sound off. I enjoyed the disparity between the dominant theme of the visuals (sound, music, noise) and the experience of consuming the images in silence....for a while, anyway. Eventually it began to drive me a crazy— I started to obsess about what music might be being played. Some of it was easy to imagine, in other paintings I didn't have a clue. Take for example these three paintings from the Art of Music (nos. 010, 025, 030). The women are playing a Virginal, and it's the 17th century. I have just a vague notion of Dutch music of that period, and my imagination tells me that a Virginal is probably similar to a harpsichord or clavichord.

I did a little poking around on the web, and found a few samples of Dutch Virginal music from the time of Vermeer. Check out the samples if you'd like to hear what it may have sounded like—or don't; leave the mystery intact.

This turned into a pretty good game for viewing the collection. Sometimes it's a little hard to find just an audio file—without distracting videos attached. Here's a few more samples that I was able to dig up:

In these two paintings it's the Lute. I had a little bit better idea with that, but 16th-17th century? Hmm.

Here's a link to what they all must have been playing. Sample 3

A favorite painting, by a favorite painter: Manet's The Fifer. (The model for this painting may actually have been Manet's female acquaintance Victorine Meurent -just FYI).

Here's a good example of distracting video (the drama!), but it's genuine French martial fife music. Sample 4

And finally, a little Americana—although with Cassatt you really cannot say if it's America, because she painted so long in Europe.

My best guess as to the audio? Sample 5

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday: Thanksgivukkah Kids Craft

Once every 79,043 years, the first day of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving coincide. So, Thanksgivukkah is a big deal! There are YouTube celebrations and parodies, activities, and recipes. There was even a Kickstarter campaign that involved a turkey-shaped menorah - a Menurkey.

While I'm not a crafter and I've never been this close to Mod Podge in my life, I have a houseful of kids coming this weekend, so I thought it would be fun to do a craft project. The idea is that they can create a keepsake for Thanksgivukkah, which they can pull out and dust off for the next time. It may require a lot of dusting after 79,043 years.

  • A glass platter or plate
  • Some clip art, printed on regular printer paper
  • A "Happy Thanksgivukkah" caption, also printed
  • Mod Podge - I used the glossy type but any would work
  • Gold or silver paint or sparkle glue
  • Tissue paper, for the back

I bought a glass plate at the dollar store. I painstakingly peeled off the sticker. That was maybe the hardest part.

I downloaded a bunch of images from Happy Chanukah, a really sweet DoverPictura collection. Yes, the Chanukah spelling is preferred there. We probably spent several hours debating how to spell Chanukah on that title. Guess what? There's no standard spelling for Thanksgivukkah either! 

I put the images into a Powerpoint, and typed Happy Thanksgivukkah onto a slide. I got those all at the size I wanted, and did a similar thing to the images I pulled from Full Color Holiday Vignettes. So, now there was an easy way of printing out a caption and my images. A better Photoshop hand would have made some fun compositions. 

Now I get it when they talk about clip art. You cut them out!

I picked some pink tissue paper to be the background. More on that later. Because I'm lazy, I didn't cut out each letter. I just took some colored pencils and colored the white background pink to match the tissue. I placed the images on the plate, and and brushed Mod Podge on the back of the plate. It was $9.99 at the store, but I found a 60% off coupon. So, I have a huge tub of the stuff. Beware of more Mod Podge postings.

Then my son came back from hockey practice. He did not approve of the pink background. So we switched it to brown. So much for the pink colored pencils, huh?
I crinkled up the brown tissue paper, and spread more Mod Podge over the whole back of the plate. Then I stuck the paper on the back of the plate, behind the paper cutouts. I left it to dry. Then I rummaged in a drawer with all kinds of crafty things left in the house, and found some gold sparkly glue/paint in the back of the drawer. I squeezed that all around the edges, covering up the edge of the tissue and the sides of the plate. I have a latke plate just in time for the big day! 
Here's the reveal:

My husband said charitably, "That's the most beautiful Thanksgivukkah plate I have ever seen."
$4.46 for the Mod Podge - with coupon. 97% of the bottle is still left.
$1.07 for the plate with Massachusetts sales tax
$2.97 x 3 for the images, which we'll reuse 

Thanksgivukkah joy = Priceless!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Royalty-Free Thanksgiving Clip Art from DoverPictura

Thanksgiving is right around the corner! And we have an abundance of festive images to whet your creative appetite- from 120 Great Paintings of Food and Feasting to Full-Color Holiday Vignettes just perfect for place cards and invites.

Feast your eyes on our full selection of royalty-free Thanksgiving clip art. You can feel thankful knowing that with images available to buy by the sheet you only have to purchase what you need. Though with such an inspiring spread of mouth-watering clip art, don't be surprised if you gorge yourself!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

41 Pilgrims and 44 Turkeys: near parity

Thanksgiving connotes many different things to different folks, but it always seems to sustain a built-in dichotomy; there's the notion of coming together–bridging the gap between oneself and others, inclusion, sharing, the offering of thanks in general and specific ways.  Besides the 'us & them' getting together motif, there's also its opposite—the 'us vs. them'.  This is typified in the football connotation of Thanksgiving—where I come from it's the annual Melrose/Wakefield Game. Inevitably the holiday seems to revolve around pairs, friendly and otherwise.

Interestingly, in the realm of our image collections the most natural Thanksgiving pairing (based on the historical basis of the holiday), Indians and Englishmen, is pretty much under-represented. The central twosome really seems to be Turkeys and Pilgrims.

I spent some time recently looking at the Thanksgiving section of Vintage Holiday Cuts (0486998290).  It's a large collection with over 500 total images, of which about 93 have to do with Thanksgiving.

Within that group there are 41 Pilgrim images and 44 Turkey images. I'm kind of partial to them both, but I guess I prefer the Pilgrim ones because they don't have that dark overlay of living/cooked....

There's plenty of cooked turkey images here, but I prefer the living...

And even more, the aggressively living.

On the Pilgrim side we have a whole spate of takes on the motif:

Pious to dutiful...

Besieged to betrothed...

To the slightly Washington Irving-ish bizarre....