Monday, 28 March 2011

printing prints

It's totally rough, and not entirely sensitive to the method or the medium, but it's my first attempt and I have to say I'm hooked...

Friday, 25 March 2011

part of the process [and russian dolls are go]

The Russian dolls are approved and coming to a magazine near you this summer - here's a sneaky preview.

Meanwhile I have spent most of today completing my first proper linocut - a print to represent a print - and I have learned a lot in the process.

My foray into handmade prints has revealed the following: firstly, that linocutting is seriously, incredibly addictive. I like it. I'm talking losing hours here - there's something immensely satisfying and tactile going on AND it is colossal fun. Secondly, that I probably shouldn't have gone for a three colour reduction print relying on fairly intricate detail on my very first attempt. Err, right! What was I thinking?!? Thirdly (and this is a biggie), while gouache appears to be a fabulous medium for linocuts (oh yes, I tell you, on first printing it certainly gave that impression, pardon the pun), with the benefit of hindsight (possibly read common sense) any waterbased medium might be more inherently suited to printing colour separations than overprinting (this I learned the hard way, although there were some fabulous spontaneous textures to be had!). Finally, and most importantly I feel, I need to wear some kind of protective plaster on the middle finger of my right hand if I'm going to lose myself in this for hours on end (or suffer one ouchy blister!). I will post the final print once I've scanned it and you can make up your own mind.
Hmmm. I think the positive (and important) thing is that I learned something. And I am addicted to the process and the possibilities of it (and since I wrote this post title I have this earworming, was never a big Morcheeba fan but I guess it fits).

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

today's lesson... that food photography is much harder than it looks! Luckily, it's more about the lovely, lovely bowl than my lunch (which, incidentally, is the same lunch 5 year old J. is having by special request - complete with dusting of hot smoked paprika - for his packed lunch today at school. It looked so tasty when I made it for him this morning, I had to have some myself).

And my 2011 calendar arrived today (yup, I know it's March but I only just got round to buying one!). Fingers crossed, it looks like it has brought spring with it too. It's printed on my newest favourite thing, banana paper, totally fueling my obsession with everything handmade and recycled and, even better, crammed with cool, quirky images. It's from Ana's lovely shop, Merry Blues Art, over on Etsy.

Plus... stay tuned, because today I start my linocut illustration...

Thursday, 17 March 2011

tooled up

Ooh, am all excited about my new linocutting equipment (it's very, very basic but it will get me started). I'd originally planned a foxy foray into the world of printmaking but, by happy coincidence, I've just received an illustration commission which is so totally suited to linocutting it isn't true. So while there's more riding on my first attempt (a deadline, client and fee for starters!), it also means I've no choice but to stop procrastinating and get stuck in.

And while it'll be too late for this commission, me and a friend are already planning to sign up for this linocutting course at the DCA in May. It's led by Babs Robertson - just looking at her work (below) is inspiring.
Babs Robertson // Linocut

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

size isn't everything

I'm trialing some new mini prints over at my Etsy shop - I think it's a cool way to collect favourite images, (especially as some of the larger limited edition prints can be quite pricey) and they'd look fabulous framed as a group for a kid's room. I've also found some amazing brown flecked recycled envelopes to go with them. I've got a real thing for all things handmade and recycled at the moment, and am obsessing about uncoated papers just now for some reason. Partly down to Etsy and partly because of my linocutting obsession I think - more to come on that shortly...

Friday, 11 March 2011

work should not be this much fun. part 2

I'm still having fun with the potato print Russian dolls for my next editorial illustration. They have become less spud-like and, although I'm adding finer details, I like the background textures the printing created (even if the smaller one looks a teensy bit like he's about to be deployed in desert warfare, only with added scarf and kite - not especially useful in a combat situation). Anyway, more to come; I've added another two dolls since this photo, but I want to run the concept past the editor first. Talking of which, the Spring issue of Juno is out and includes my tightrope illustration...


Meanwhile, if you factor in that the painting is occurring with this in the background, interspersed with a bit of this (and obviously accompanied by an evening glass of this), the fun just goes on and on.


*I just wanted to see if I could manage to upload a vid... and I did. Go me. Methinks I may have been a tad influenced by playing this...

Sunday, 6 March 2011

with an owl

The names are out of the hat...

Get in touch with your snail mail and I will send your owlies!
For everyone else there is this

Saturday, 5 March 2011

work should not be this much fun. part I

As well as making a general mess, I am making potato prints of russian matryoshka dolls for my next illustration project. These are how they looked earlier today (um, you have to use your imagination a little bit), will post more soon. But... it is just too much fun, it's like being 5 again.

 I have also unlocked a secret and moved up a level in the art of curry making....
...and been getting a feel for foxes in preparation for my very first attempt at a linocut (everything has arrived and, incidentally, I thoroughly recommend GreatArt if you're looking for art supplies - super fast, totally efficient and phone person Diane is lovely).

Right, am off to sign an owl with an owl.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

quick brown fox

The fox
Last night I doodled a fox. He will most likely go through many permutations to become more stylised in readiness for my linocutting debut (oh, oh! With trees!!!). But ordering the materials has put me in a mild creative panic working through some permutations of my own. I'm swerving between excitement (yay! new ways of working, tactile, textures, strong, bold, linear!) and self-doubt (I won't know what I'm doing, have terrible ideas and make a hideous mess of them anyway!) then back to excitement (I get to try printmaking again!). Ah, the joy.
The cat
Shortly after, a rare midnight moment when crazy, fierce, independent Wilson allowed himself, in a momentary lapse of his psychotic personality, to be picked up and snuggled on my lap. Normally content only to sit near me or follow me around, dog-like (but don't touch!) he went into a sort of reverie, staring off into space with his big, green eyes and staying perfectly still while I stroked the soft fur under his chin. 

This blissful state lasted for oooh, at least five minutes, before he snapped out of it, looked up and tried to bite me quite viciously on the nose.

More art, more cats, and a lot less whinging at my latest fabulous blog discovery here.