victorian beards

i’ve been a little preoccupied with beards recently.  cdvit was while researching for another project (a new installment for inspector forrester, but more on that in a later post), that i got distracted by victorian gentlemen and their beards.  it started me down the road of purchasing some victorian carte de visite and cabinet cards (just gathering visual reference wasn’t enough, i decided i needed to own these images), which then very quickly became a small collection – as if i needed to start collecting anything else on top of all the ephemera i’ve amassed from travel/visits, as well as childrens books, graphic novels, films, music (cd and vinyl), magazines, far too much lego for a grown-up and currently a lot of dust (i really need to sort that out).

i thought these people looked great, were really interesting characters, and some of them with facial hair that you just wouldn’t believe without seeing the original photographs considering how stuffy and formal people were meant to have been back then.  so i drew 1 and then 1 became 24.  at the time i had no idea what i was going to use these for, but was just drawing them for the fun of it.  i like the original sketches, but traced some of them in pen and have finished one digitally.  i imagined that i might make my own collection of beards – a mock cigarette card-style set (in keeping with the period), each with names and notes on each particular beard.

muttons - sketchmuttons - traced in penmuttons - finished digitally






after discussing it with my indigo octagon chums, we have some other plans to use these bearded gents and they also pointed out that i seem to have a bit of a ‘hair thing’ going on at the moment – this was after i showed them some drawings i’d done of flies and was saying how amazed i was at how hairy they were.  i then also remembered i’d declared my love for sam elliott’s moustache right at the start of the year.  expect more entries linked to beards or hairiness in the coming months – chaetophobics should unsubscribe now.

About chris cowdrill

i'm an illustrator, i do graphic design and i teach graphics at a college
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1 Response to victorian beards

  1. Pingback: indigo octagon vol.4: the compulsive orgonists of west bromwich | chris cowdrill's blog

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