Saturday, February 16, 2008

Engraving, Printing, Drawing and Packing

This week has been a typical week of engraving, printing, drawing and packing. As usual, I am working on a series of bookplates but I took a break to work on a couple of illustrations. The first was of a waterfall - I will not show the whole image as it is a commercial commission but here is a detail:

The spray at the base of the falls was a challenge but I am happy with the way it turned out. I also worked on a smaller image of an oil jar from biblical times - the one that I sketched at the Fitzwilliam museum. Here is the boxwood block with the outline inked on - not a great photo, I'm afraid:
This was a bit of a struggle as the block did not cut well - Please note that this was not supplied by my blockmaker Chris Daunt. Luckily, it did print well and the illustrations were duly dispatched.

After printing the illustrations, I had some ink left on the slab and, since I had run out of my "thank you" slips, I printed some. Printing always surprises me. This little block is often awkward to print from but all of the impressions I took this time were fine. Have I shown you this? Some of you may have received them with orders. You can just make out Ely Cathedral on the horizon, between the "K" and "Y":

Drawing always features in my week. Over the last few days, I have worked on nudes with books, hares, Celtic knot work and a Russian tortoise:

Finally, the packing department has been busy. Here are a selection of garden and wildlife engravings, ready for packing:

Turn them over, and you casn see my newly created information sheet, with collaged business card:

J is visiting her sister this weekend so I am going to work through the weekend, catching up with some of my backlog of work.

Finally, my "blog" received its 10,000th visitor recently. I hope you continue to enjoy your visits to my studio.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Moving Into The House Plus a New Block

For the last year and a half, I have engraved out in the studio where I print. Increasingly, I have found it an uninspiring space to sit and engrave, facing the wall. Printing is different - it is well suited to that. At the beginning of the week, I moved my engraving kit indoors and set up on the large desk from which I write:

At first, I struggled to find the right height to engrave. After a day of backache yesterday, I settled on Three books and two sandbags. This raises the block up to chest level so I can keep a straight back while I work:

And what is on the sandbag? A an engraved bookplate which follows in the long tradition of Alpine subjects - in this case the Jungfrau with a range of Alpine flowers in the foreground:

One of my preparatory sketches - My final design had been approved by my client but two elements were reworked - this sheet just shows the reworked elements:

Tonight, I will proof this block and an illustration of a waterfall. Tomorrow I will take the blocks through the various states towards completion, engrave a small illustration and work on final designs for two more bookplates and an image for a wedding illustration - quite a day.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Out Of The Studio

It is a rare thing for me to take time out of the studio but I spent yesterday afternoon in the nearby city of Cambridge, and a pleasant afternoon it turned out to be.

My first stop was the Fitzwilliam Museum, which has been a favourite haunt of mine since childhood. In fact I still walk round to visit my old childhood favourites, such as this magnificent painting by Salvator Rosa that always filled me with both awe and horror:

My main reason for visiting was to sketch near eastern pots for a small illustration that I am working from. It is possible to search for online images but I learned an early lesson from my old colleague, the engraver Pat Townsend who told me that if I wanted to engrave a tree, then I should go out and look at a tree. This has proved good advice to me and I follow it whenever time and opportunity allows. I sketched several pots and I will use them to submit a drawing to my client tomorrow.

An unexpected pleasure - I hadn't seen it on the website - was a lovely exhibition of English portrait prints - mainly engravings on metal - in the Charrington Print Room. Such fine work by many artists, including one Josias English, who was active between 1649 and 1705. No relation, as far as I can tell.

My next stop was the excellent Cambridge Book and Print Gallery to deliver some prints. The gallery always holds some of my engravings and is a real "treasure heap" of art and books. My
eye was caught by a lovely yunomi by Trevor Corser that I could not resist:

Trevor's Beautiful pots are very modestly priced - dash over to the gallery and get one before they have all gone!

Back into the centre of Cambridge to haunt my favourite bookshops, including the marvellous Davids Bookshop in St Edwards Passage. This has an excellent rare and antiquarian section which is very "old school" with drawers of prints and maps. Eventually, it was time to meet J and A and drive back for a family evening.

So much work to do at the moment. Apart from the illustration, I am working on various stages of three bookplates, as well as trying to organise other aspects of work, such as dealing withj several prospective outlets for my things.


1. Lots of emails to send.
2. PD bookplate final drawing
3. HM bookplate final drawing
4. ER bookplate - final initial drawing

Its going to be an early start and a long day. Fingers crossed!