Hand-drawn Borders: How Little Lovely Details Can Frame Your Work

I love borders. Specifically, the hand-drawn, perfectly not perfect kind.  They have a way of providing a neat little fence where your artwork can flourish in its own enclosed environment. For some of examples on the more lightweight side, I like some of Maurice Sendak’s work in the Little Bear books:

Hand-drawn borders can of course also be super ornate. Some of my favorite artists from the golden age of illustration, like Edmund Dulac and Arthur Rackham, have absolutely gorgeous, detailed borders that are full works of art in their own right.

Edmund Dulac border example

Arthur Rackham border example

For myself, drawing hand-made borders is an exercise I can do in one of my portable purse notebooks. You can take just a few moments to start a doodled border, and it can be immensely satisfying. Some of them turn out meh (ah, ’tis the nature of sketching) but some get filed away for later–maybe to grace the edges of the next piece of work! These I did over maybe 30 minutes as I was sitting in the car waiting to pick up the kids from school:

Do they need to be symmetrical? No! Do they need to be perfect? Heck no, that’s part of the hand-drawn border’s charm. Do they give your stuff a little extra style? Yes, yes they do.

So border on people. Border on.

Sketch of the day:

(I love lines and shapes)

Peace, Carrie