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

 

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as it was related to fashion… the challenge was to keep the vintage feel of the illustrations but without looking out of date with current fashion trends.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.

schermafbeelding-2016-08-30-om-14-20-08

 

An alternative dog portrait – Hounds in Verse

There are lots of amazing dog portrait artists out there and I am always amazed by the incredible variety of ways that you can choose to have your dog rendered as a piece of art, from collage to pencil, oils or charcoal, traditional or modern – the choice is endless.

But I wanted to create something a bit different and even more personal …The result is Hounds in Verse – an illustrated poem that celebrates the wonderful character of each dog and their special relationship with their human.

Each poem is written in rhyming couplets and is completely bespoke and unique to each dog. I create the poems from the wonderful stories that each dog owner shares with me in response to a special questionnaire that they receive when the poem is commissioned.

The poems are intended to be fun, whimsical, touching and humorous and each one is individually hand lettered and illustrated in ink on Japanese Hosho paper.

I feel very privileged to read about the wonderful relationship people have with their dogs and how it manifests itself in their everyday lives and it is enormous fun to recreate this bond as a poem.

Here’s the Hounds in Verse illustrated poem I wrote about my Portuguese Water Dog, Figo.

“A Portuguese name, Figo, we chose,
After a football legend (for those in the know).
And true to his namesake, he loves to play ball,
But the thrill of the chase is the best fun of all.

Squirrel and muntjac are hard to resist,
Dashing off through the woods, silent and swift.
Then, with a tail full of twigs and a coat full of burrs
He returns happy and panting, yet undeterred.

In Cornish coves, but once year,
His sandy paws a souvenir
Of endless beaches and summer days
Spent chasing gulls and jumping waves.

A sensitive boy who hates trouble and strife –
The peacekeeper in our family life.
He runs over, tail wagging, if voices are raised,
The perfect incentive to mend our ways.

When the biscuit tin opens, he’s straight through the door.
Though polite and persistent, we try to ignore
The quick poke of his nose and meaningful stare
That says, “Surely that food is meant to be shared”

He loves to join in the conversation
With an array of amusing vocalisations.
A printmakers dog, in the studio he’ll snooze,
Unaware that he’s an artist’s muse.

When it’s time to unwind at the end of the day,
He kneads his paws on the sofa in a certain way,
& while holding his “Mousey” (well loved and smelly),
He’ll nod off to dreamland, while we watch the telly.”

And here it is in the final pen & ink illustration:

Hounds in Verse Dog Portait

Figo poetic portraitPoetic Dog Portrait Lettering

To commission your own Hounds in Verse dog portrait or to find out more about the process visit The Enlightened Hound’s website.

 

 

 

Yorkshire Terrier Print

The diminutive Yorkie is the 21st breed in my Dog Tag series of prints.

Yorkshire Terrier print unframed

Bred in England as an expert exterminator of vermin in 19th Century mills, mines and factories, this feisty terrier was also a handy pocket sized hunter’s companion, with enough guts to flush out badgers and foxes from their dens.

Yorkshire Terrier print -hand lettered detail

Originally known as the Broken Haired Scotch or Toy Terrier the Yorkies were re-named after a reporter at a show was heard to exclaim that the breed had much improved since it had been in Yorkshire!

It was not long before this tiny and devoted breed made the transition from its working class roots to high society, when it caught the attention of Victorian well-to-do ladies, for whom it became a playful companion and pampered pet.

Yorkshire Terrier print in reclaimed wood frame

Keen of eye and sharp of tongue, what the Yorkie lacks in size it certainly makes up for in spirit. Sprightly and self-important, with a silky steel blue and golden coat, the Yorkshire Terrier remains a terrier at heart.

The print is available framed or unframed from The Enlightened Hound

 

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

Border Collie, Beagle, Westie & Schnauzer Prints

I have been busy with more prints in the Dog Tag series based on the most requested breeds from people I meet at shows and online. So here are the next 4 in the series which brings the total to 17 breeds!

Border Collie: Hand printed in a soft blue-grey ink

Border Collie Print

Detail of Border Collie Print Framed Border Collie Print

Beagle: hand-printed in an earthy khaki-brown ink

Beagle Print

Beagle print detail Framed Beagle Print

West Highland White Terrier (Westie): hand printed in a light sky blue ink

Westie print

detail of Westie print Framed Westie Print

Schnauzer: hand-printed in a sophisticated dark grey ink

Schnauzer print

Detail of Schnauzer print Framed Schnauzer print

The next three breeds in the Dog Tag series, to make it to 20, will be ready in the next couple of months and then I’m taking a break form the series for a few months to work on some other printmaking ideas that I have been thinking about. So many ideas and so little time!!

To purchase and find out more about the prints, visit The Enlightened Hound’s website

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