Over at GoofButton, Jeffrey Meyer has posted some terrific scans of José Miguel Covarrubias‘s lush illustrations for W. H. Hudson’s Green Mansions. Here’s a taste (you’ll find a larger version on the GoofButton site):
What I especially appreciate about this illustration, in addition to the lovely colour and composition, is the observational quality of the foot. Although the shapes are simplified, they are still clearly based in reality, with the pinky toe tucked in toward the fourth toe, which in turn is tilted slightly toward the pinky toe, and with each of the toenails having a distinctive shape. And then there’s the pale colouration of the toes themselves, bluish near the nail, suggestive of slight downward pressure on the forest floor. And so on. Without such variations and details, the picture would still be attractive; it would not, however, be half so alive.