I normally share scientific natural history animal illustrations on the site. When I stumbled across these charming comic-like animal illustrations of Benjamin Rabier, I knew I had to share them too.
These animal illustrations were originally created by Benjamin Rabier in 1908 for the children’s book “Les Petites Misères de la vie des Animaux”. The title of this French book translates as “The Little Miseries of Animal Life“.
Benjamin Rabier was born in 1864, he was a French comic book artist and illustrator. Rabier’s work inspired other artists such as Herge, the creator of Tintin. His work has a similar style to that of the British illustrator Cecil Aldin who was also around at the same time.
Rabier’s animal illustrations were groundbreaking, he was one of the first illustrators to specialize in illustrating children’s books. During his lifetime Benjamin Rebier illustrated over 250 children’s books.
Benjamin Rabier and the Laughing Cow
One of Benjamin Rabiers most famous animal illustrations was not for one of his children’s books, but the laughing cow. The laughing cow is a famous logo for the cheese of the same name.
In 1924, the owner of the Laughing Cow brand, Léon Bel changed the brand logo. He used a new drawing from Benjamin Rabier, the famous red cow.
This was based on an illustration Rabier had created during the first world war. He had painted a jovial cow on the side of a meat truck for a friend.
This drawing got the nickname Wachkrie; a joke on the German Valkyries trucks and also a play on ‘La Vache Qui rit’ (The Laughing Cow). It caught the eye of the cheese manufacturer Léon Bel and he asked Rabier to recreate the image for his brand.
Benjamin Rabier developed his original drawing of the cow, replacing its brown color with a red coat and a white muzzle. Apparently, Léon Bel’s wife had the idea of making the cow more feminine by adding the now-iconic earrings made from the cheese box itself.
Rabier’s animal illustrations became very popular, as he had a unique talent for taking an animal and humanizing it.
He gave his creations human expressions and emotions, and he was one of the first illustrators to have animals feature as leading characters within his work.
Long before Disney, Rabier’s charming animal illustrations appeared on merchandise such as pencil-cases, posters and postcards as well as on furniture, as dishware and as toys.
The Animal Illustrations
To download the Benjamin Rabier illustration you want click on the title above that image. A higher resolution image will apear as new window in your browser. If you right click on that image with your mouse you will have the option to save it to your device.
All these wonderful illustrations are in the Public Domain so you are free to print and use them.
An animal illustration of two rather cold and miserable looking polar bears.
The French text accompanying this image translates as “We’re going to freeze to death … Forty degrees below zero”.
There are some more wonderful polar bear illustrations here.
A humorous cartoon of a lion who has just swallowed a fisherman. There is also an elephant in the background.
An ironic drawing of a bear wearing a fur coat.
6. The Fish
Benjamin Rabier animal illustration of a dog and a snake.
The translated text with this illustration is “It’s delicious and reminds me of my country, that rest at the foot of a palm tree in the shade of the sun“.
A squirrel on a hamster wheel.
A fun Benjamin Rabier animal illustration of a pair of crocodiles on the banks of the Nile. You can see the pyramids in the background.
If you enjoyed these wonderful Children’s vintage animal illustrations by Benjamin Rabier, then I think you might enjoy these Alice in Wonderland Illustrations, fun vintage circus posters or even the vintage hot air balloon illustrations.