Friday, December 08, 2006

Free Woodcuts

I’d be hard put to recall how often my creative teams went through books of clip art – especially old Victorian woodcuts, to develop concepts or campaigns. Mark Self, Rick Reigle and I invented a pair of award-winning campaigns for Exxon years back, based on steel engravings of 19th Century paper-making plants and farm scenes.

While there are a few sources for electronic versions of the old printed assemblies of woodcuts and steel engravings, one of the most resourceful collector/artists is now making his compilations available on the Worldwide Web. The late 19th and early 20th Century line engravings painstakingly gathered by Jim Harter are now available here.

Retha Oliver, in Art Lies, used Harter’s self-definition as an “image archivist” in a 2003 review:

Based in San Antonio, Harter is the man behind many of the “public domain” image collections that are published by Dover Press, among others. Over twenty-five years, Harter has researched thousands of images from 19th Century etchings and engravings. One driving impulse was no doubt a fascination with these quirky, carefully executed line drawings. Another was to enrich his own store of imagery from which he makes collages and prints.

His website is an excellent source for such hidden treasures, with affordable downloads. It’s like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. He even offers some free examples, like the one above. Get them here.

Many thanks to Harter Images for “Leprechauns.”

1 comment:

Gayle Smith said...

Thanks Richard! What a cool thing for someone to do. Happy weekend to you to!