A Dog is the Best Medicine Linoprint/Collage

People sometimes ask me which of my prints is my favourite and I have to answer ‘The Dog is the Best Medicine’. It came about after I discovered a stack of yellowed vintage medicine bottle labels at a fair and I offered the stallholder a price for whole lot, not knowing what on earth I was going to do with them.

I spend days sorting them, seperating them out and even resorted to baking stuck together piles of them in a low oven to try and unstick them! I then placed each type in different cello bag (yes, anal, I know) and then I waited for inspiration to strike.

ephemera

I can’t remember if it was a revelation or some kind of thought process but “A Dog is the Best Medicine” was born.

I thought I’d share with you how the prints are created. Each one is an individual collage of old medicine bottle labels. I don’t use the same layout of labels for all the prints… I just randomly pick them up and stick them on (although I have to watch I don’t stick myself into a corner, in which no label will fit).

medicine bottle label collage old pharmacy bottle labels

vintage bottle labels collage

I leave the completed collages to dry under some heavy books. Then the words and dog are printed individually onto each one. I carved the words and dog into lino to use as a plate on my etching press.

I mix the inks up by hand and roll them onto the lino plate which is then passed through my press with the collage in a kind of sandwich.

lino print dog lino printing plate

printmaking ink a dog is the best medicine print

The prints are then left to dry, signed and numbered. I hope to have enough labels to make around 100 prints but I’m not sure they’re going to stretch that far.

a dog is the best medicine print

framed dog print

I know that some have been bought as gifts for dog-loving vets and doctors. What a lovely idea!

Sniff one out while you can at The Enlightened Hound

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French Bulldog and Poodle Prints

I am excited to have reached 20 breeds in the “Dog Tag” series of prints with these two new additions – the French Bulldog and Poodle. Next, I will be taking a little break from this series to pursue some new ideas but as I still have many requests for other breeds (think Yorkie, Boxer, Great Dane, Bulldog, Pointer… and the list gets longer) I will be returning to the series next year!

There’s a lot of hand lettering and illustrating involved in these prints…

Poodle sketches French Bulldog sketch

Hand lettering hand drawn letters

Telling the story of the breed in an original and quirky way can be a bit of a challenge in around 30-35 words!

french bulldog print poodle print

french bulldog print hand lettering poodle print detail

framed french bulldog art framed poodle print

The French Bulldog print is hand printed in a dark sepia black and the Poodle print in a soft french grey ink.

The French Bulldog has a colourful history accompanying the rather politely named Parisian Belles de Nuit on their evening sojourns. Apparently they were a useful way to break the ice with potential customers to start a conversation! They were also the dog of choice for the french in-crowd arty set and cafe owners in the 19th century. They were bought over to France from England when the Industrial Revolution forced traditional lace workers to flee to France to find work.

Also with a colourful history, the poodle was a popular feature of the travelling circus. Like the Frenchie, the poodle was the a la mode accessory for high society. The poodle’s frou frou reputation belies its origins as a dog bred to retrieve waterfowl from muddy swamps and rivers!

Here are all 20 breeds in the Dog Tag series of prints…

Dog Tag Series of Prints

Prints are 30cms square and each one is individually hand printed and signed.

Sniff them out at The Enlightened Hound

Dog is my Co-Pilot – Reduction Linoprint

I was approached by cool UK company, Pedlars, to do an exclusive print under the title “Dog is my Co-Pilot”. Pedlars sells quirky and original home-wares & gifts, both vintage and new. A love of dogs has always been a central theme of the company.

Dog is my Co-Pilot print

Inspired by pop art propaganda posters with their simple graphics and strong colours, this print is a 3 colour reduction linoprint.

Dog is my CoPilot print close up

A limited edition of 50 A3 prints were produced. Once these are sold there will never be any more printed because the process of making a reduction linoprint destroys the very printing plate that is used to create the prints – this is why it is sometimes called a suicide print!

You can see the finished print on the Pedlars website. If you’d like to find out more about the process of creating this print – read on!

First, the design for the print has to be drawn on to the piece of lino that will become the printing plate. It has to be drawn in reverse so that it is the right way round when it is printed (particularly important if there is any typography!)

Linoprint Plate1

Then, all the areas of the image that will not be printed (i.e. that will remain the colour of the paper used for printing) need to be carefully cut away. This is how my plate looked after this was done.

Linoprint plate2

This plate was then used to print the first of the three colours. The first colour (red in my case) will cover much of the print after the first pass through the press, but in the final print much of the red will be covered up by the printing of subsequent colours.

So, before I got started on the printing, I wanted to check how the three colours I would be using for the print looked when they were printed over/under each other. This would determine the order in which the colours would be printed. If, for example, I found out half way through the printing that the light blue did not cover the red effectively, or made an unwanted third colour (like purple!) it would be too late to go back and start again as the printing plate will have been cut away for the second colour – and once the lino is cut, there’s no going back!

So here are the results of that little experiment…

printmaking colour test

… I use traditional oil based printing inks – they look almost good enough to eat!

Red Ink

Here is the first colour printed.

reduction linoprint first colour

All 50 (plus a few spare) prints are printed in red at once. Then I return to the plate and cut away all the areas that I want to keep as red in the finished print. Here is the plate at this stage….

Linoplate 3

Now I print the next colour – the lighter of the 2 blues. The trickiest part of a reduction linoprint is making sure that the paper goes down on the plate in exactly the same place every time a new colour is printed, to avoid unwanted overlap of colour and keep nice sharp lines (although sometimes mis-registered prints can look really effective too). This is why it is good practice to print more than you hope to end up with in the final edition – because mistakes are bound to be made along the way! Perhaps this is another reason why it is called the suicide print!

Here is the second colour printed….

Reduction Linoprint Second Colour

prints drying

Now all the areas that will remain light blue are cut away from the lino plate… here is the newly cut plate on my press being inked up with the final very dark blue ink.

Printing Press

Ta Daaaa! The final print

Linoprint Dog is my CoPilot

Dog is my CoPilot print detail

Perfect Christmas Present for a Dog Lover

Fancy some dog-inspired New Year’s Resolutions for 2013?

My new print in the Enlightened Hound’s Canine Wisdom Series makes a great Christmas gift for any dog lover.

Canine Wisdom print No5

  

The typographic linocuts feature uplifting and quirky ‘dog secrets for happiness’ using authentic 19th century fonts from the American Wild West and Civil War era, to convey each dog mantra in a nostalgic, vintage style.

Each letter is carved by hand into the linoleum printing plates which are then hand printed using traditional linseed oil inks, mixed into a palette inspired by early colonial colours.

Here are the 5 prints in the series pegged up in my garden!

The Enlightened Hound's Canine Wisdom Prints

For more information and to buy prints and greeting cards from the same range visit The Enlightened Hound’s website

Back in the studio

I am now back in my studio after a break for house renovations and website development! It feels good to pick up my linocutting tools again and get back into the rhythm of cutting a new plate, with my portuguese water dog, Figo, lazing nearby.

 

I am cutting the plate for the next Enlightened Hound Canine Wisdom print ~ No.5. It is already available as a greeting card and is a popular one. I have had several emails asking when I am going to make a print of this one. It should be available early December so will make a great Christmas present for any dog lovers out there. Watch this space.

 

Dog Inspired Typographic Prints

My Portuguese Water Dog, Figo, has been a great source of inspiration to me. We have just had a book published – Buckinghamshire A Dog Walker’s Guide – (see earlier post) and I have also been busy working on a series of dog-inspired linocut typography prints titled “The Enlightened Hound”

My Portuguese Water Dog Figo

The Enlightened Hound linoprints celebrate the instinctive principles dogs follow for a simple and contented life. We humans can learn much from their canine wisdom!

Canine Wisdom typographic prints by Debbie Kendall

No 1: “Start Each Day…”

Canine Wisdom Typographic Prints by Debbie Kendall

No 2: “If What You Want Lies Buried…”

Canine wisdom typographic prints by Debbie Kendall

No 3: “Run to Greet…”

Canine wisdom typographic prints by Debbie Kendall

No 4: “Explore New Paths…”

The prints have been created using authentic fonts from original Wild West and US Civil War posters. The letters are hand carved onto lino printing plates, then each poster is individually hand-printed on acid free archival 170gsm printmaking paper with traditional linseed oil inks, using hand-mixed colours, inspired by the American Colonial era.

Lino Plate by Debbie Kendall

Carved Lino Plate

Each print uses 4 different lino plates and three colours to produce. Each plate/colour is printed separately by hand. Here are some photos showing the prints at at stage of the process.

Linocut printing process by Debbie KendallLinocut printing process by Debbie Kendall

Linocut printing process by Debbie KendallLinocut printing process by Debbie Kendall

The vintage style, slightly distressed lettering and the typographical style is reminiscent of old Wild West Wanted Posters and 19th century American Show Posters.

They work beautifully as a series or as a single print and will appeal to dog lovers everywhere. They make a great gift.
Prints are signed and editioned in sets of 250.

Paper size is 400 x 500 mm (fits a standard 40 x 50 cm frame)
Image size is 277 x 397 mm

If you like them, why not buy one to celebrate your own dog’s wisdom or treat a fellow dog owner.

Dog Walking Guide Book

In a rather radical departure from letterpress, that will explain my dearth of posts recently, I have been busy finishing a book that has just been published. For all you dog owners out there, who live in or near Buckinghamshire, England, grab yourself a copy of “Buckinghamshire – A Dog Walker’s Guide”.

I have spent the best part of the last year roaming the Buckinghamshire countryside with my Portuguese Water Dog, Figo, perfecting 20 of the best dog friendly walks in the area. I was inspired to write the book as I wanted to get out and explore the fabulous Chiltern countryside Bucks has to offer. However the issues for dog owners trying new places are different from simply rambling without a furry friend in tow.

Without directions or local knowledge, you might get lost or end up walking for miles along roads (possibly busy ones) as you don’t know where footpaths come out (reducing off-lead time for dog and enjoyability of walk for both), plus there are other dog related hazards, such as presence of livestock, blocked off stiles that are important to know for a safe and rewarding walk. So the walks have been designed with maximum off-lead time and minimum exposure to roads and each route comes with detailed information about livestock that may be encountered, the number and type of stiles, the nearest vet and, most importantly dog friendly pubs or cafes along the way!

I have always loved dogs but never owned one till Figo, as it is only now that I have the time to devote to a dog. I blame the Famous Five as I used to read the books to my two boys and they were inspired by ‘Timmy’. My eldest boy then badgered me for the next few years until I finally felt ready to take on the responsibility (as I knew it would ultimately be mine). Now I can’t imagine our family without him and totally identify with Gerald Durrell’s quote “A house is not a home until it has a dog’.

Portuguese Water Dogs are loyal, energetic, intelligent and sensitive companions. Figo brings us together as a family and hates it if any of us gets upset or shouts. He comes running over wagging his tail and instantly restores peace. As I am at home much of the time he is a perfect companion and our walks are an important and rewarding ritual for us both. I am now working on a series of dog-inspired linocut prints – more on this soon!

If you live locally the book is available in many local bookshops, otherwise it can be purchased online from Amazon or from the publisher’s website, Countryside Books.