Yesterday evening I delivered my very first commission to it's new home! Poppy is the dog of two of our very good friends, and her lovely owners had asked me (during our overlapping holidays in The Lakes) if I could do a lino print of her. Poppy is a Westie cross Schnauzer, and as you can see from the drawing on the left, she is dark coloured! This was going to be a new printing adventure for me as I'd not worked from such a dark subject before! I started in the way I start all of my prints, by drawing! John and Julie sent me lots of photos of Poppy; I eventually picked one that I wanted to work from (it was the ears and eyes that did it!), and the sketching started - initially while we were still away on holiday. The first one Did Not Work. I had the proportions all wrong and eyes in the wrong place, also working in pencil crayons just didn't do her any justice. I got a bit frustrated, left it for a while and then went back to it. This time I was sitting in my favourite place to draw; in the back room on an evening with the fire lit; cosy and relaxed. I know Poppy quite well too, so as cheesy as it sounds, thinking of some of her mannerisms and how she sits and looks at you really helped alongside working from the photos. I really enjoyed drawing her this time. I only had one eye drama - her face just wasn't quite right, but I couldn't put my finger on it..... rubbed out an eye, moved it about 5mm down and bingo! Phew! The finished picture is the one above - completed after an initial pencil sketch, in fine liners (uni pin to be precise!) Once the drawing was done I was excited to move on to the lino print. Working out how to get the lines to create the correct way of producing her fur in the drawing really helped with thinking about the cutting lines I needed to make when creating the print, it was just a matter of making sure I could create the depth in her face. It was also a matter of reversing what I had done in the drawing. In the drawing I was creating dark lines, when I was carving the lino, I was carving away the 'highlights'.
It took two carving sittings and printing sessions for me to get her right; I worked from the drawing and the photograph to help with the details. The first test print helped me to see what I needed to alter (eyes and her hairy muzzle highlights!), and I spent a good while sitting and staring at the test print too. It really helped seeing John and Julie part way through the process to get their feedback on it, and what they wanted for the background as well. I have to say, a white background is really hard when you are as OCD as I am with making sure there aren't any blips! The final print took a good few 'pulls' for me to be happy with the ink consistency and to make sure that the background was really clear of any little inky bits that would randomly get pulled through, even though I swore I was 'printing clean' every time! I think Dave was very relieved when I'd finally got one I was happy with too! I've included some of the process images below, as always, in a slideshow.
I really enjoyed the process of creating something for someone, they now have the original drawing and the final print. I loved packaging them up ready to take over to them and watching them unwrap them :-) They will be the only ones in the world too :-) I've had their permission to share the images on here. (Sorry social media.....! #notsorryreally!!!)
I'm going to start up another page on my website with unique images and prints that I have created for different people - there's a print of my brother's bulldog I did for him and my parents two Christmases ago. If you do fancy a unique print or drawing please drop me an e-mail.
December is here.... that means #projectchristmascard2017 is on the way too..... and there'll be a #projectfrog update soon too! It's been a busy couple of weeks in my little art room! And while you're on the website, go and have a gander in my shop as well..... there's some nice bits and bobs in there you know ;-)
Here they are side by side..... drawing and lino print.
Here we go...
The ramblings of a linocut printmaker.... and other artistic adventures!