The meaning of exemplar here is unclear; it may refer to the original ink drawing (or a copy) from which the woodcut was made. “The block surface was often covered with a thin ground of white paint, the better to receive the draftsman’s design. . . . Very detailed designs or those with exceptional graphic fluency were drawn onto the block surface directly. . . . The task of transferring an existing design free hand to a block became a cultivated skill and eventually an artistic specialty.” ( Landau & Parshall 1994, pp. 22-23). Vesalius’ exemplar may therefore be the design from which each illustration was copied onto the wood block preparatory to the actual cutting. What was not cut away made the ink impression on the printed sheets.