Drawing

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Close up of etching

Close up of etching

This week I have been working on a collaborative etching project with my dad, calligrapher Duncan Tolmie. He has recently been experimenting with pointed pen style lettering – a more modern, informal calligraphy style. Lettering has a special affinity with traditional printmaking and I thought this new contemporary calligraphy with its free flowing curves and spontaneous marks would would work beautifully as an intaglio print. During a ransack of my dad’s sketchbook I came across a Picasso quote which became the starting point for our first calligraphic etching.

Sketchbook excerpt

Sketchbook excerpt

To transfer the design accurately, I printed the calligraphic lettering onto acetate and exposed the image onto the surface of the plate coated in photo-sensitive film. In the studio we aquatinted the plate then etched the lettering to a deep tone. After printing the first proof I recoated the plate in a wax ground and my dad drew some flourishes around the text with a very fine etching needle. This pattern was lightly etched and then the plate was inked up in viridian green and aquamarine to make a subtle gradient. I left some ink on the surface of the plate, particularly around the text, so there would be a subtle vignette and some tone in the background.

Calligraphic etching

Calligraphic etching

I also made a couple of smaller plates etched with the word ‘breathe’ which we inked in various colours. More to follow on these later….

Here is an image of my new fox etching with tribal style pattern. The etching (shown on the right) was based on a pen drawing from my sketchbook (pictured on the left).

Pen drawing & final etching/aquatint

Pen drawing & final etching/aquatint

 

The initial pen drawing was created with Copic Multiliners – mainly 0.03mm and 0.05mm with a thicker nib to shade the patterning.  For the etching, I coated a zinc plate in a hard wax ground then used a very fine etching needle to create a detailed line drawing. The plate was then bitten for about 8 mins in 1:5 nitric. Afterwards, I coated the plate in aquatint resin and stopped out areas to achieve a range of tonal values – the total biting time in 1:15 was about 5 minutes.

The next stage will probably be to experiment with some watercolour washes.

Close up of final print

Close up of final print

 

 

Immense thanks go to Cult Pens for selecting my banner design and featuring me as Artist of the Month in their newsletter. If you love pens visit their website – an immense cornucopia of all thinks inky. My personal favourites are the Copic and Sakura fineliners – the Copic Multiliner goes down to an incredibly dimunitive 0.03 nib size. With the SP version, nib replacements are available to make sure you can maintain a clean crisp line and the same level of detail without having to replace the whole pen.

The banner design below was created with a 0.03 Copic Multiliner and Copic Ciaou and Sketch brush pens.

Sailing

 

This etching is of a beach called Sielebost in late-Autumn. The sea is unusually calm, with just a few rippling waves pushing crystal clear water into small inlets between the rocks. The sky is smudged with a few white clouds. In the foreground, the machair leans slightly in the breeze while the mountains stand strong in the background.

The initial image was drawn with a very small etching needle and the first proof was a simple line drawing. Additional detail, texture and shading were then added using aquatint, to give the image more depth and atmosphere.

Image size: 205mm x 190mm

Sold unframed.

view-from-sielebost

The beaches on the Isle of Harris, in the Outer Hebrides, are some of the most stunning I have ever seen. The almost-white sands and crystal clear water could be part of a tropical paradise – only the howling winds and thunderous skies reveal the fact that you are on the outermost edge of Northern Scotland. Somehow, the inimitable Hebridean climate only serves to make the wild beaches on Harris even more romantic.

Sudden, extreme changes in weather mean rainbows are commonplace. The quality of light is constantly in flux; dramatic alterations that are hard to capture even on camera. Late in the evenings you have a chance of glimpsing aurora borealis. In April the rough machair bursts into bloom creating a colourful wildflower frame around the beaches. The views are like looking through a kaleidoscope.

Original drawing

‘Beware of the Dog’ started off life as a tiny drawing in my sketchbook with a 0.03 Copic fineliner. I scanned the drawing in and heightened the contrast in Photoshop to get a clear black and white image. The file was then transferred to Illustrator and I used the live trace feature to create a vector image that could be successfully enlarged.

Layers were created for each new colour selection and blocks of colour drawn using the Pen Tool. The final screenprint used six different inks, so six transparencies were made and these were exposed onto a screen.

Each colour was printed separately and the illustration gradually appeared out of obscurity with each new layer of ink. The black layer (the original drawing) was printed last and brought it all together.

Final six-colour screen print

Final six-colour screen print

To see more visit my portfolio on Behance.

 

This completed print started life as a tiny drawing in my sketchbook with a black Copic fineliner.

Bunny-and-Blossom-drawing

I used a fine etching needle to draw the image onto a zinc plate coated with a wax resist, then immersed the plate in an acid bath for around six minutes. During the biting process I painted acid resistant varnish over certain areas before returning the plate to the acid. Tone, and painterly marks were added afterwards with aquatint. The plate was hand-inked with a blue/green ink and printed on Fabriano paper.

bunny-and-blossom