From top: Works by artist/illustrator Edward Bawden; Bird drawings by Francois Martinet from "Histoire des Oiseaux"; Stephan Schreiber's drawings from "Gothic Illuminated Sketchbook"; Pineapple painting by Maria Sibylla Merian from "Surinam Metamorphosis"; Plate from Combinaisons Ornementales se Multipliant à l'Infini à l'Aide du Miroir from "Design Nouveau"; The Owl-phabet of Art by JoAnna Poehlmann, from "Kohler Artist Books"; Illustrations from The Beetles of Russia and Western Europe
To me, the most valuable sources of inspiration are those that are not part of the current trends. Not that I don't love contemporary design and fashion (it's what I do!), but I feel most richly edified by looking at stuff that is a little less...accessible. I don't even remember how I first discovered Bibliodyssey, but it is an amazing blog, featuring a diverse range of visual arts and illustration, so extremely diverse that sometimes the only thing holding it all together is that they all come from vintage books. Under their Blog title it says, "Books ~ Illustrations ~ Science ~ History ~ Visual Materia Obscura ~ Eclectic Bookart." I think that sums it up. Above I've posted some of their recent as well as archived treasures. Go there and dig around yourself!