When advertising was drawn

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  • When advertising was drawn

    1950 Clarion radio advertisement

    When advertising was drawn

    I remember seeing in Barcelona, and other cities, those huge canvases with incredible paintings hanging from the doors of cinemas announcing the latest premiere.

    Those were times when cartoonists were not yet afraid of photography or any other digital device because either they were not within everyone’s reach or they simply didn’t exist and it was not even suspected that they would be invented.

    Cartoonists illustrated by hand everything that could be illustrated, and what could not. Photographs were coloured and retouched by hand, postcards, invitations and all kinds of publications were calligraphed. All kinds of machines and situations were drawn. Many of these authors remained anonymous after leaving some real graphic pearls in press advertising. Many of them never signed their works. Even so, there are still some drawings that were published with a signature.

    De cuando se dibujaba la publicidad

    2 December 1923

    All these advertisements can be found among the thousands of pages of the digital archive of La Vanguardia, which contains the pages of its newspaper in pdf format from 1881 to 2009.


    Advertisement of November 1881, the cotillas were adjusters worn by women, made of canvas or silk.

    One can find all sorts of advertisements for liniments, syrups, pills and an extensive list of drinks from distinguished doctors to alleviate all kinds of ailments of those years. Such as Bristol sarsaparilla, which promised to cure all kinds of blood ailments in this advertisement from December 1882.

    De cuando se dibujaba la publicidad

    Searching in this archive is a real return to the past of layout and illustration. You can find models of behaviour and social habits from different periods in Spain. Today, looking for something other than advertisements, I have ended up hypnotised by their aesthetics and I couldn’t resist compiling some of them.

    Some of them are advertisements with innocent messages, others absurd, many of them direct. They are reminiscent of those on the radio back then but with drawings, a glimpse of the simplistic language that is a costumbrist safari through handmade advertising.

    De cuando se dibujaba la publicidad

    Encyclopaedia of Education and Worldliness, the book of manners announced in November 1958.

    Many novels and novelettes were advertised in the pages of the newspaper, but also dictionaries that needed to be updated. This would be a “download” of the time to expand the database with the new terms in use in July 1918.


    Sometimes the cartoonists had to illustrate a real hodgepodge of images with all kinds of items like this full-page advertisement from 1944, from one to ten duros everything had to be drawn.

    De cuando se dibujaba la publicidad

    I admit that I wanted to cut them all out and organise them into themes. I quickly realised that I would need a lot of hours to put them all together.

    In order not to make an eternal post, the rest of the announcements are reduced. A click is enough to enlarge them. They are adverts for motorbikes, trucks, cars, fashion, food, curiosities, classic brands that are still on the market today, and others that are unknown and have disappeared. All of them with illustrations and handmade engravings.

    A few drawn ads

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    De cuando se dibujaba la publicidad
    De cuando se dibujaba la publicidad
    De cuando se dibujaba la publicidad
    De cuando se dibujaba la publicidad
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    Sanglas publicidad
    Moto Guzzi Hispania
    Moto Lube LUBE-NSU
    Agua mineral Fournier
    Anis del mono
    El Caserío
    De cuando se dibujaba la publicidad
    De cuando se dibujaba la publicidad
    Insecticida Gesarol
    Purga magnesia
    Brasilón café
    Aceite de hígado de bacalao
    Lamedor pectoral
    Chocolates Torras
    Medias Glory
    Peletería Solsona
    Grageas Doctor Soivré

    Source of all the advertisements: Hemeroteca La Vanguardia.

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