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.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Inky Folky Flowery Girls in My Sketchbook

I wanted to see if the new flower designs I've been working on could be incorporated into folk style costumes so I started to try out ideas in my sketchbook using coloured inks. After filling a few pages I returned to a previous source of inspiration; Polish papercut dolls. Though the papercut dolls are very simple and have limited detail there is something about them I really like. I hope I have captured some of their qualities in these inky illustrations.

Friday, 8 April 2016

A Colourful Collection of Cards

I am gradually adding more flowers, birds and cats to my new collection of hand printed greetings cards. The designs feature some reoccurring motifs and I've also tried to use a similar format for each one. They aren't inspired by anything in particular but I like the fact that they have a retro feel. There are probably some folk art and Eastern bloc design influences too which is good!

Screen printing cards by hand is hard work as each one has to be perfect. It is fairly quick to print the first colour but the second colour has to be registered accurately for every single card. I am very careful not to make any mistakes as they have to be rejected. I also try and keep my hands clean so there are no inky finger prints!

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Full of the Joys of Spring!

Spring is a good time for screen printing; not too cold, not too hot, just right! To celebrate I mixed up some different colours and printed another new design with a gradient for the background. I really like the combination of yellow and blue at the moment and it's good to take a break from peach and orange.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Pretty Pair

This year I want to try and make more progress with screen printing and develop my work. So as well as using different colour combinations I have also introduced gradients to my prints. My first attempt was alot easier than I expected. I mixed three versions of the background colour varying from light to dark. I used all three on my screen and although the first few prints were striped the inks quickly mixed so the gradient became much more sublte. 

Birds of a Feather Flock Together

A new bird design hatched late last year. Since then I've been using it for a number of different products including winter greetings cards and festive bird decorations. I particularly like the combination of gold and teal coloured inks, they worked well on ivory card and even brown kraft card.