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

 

 

Advertisements

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

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

A Dog is the Best Medicine

Ta Da! Here is my latest piece of work…

A dog is the best medicine linoprint and collage by debbie kendall

Ask any dog lover and they will tell you how good their dog makes them feel. Whether we are feeling sad, grumpy, irritable or under the weather, somehow dogs have the ability to make us feel better about life.

My dog, Figo, can immediately smooth over any family rift — at the first sign of raised voices he comes rushing over wagging his tail and never fails to get us all smiling again.
I created this print in honour of a dog’s gift to make us feel better, whatever our situation.

But there is something that makes this print really unique — it is printed onto an ephemera collage of vintage, original pharmacy labels from old medicine bottles. These are very collectable and have a wonderful array of old typefaces, both scripts and block letters. They are the lovely, aged, mellow colour of old parchment.

dog inspired linoprint detail on collage by debbie kendall

This is not a pre-printed digitally reproduced background – I make a unique, individual collage of actual, original labels for each print, so each one is different.There will only be 100 of these prints and each are individually signed and numbered on the reverse.

medicine bottle label collage by debbie kendall

The size of the paper (the labels go to the edge) is approx. 300 x 300 mm (11 3/4”) square.I have chosen to make frames for these prints out of reclaimed wood, which echoes the vintage appeal of the labels.

The frames are made from what ever wood I can source and each frame has its own pattern of knots, grain, dinks, scratches, nail heads, rusty staples, wonky edges and aged patina.

The size of the framed print is around 43 cms (17”) square.

reclaimed wood picture frame by debbie kendall  recalimed cedar wood picture frame by debbie kendall
Linoprint and collage in handmade frame by the enlightened hound
Prints come ready to hang and are fitted with crystal clear acrylic glass.
Available unframed or framed from the Enlightened Hound’s Website

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.