Today, I’m happy to show how I made this cow, which will be used as a spot illustration in my upcoming picture book, MY BED. The story is about children’s sleeping places in different cultures around the world. It’s written by Rebecca Bond and will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in Sept. 2020. Autographed copies can be pre-ordered in my shop here. A touring exhibition of my original embroidered artwork for the book, Salley Mavor: Bedtime Stitches, will travel around the United States beginning in Nov. 2020. See the updated tour schedule here.
Each country or region represented in the book has an animal icon that appears on the text panel adjacent to the full illustration. The cow shows up next to the Scandinavian scene, which I’ve written about here.
To see the other animals from the book that I’ve written about so far, please click on the following links.
Animals (spot illustrations) – Rooster, Camel, Parrot, Elephant, Goldfish, Cat, Duck, Sheep, Rabbit
I’ve enjoyed making cows over the years, including the one below, which is from the 2005 board book, Hey, Diddle, Diddle! (Sorry, it’s out of print) Cows are fun to depict because they are so distinct from other animals.
To begin, I drew sketches that exaggerated the cow’s squarish head, outspread ears, big eyes and prominent nostrils.
As always, I wrapped the legs first, leaving enough extra pipe cleaner to shape the body.
It’s been a while since I made this, so I can’t remember how I attached the felt body. From the looks of it, I first added a thread wrapped wire tail and then stitched pieces of felt to the front and back of the pipe cleaner form.
Then, I made a little pink felt udder with seed bead teats.
For the cow’s face, I embroidered a nose and sewed on bead nostrils.
To make the eyes more prominent, I outlined them in white.
The ears are felt, edged with blanket stitch and wire.
After sewing the ears in place, I looped Silk/Merino wool thread on the top of her head.
The first cow collar I made was embroidered with pretty flowers, but I had to change it to a plainer version because decorations like that are a Swiss specialty and not Scandinavian.
Before (above) and After (below).
To keep up with new posts, please subscribe to this blog (top right column on the home page). Your contact info will not be sold or shared. If you’d like to see more frequent photos tracking the projects in my studio, please follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram