Saturday, 3 September 2016

From Sketchbook to Screen Print

Sometimes it can be a long process getting a design from my sketchbook to a finished screen print. Inspired by a coffee pot depicted on an antique Turkish tile I started working on ideas for a Middle Eastern style coffee pot print. I drew the design earlier this year but didn't manage to start the black and white artwork until summer. From there it's usually pretty straight forward; the black and white artwork is used to create a transparent positive for each colour. I then expose the positives onto screens ready for printing. I stuck to my original idea and used four colours... amazingly they turned out quite similar to the ones I used in my sketchbook! 

Wanderlust Craft Exhibition at the RBSA Gallery

I have a selection of framed and unframed screen prints and greetings cards on display in the Wanderlust craft exhibition at the RBSA Gallery in Birmingham. The exhibition features a range of designer makers who are of international origin or who explore other countries for inspiration. There's still time to see the work as the exhibition doesn't finish until September the 24th.

New Cards Published by Canns Down Press!

In July Canns Down Press published five of my screen prints as greetings cards for their new Wonderland range. It's exciting to see the finished products especially as the process was much longer than I expected. I am used to creating designs, screen printing them straight away and having finished greetings cards within a few days or weeks. 

I was initially contacted about my prints in February. Once the company had decided on which designs they wanted to consider, the next stage was for me to send them the original screen prints to be professionally scanned. I had used metallic inks for some of the designs so thought it best to reprint them. I also reprinted my Ginger Cat as I was worried the original screen prints weren't quite perfect! Tiny mistakes don't matter so much when there are only 30 or so prints, but the prospect of 4000 copies was quite daunting.

There were two versions of some of the designs so I actually sent about 9 screen prints in total. From those Canns Down Press selected five and they finally went to print in July. The finished cards are now on the Canns Down Press website in the just published section. I have even spotted some of the cards in shops and will also have them at upcoming events.

Too Green or Not Too Green, That is the Question!

The colours I've been working with a lot lately have been yellow, green and blue. I've also been using gradients for new screen prints so I chose to print a yellow gradient for the background of my new Forest Boy design.

I screen printed an edition of 20 Forest Boys but realised there were a couple of small mistakes and also thought they were too green! So I corrected the artwork, printed new positives, exposed them onto a screen and mixed a darker green. I reprinted the edition but can't decide which colours I prefer!  

Forest Boy

My Flower Girl needed a partner so I worked on some ideas for a Forest Boy in my sketchbook. His clothes were inspired by traditional Polish costumes and the beautiful embroidery used on them. I particularly liked the men's waistcoats and wide brimmed hats so wanted to use them in my design. I used inks and food colours to quickly develop my ideas. This year the colours I've been favouring have definitely been blue, green and yellow!

Thursday, 21 July 2016

The Big Read Book Bench, Birmingham 2016

In May I was very lucky to work with some talented year 5 artists from Colmore Junior School on their Big Read Book Bench for Wild In Art. During our planning meeting I discovered they liked fantasy and magic themed books. They were also good at drawing mythical creatures so that's how the theme for their bench came about! They draw some excellent pictures of Minotaur, Cyclops, Hydra, Medusa and even a Siren with a boat of unhappy sailors. 

With help from their teacher we planned what would go on the front and back of the book bench. I sketched out rough guidelines and the children then worked in small groups to draw their characters onto the bench. I mixed a selection of colours inspired by ancient Greek ceramics and the children chose which ones to use. First they carefully painted the backgrounds using two coats of acrylics.
It was a difficult job and took a long time to do properly but I was very impressed with how patient the children were and how hard they worked. Once the first two coats of paint were done the children drew on the detail before meticulously painting it with small brushes.
I worked with the children for almost a week and it was exciting to see the book bench slowly coming together. While they painted their characters I was able to fill in the background. Once those were complete I added some extra details, outlines and patterned borders. It was a good team effort and I really enjoyed working collaboratively with the children. They had some great ideas and it was great to involve them in so much of the process.
Their finished book bench is now part of the Big Read Trail and is on display at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery until September when it will be returned to Colmore Junior School.

Friday, 6 May 2016

If at First You Don't Succeed...

It took several attempts before I finally got this print right! I tried out a few different colour combinations before realising it was actually the design that was wrong. So I went back to the drawing board, redrew part of the artwork, corrected it in photoshop, printed out another set of positives and remade my screens. I was so glad to finally screen print an edition of 20 Flower Girls ready for upcoming exhibitions and events. I even printed a two colour version for greetings cards.