Dogs of the British Isles linoprint

Dogs of the British Isles linoprint

For this print I decided to combine my love of dogs and vintage maps by creating a print that celebrates dogs breeds that have originated or developed in the British Isles. I love the decorative flourishes and ornamental details that cartographers of the 18th and 19th centuries used when creating maps and I wanted to use these vintage elements in this print. Examples of these are the decorative cartouche around the title of the map, the compass and galleons and the classical ornamental scale in the bottom left corner.

 

Ornamental title map cartouche

Ornamental map title cartouche

Decorative map scale with banner, dog and globe

Decorative map scale with banner, dog and globe

From nobility and royalty to the working class, farmers and fishermen, the people of the British Isles were prolific and dedicated dog breeders to whom we can attribute a disproportionate number of breeds that we know and love today.  Depending on the information source, it is estimated that around 25% of all recognised dog breeds in the world originated in the British Isles … around some 90 breeds, some of which are now under threat of extinction. This map features 54 breeds, both those that have originated in the British Isles and some breeds, that despite more ancient origins outside these islands, were developed into the breed standard we know today by the people of the British Isles.

I started by sketching the breeds…

Pen and ink sketches of dogs

Once I was happy with the whole design, I had to transfer it onto the lino (in reverse) so I could carve it out. I tried several transfer methods (the most successful of which was the xylene transfer method from a laser printed copy of the design) but the large size of the print and the fine detail got the better of me, so I decided to get it screen printed onto the lino.

Carving the design into Lino to create a printing plate was a real challenge, not just because of the large size of the print, but also due to the finely detailed dogs and carving lettering only a few millimetres high. Carving the plate took well over 60 hours, using my extra strong glasses and a magnifying glass!  The more time I invested in the carving the plate, the greater the stakes – as one slip of the gouge can be almost impossible to rectify.

Partially carved lino plate

Partially carved lino plate

Printmaker Debbie Kendall carving a lino plate

I painted the lino red before transferring the design so it was clear where I had carved

Lino carved plate

The carved lino plate

Once the plate was ready, I made some test prints on different Japanese papers. I was looking to see how the paper performed for several criteria, such as ease and even-ness of ink transfer (especially in the solid black areas) and the weight, colour and texture of the paper. I chose the Awagami Bunkoshi paper, a medium weight paper with a natural creamy off white colour.

The main challenge in printing the plate without a press, apart from its large size (my press is not large enough to take the plate), was the difficulty getting a good even print in the solid black areas (the sea) whilst retaining sharp detail in the dogs and lettering.

Debbie Kendall printmaker

This depended on perfecting the amount of ink on the plate in the different areas and varying the printing pressure using various hand tools (a combination of a Japanese ball bearing baren, convex glass lens and my trusty porcelain door knob). Each print took well over an hour to print by hand and the combination of maintaining sufficient pressure to transfer ink evenly, with repetitive circular motions using the hand tools over that time meant that it was also physically very demanding. As I was aiming for an edition of 60 prints, I decided that if I was to maintain my sanity and avoid repetitive strain injury, I needed to find a press large enough to accommodate the plate and paper.

lizzie printing 2A

Whilst removing a good deal of the physical strain of printing, a press still requires a good deal of (for want of a better word) “fiddling about” to get a good print. The strong even pressure offered by a press is great for helping to achieve solid areas of flat colour (like the black sea in this print) but such pressure over the more delicate areas, such as the dogs and lettering, can cause smudging and blurring. This is where hand printing was beneficial as it was possible to press harder on the areas of solid colour and go lighter on the dogs and lettering. However after several days around 40 prints of the planned edition of 60 had been printed and I plan to hand print the balance over the coming weeks.

 

Framed Dogs of the British Isles print

Framed print 60 x 80 cms

When I first had the idea for this print, I had doubts about the feasibility of carving the dogs and letters at such a small scale. I debated about whether to create it as a screen print or even as Giclee print of my original illustration, but lino is “my thing” and I wanted to push myself  and at least try to see if it was possible for me to carve and print successfully at this size and level of detail. I found it was best not to look to far ahead in the process and just concentrate on the immediate task ahead, carving one letter and one dog at a time! My perseverance and patience were certainly tested in the creation of this print but as President Theodore Roosevelt said, “Nothing worth having was ever achieved without effort”

Happy printing everyone!

Find out more on The Enlightened Hound’s website

 

 

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Hand-Painted Lettering on Vintage Saw

I have seen some awesome hand-lettering projects on antique saws so I was happy when I got the chance to do my own. The saw I used has a carved hardwood handle and having been stored in a garden shed for the last 50+ years, there was a lovely rusty patina on the blade. I cleaned it up and removed all the loose rust to get a stable surface for painting onto.

I wanted to letter a phrase onto the blade that had some kind of connection with the use of a saw and woodworking – as well as being inspirational…. so here’s what I came up with:-

Hand lettering on old saw by Debbie Kendall

Read on to see more pics and find out more about the process…

After much pencil and paper work trying out different lettering styles and layouts, I transferred my chosen design onto the blade.

Lettering design traced onto saw blade

It took a while to figure out a nice colour combination – I settled on a simple, traditional palette of cream, red and ochre – and then using sign writers brushes and my favourite casein (milk-based) paint, thinned with a little water, I got painting.

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…And after some painstaking hours of painting I was pretty happy with the result

Hand painted lettering on old saw

Hand lettering on antique saw by Debbie Kendall

The final stage was a thin coat of linseed oil to seal the painted letters and bring up the wooden handle to a nice colour. The oil also gave the painted lettering a nice vintage look.

Hand painted letters on old saw by Debbie Kendall

Hand painted lettering on vintage saw blade by Debbie Kendall

I like it so much that I’m not sure I actually want to part with it!

 

 

Vintage Dog Greeting Cards

Handmade dog breed cards with vintage cigarette cards

As a lover of dogs and all things vintage it was hard to resist these wonderful collectable cigarette cards celebrating dogs. To create the greeting cards, I mounted each one on a coloured card to define it and then mounted this onto a recycled kraft manila card. I used a recycled card to echo the vintage feel of the original cards. I then sourced an envelope in a co-ordinating colour.

This set for John Player, issued in 1931, was created from painting of dogs by Arthur Wardle, an English painter born in 1860 whose paintings of animals, both domestic and wild, are highly sought after. There are 50 breeds in the series.

Arthur Wardle dog painting cigarette cards for John Player (1931)

Arthur Wardle dog painting cigarette cards for John Player (1931)

Wire Fox Terrier vintage greeting card using original matchbox label

Wire Fox Terrier vintage greeting card using original cigarette card

The second set was created for the Turf brand from tobacco company Carreras in 1952. Frustratingly I haven’t been able to discover the name of the artist who drew the dogs for the 50 Famous Dog Breeds series in their distinctive blue pen & ink style.

Carreras Turf Famous Dog Breeds Matchbox Labels, 1952

Carreras Turf Famous Dog Breeds Cigarette Cards, 1952

Dalmatian vintage dog greeting card using an original matchbox label

Dalmatian vintage dog greeting card using an original cigarette card

The dinky cards  measure 104 x 74 mm and are blank inside for your own personal message.

The breeds available are: Afghan Hound, Airedale Terrier, Alsatian, Australian Terrier, Bassett Hound, Beagle, Bedlington Terrier, Bloodhound, Border Terrier, Borzoi, Boxer, Bulldog, Bull Mastiff, Bull Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Chow, Clumber Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Collie (Rough), Collie (Scotch), Corgi, Dachshund (Smooth), Dachshund (Long haired), Dandie Dinmont, Dalmatian, Deerhound, Elkhound, English Setter, Field Spaniel, Flat Coat Retriever, Foxhound, Fox Terrier (Smooth), Fox Terrier (Wire), French Bulldog, Golden Retriever, Gordon Setter, Great Dane, Greyhound, Griffon, Harrier, Irish Setter, Irish Terrier, Irish Wolfhound, Keeshond, Kerry Blue Terrier, King Charles Spaniel, Labrador, Lakeland Terrier, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Norwich Terrier, Old English Sheepdog, Otterhound, Papillon, Pekingese, Pointer, Poodle, Pyrenean Mountain Dog, Saluki, Samoyed, Scottish Terrier, Sealyham Terrier, Shetland Sheepdog, Skye Terrier, Saint Bernard, Springer Spaniel (English), Springer Spaniel (Welsh), Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Welsh Terrier, West Highland White Terrier, Whippet and Yorkshire Terrier.

Sniff them out at The Enlightened Hound.

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Handmade vintage dog breed greeting cards – 50 different breeds

Vintage Collectable Art for Dog Lovers

I’m always on the lookout for vintage dog-related bits and pieces but there’s not much out there that takes my fancy! As you may know from my printmaking work, I like pieces with a strong graphic element, however much of the dog related ephemera I’ve come across seems to be either very traditional or rather sentimental. It’s also interesting how dog breeds have changed in appearance over time and so some breeds now look quite different to how they were illustrated in days gone by. I’ve seen some lovely old vintage metal advertising signs for dog food (they are pretty hard to come by) but I’m keeping my eyes peeled!

What I have found though, are some wonderfully illustrated vintage magazine covers from Country Fair (published in the 1950s in the UK) with cover illustrations by Australian artist John Hanna…

Country Fair Bulldog John Hanna

Country Fair Magazine December 1955 Bulldog by John Hanna

 

Country Fair Magazine November 1954 Pointer by John Hanna

Country Fair Magazine November 1954 Pointer by John Hanna

and some New Yorker magazine covers (first published in 1925 and still going strong today) well known for its iconic covers commissioned by celebrated artists, illustrators and cartoonists…

Perfect for Bull Terrier lovers are the covers illustrated by cartoonist George Booth…

New Yorker magazine March 1979 White Bull Terrier & Cat by George Booth

New Yorker magazine March 1979 White Bull Terrier & Cat by George Booth

New Yorker magazine February 1976 White Bull Terrier and Cat by George Booth

New Yorker magazine February 1976 White Bull Terrier and Cat by George Booth

or this adorable dog, waiting for someone to come home or guarding the house… a Bulldog perhaps?

New Yorker magazine February 1974 Bulldog Waiting by George Booth

New Yorker magazine February 1974 Bulldog Waiting by George Booth

and these great illustrations of dogs in the dog park by Mark Ulrikson and Ana Juan

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New Yorker magazine July 1995 Dog Park by Mark Ulrikson

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New Yorker magazine February 2010 Dogs in Sweaters by Ana Juan

and this wonderfully atmospheric and humorous illustration of a man walking his dog in a blizzard by Eugene Mihaesco

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New Yorker magazine February 1987 Man and Dog in Snow by Eugene Mihaesco

or this amusing scene by Andre Francois…

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New Yorker magazine May 1973 Dog & Cat through a window by Andre Francois

I also managed to lay my hands on what I think is a page from the Tailwaggers’ Club magazine featuring the official Tailwaggers’ Club doggie merchandise. The Tailwaggers’ Club was started in 1928 to raise money for sick and injured dogs. They donated money to the Royal Veterinary College, raised from membership subscriptions. At its peak in the 1930s the club had over a million dogs as registered members!

tailwaggersweb

Tail-waggers Club Doggy Equipment

Take a look at the vintage section on The Enlightened Hound’s website to see these (and hopefully other) interesting vintage doggy finds in the future.

 

Christmas Cards for Dog Lovers

This year there are two Christmas card designs available, both of course with a dog theme.

The “12 Dogs of Christmas” has made a comeback, as it sold out last year and it is joined by “The Howling Dogs of Christmas” – a new design featuring my watercolour drawings of howling dogs.

The Howling Dogs of Christmas Card

The Howling Dogs of Christmas Card

It’s printed on thick, textured card and comes with a festive metallic silver envelope.

Howling Dogs of Christmas Card Pack of 10

Half the profits go to Hearing Dogs (for deaf people) and The Cinnamon Trust (who help the elderly and terminally ill keep their pets with them, when they may otherwise have to give them up).

Watercolour detail of Howling Dogs Christmas Card

Watercolour drawing detail of Howling Dogs Christmas Card

I’m not sure what the Hearing Dogs did with their share last year, but I got a lovely letter from The Cinnamon Trust who used their donation to help buy memory foam beds for 2 large, arthritic dogs.

Watercolour detail of Howling Dogs Christmas Card

Watercolour dog detail of Howling Dogs Christmas Card

Here’s a reminder of last year’s “12 Dogs of Christmas” card, which is also available again this year.

12 Dogs of Christmas Card

12 Dogs of Christmas Card

Cards are sold in packs of 10 for £10 from The Enlightened Hound’s website

 

Labradoodle and Lurcher Prints

There are 2 new breeds in the Dog Tag series of prints by The Enlightened Hound. I say ‘breeds’ though neither the Labradoodle or Lurcher is considered a recognised breed – both being classed as a crossbreed. These technicalities however aren’t generally important to Labradoodle or Lurcher owners, who love them to bits regardless!

Each one is hand printed on a traditional etching press.

Labradoodle

Labradoodle Print

Labradoodle Print

Labradoodles are enormously popular family pets. They love to work and are eager to please. They are true companion dogs and thrive best with their people, delighting in being stroked and petted. Many of them are pretty smart and enjoy outwitting their owners – just for fun!

Labradoodle Print Detail

Labradoodle Print Detail

Labradoodle Print Unframed

Labradoodle Print Unframed

Labradoodle Print Framed

Labradoodle print in reclaimed wood frame

Lurcher

Lurcher Print

Lurcher Print

In the Middle Ages only nobility were allowed to own purebred dogs but accidental crossbreeds of these nobility owned sighthounds were snapped up by the commoners (peasants and gypsies) as stealth poaching dogs, who hunted by scent and sight to put meat for the cooking pot on the table. Rabbit and hares were the usual quarry and hunting usually took place at night.

Lurcher Print Detail

Lurcher Print Detail

Lurcher Print Unframed

Lurcher Print Unframed

Lurchers are the perfect combination of intelligence, speed, agility, hardiness, temperament & trainability. It was essential that the purebred Greyhound hunting instinct was tempered so that the dogs could be stopped from chasing prey if someone was watching. The penalty for detection was death, so dogs had to be loyal, trainable and live out of sight in the family home.

Framed Lurcher print

Lurcher print in reclaimed wood frame

Hand printed individually on an etching press, both prints are available from The Enlightened Hound

Vintage Style Illustration and Hand-Lettering for Libelle Magazine

I was approached by Dutch weekly magazine Libelle to do some illustrations in the style of my Quintessentially British print, for a special London themed issue of their magazine .

Quintessentially British Print

The first one was to accompany an article about all the things we have to do in the course of our daily lives, such as washing and ironing, shopping, gardening, walking the dog etc.

Following the style of my Quintessentially British print, I combined vintage retro illustrations with hand drawn letters in a limited colour palette.

Magazine illustration and hand lettering

The second illustration was to do with London and some of the things that a visitor might like to see and do in the city.

London tourism illustration

The third illustration was a little more challenging as it was related to fashion… the challenge was to keep the vintage feel of the illustrations but without looking out of date with current fashion trends.

Fashion illustration and hand drawn letters

Really enjoyed this brief and being pushed to take an existing piece of work to a new level.

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