Sunday, August 02, 2015

Linocuts. Linocats

This is our tabby cat, Clyde. We adopted him two years ago as his previous owners couldn't take him abroad with them when they had to move from England back to the United States. He used to be a house cat. Now we've given him his shots and he has learnt to love the outdoors.

Sleepy Clyde.

He has gorgeous markings. I've wanted to do a lino cut of him for a long time. Lots of printers have been inspired by their pet cats in the past.
Edward Bawden's linocut of a tabby cat with a ball of wool

Richard Bawden's kit

Eileen Mayo's woodcut cats are too adorable!

Ok, so the first thing I did was take some snaps of Clyde. This one looked okay as a starting point. Animals can be a proper pain to photograph. They never stay still.

Hey boy!

Then I decided to add a load of contrast to the image in Photoshop using the 'threshold' tool. This was to help me see the image clearly in monochrome. I want to do a lino cut in one colour only.
I've doodled some plants around him too.
If I was lazy I could have just printed this image and traced it onto my piece of lino to cut, but I consider myself an illustrator and I wanted to capture his personality and add my own drawing style to the print too. So I used this digital image as a reference to do a new sketch.
My sketched lino cut design of Clyde
Clyde has a huge nose and muzzle for a kitty and he has these markings above his eyes that look like eyebrows, so I emphasised these. Next I traced it onto my lino and started to cut out the design.
Awww. I love his cheeky face.
   Almost there...
It's so messy. There are lino shards everywhere.
And then I made some prints
They take a few days to dry in my living room. 
Here is the finished print. I used a Japanese Sumi-e paper because it's acid-free, environmentally friendly and it's really thin. The ink soaks into the paper really quickly and it has a nice texture.

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