Archive | December, 2011

“Outside a dog…” the first of many lino prints

22 Dec

“Outside a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. But inside a dog, it’s too dark to read.”

Groucho Marx said this gem. Very wise man. I have printed it as a lino cut in an array of colourways using the Breton printing press. It was a joyful sight to peel the first proof away from the sticky ink on the lino and find that it had worked… and then the production line began! Here is the lino: it looks pretty cool, I think, dyed with the ink so you can see the relief of the surface carved away.

And here are the proofs printed so far. I printed onto coloured paper, using inks that are of a similar colour to the base. My personal  favourite is the burgundy / dark purple on the rich brown, and also the dark green on ochre (which was a Photoshop experiment using the original below).

Lino printing is very theraputic – I’m still deciding how many of these prints to do properly and will most probably select about five colourways to go into production with! In the new year I plan to set up a shop, to sell these prints, the Verb Garden and digital prints of my illustration work.

Also in 2012 I’m going to be doing some art work for band Hotel Yeboah, as well as developing the picture book The Rocket Dog with my friend Kath Latham. Following a conversation with the lovely Nick from Hotel Yeboah I’m planning on sketching out some strange animal / weather combinations (a nice thing to do next week, perhaps). Other things include combining my love of printing and book making to make some artist books which combine illustration, lino cut and letterpress / typography. I’ll post developments up as I go!


in perusing the internets I stumbled across a few artists / shops worth sharing. I do this quite a lot. So… this is the first in a new section I’ll be adding to my blog in 2012 called I WANT THIS IN MY LIFE (or something along these lines). It will be a cooking pot of illustrators, textiles, books, webshops and other e-phemera which I feel are worth sharing and recommending to you. 

Firstly, this slug risograph print by illustrator Eleanor Meredith.  It’s sold by Howkapow, a design store showcasing unique artwork and gifts. , . I love the loose lines and the smile of the slimy creature!

– The screen printed books, cards and limited edition prints by Brighton artist Alice Pattullo, sold through the Shop Floor Project. I especially like this one:

The hand painted, illustrated ceramics of James Ward – cups which stack to make animals various, always satisfying! Click here to check out the full range of drawn-on crockery…

And last but not least, I really like the look of The Midnight Folk by John Masefield, with illustrations by the incredible Sara Ogilvie. I love her work. Originally published in 1927 it has been beautifully reprinted by the Folio Society. I want it in my life!

I hope you enjoy following these links, may they inspire you / tempt you to buy them!

2012 Evening Class

From Monday 9 January, for 10 Mondays from 7-9 pm, I will be teaching the Introduction to Handmade Books course again for the Cardiff Open Art School. I’ll be combining a range of binding and folding techniques with an opportunity to develop your own artist book using illustration, printmaking and mixed media. Find out more and sign up here!

So, without further ado, I hope you have a cosy Christmas full of mince pies shiny baubles sloe gin and festive merriment! May 2012 be awesome. thanks for reading x 

On dyeing one’s left hand a peculiar shade of plum

7 Dec

Why am I always on a creative roll at bedtime? 10 in the evening strikes and I’m go-go-go having ideas about colours, getting all the printing kit out to have a look (and a sneaky go) and thoughts about potential illustrations pop into my brain. Little does it matter that I have to get up early for work, or that I stayed up late last night and surfaced bug-eyed and inky fingered this morning.

It’s all the fault of this delightful printing press (she says, blaming the instrument). I love all kinds of printing. It’s addictive. Cathartic. Hypnotic….and messy! Having not had a go at lino – cutting for a couple of years I decided to carved this year’s Christmas cards using that pleasing technique. I’m planning on using the press for printing with some of my brass type as well.

So here are some photos of this evening’s activity. I accidentally printed a lot more cards than planned (read 60!), mainly due to discovering some new colourways as I went along.

The first design is based on George, the new hound in our family. He’s a very good dog. In this print he is advising a mouse, who is offering up a mince pie, to stay warm. I’m quite fond of his little house in the background and the fact that I got the letters the right way around… Below are some of the different colour combinations.

Finding innovative places to dry the prints…

Oh! Look at them all, they’re multiplying

And onto the second design. A fat robin singing as it sleighs with gay abandon down the hill. Last year I went faster than ever in a home-made sledge and it was totally worth it for the cough afterwards. So this one’s for the fun and frolics of the snow. Snow works out a treat in lino – you just carve out lots of little dots and you’re sorted.

In other news, this week I picked up the latest issue of the fabulous Oh Comely Magazine which brightened up a train ride immensely. The secret crush anecdotes are very well written and the illustration, as always, is brilliant. There is also an article which plots in detail the history of biscuits. Marvellous.

So technically today has now become tomorrow, and at just gone midnight I should be a good girl and head bed-wards. The ink decorating  (staining) my cuticles and nails will be a fond memory of a crazy night’s printing, if indeed I start feeling too sensible at my desk in the morning. Roll on weekend .