30 April 2008

the telly...

...the best and worst friend you could ever have. if you ain't too careful he will lure you into a world of distraction but sometimes he can show you new and interesting things. for the past year or so i have discovered the joy of having more than four channels with the help of a free view box and then the world of sky plus a multitude of channels. now i am slowly turning off the telly and getting back to the world of music and reading. plus by turning off the telly i have realised that i do in fact have that extra day that i have been requesting from the man upstairs. it was hiding in and amongst the other days of the week and the telly. i keep meaning to draw David Tennant as i am challenging myself to draw people but i haven't got round to it yet.
colour colour colour...

...as much as i like colour, it is very difficult for me to pick and choose colours when screen printing. it is a nightmare and i hate mixing colour. Magda who is one of the lovely print technicians at the university let me borrow her fancy paints so i could create some swatches. after i decided which ones i liked she helped me mix up my very own pots. i am useless with paint but i am getting better. i was toying with the purple/burgundy and the lilac that are in the print above with a green but i didn't like the green very much and think the blue works better.

please click on the image to see more detail of the print and the detail of the word 'robber'. ta.

as long as a piece of string...

...at the moment i am trying to tie up little loose ends and am forming some kind of action plan for the rest of the week. i have been in the print room for two days solid and i feel i need a break and some fresh air. i have been doing an edition print run of the robber bird and all the cafe characters. i have done sixteen prints so am thinking maybe i will do a run of twenty five in total. editions are best done when the surrounding atmosphere is cool as the printing paint doesn't like to play when the weather is warm. i have also randomly screen printed onto about 200 postcards and also printed onto a t-shirt as Craig requested a print of the robber bird and button. you can see a photo of it here. t-shirts are another thing that i am thinking of doing but for the moment it will be added to to-do list. i have also managed to get my hands onto some nice calico bags and have some cotton ones on the way in the post. i am playing on potatochop at the moment as i am trying out the ceramics paper tomorrow if i can find a laser copier. oh yeah! above are three postcards that i have just scanned in to show and tell.

27 April 2008

a little bit of stitching...

...i had a break from the computer screen and spent about an hour and half stitching into this etching print which i printed onto fabric. many little tiny stitches are on his body to colour him in. he has also got some sparkly stitching on his chest but the scanner is bit pants at the moment. i nearly told it to pack its bags the other night on Thursday and last night the printer decided to throw a wobbly as well. technology eh? must get back to the tip tap tapping of words and doodling.

sort of new badges...

...i made these shortly after making the bread badges but have only just got round to sewing on the brooch pins as i ran out. i made them ready for zine number two but that is on the to-do list for the moment. i have drawn everything out ready for it but it needs a few hours on potatochop and illustraightner of which i don't want to do at the moment plus i have more important work to be getting on with. Rubidoo in Preston has started stocking my badges. it is a little independent shop just off friargate on adelphi street very much near uni. i hear they are selling well which means the name ladysnail is getting out and about.

26 April 2008

pool and snooker...

...at the moment i have had to give in and turn the radio off and put the telly on so i can watch the snooker. when we were younger we had a small pool/snooker table to play with and a darts board and we used to go to the pub with the family at weekends. me and my brother would then also play even more pool. i was not very good at it. my excuse is due to James being good i never got a turn and so therefore i could never practise. at i got older i continued to play pool and still do on occasions but it is so damn expensive. it is a pound ago and when we little it was 20p! so i just thought i would share a photo from the sometime in the 1980's of my brother playing pool of some sort. i ain't too sure what he playing as there are balls of different sizes and many different colours. one day i would like to go see a professional game of darts.

artlab exhibition...

...a couple of photos from Wednesday evening. the exhibition was held in the centre for contemporary arts which is a little house opposite the university library. it is only a small space and so it was difficult to move around and take some good photos. the robber bird print looks good in a frame and it is great to be part of the artlab group and its events. there were other private views on that evening. delusions of grandeur in the PR1 gallery in the victoria building and foresight '08 in the atrium in the student union building. so basically me, Katie and Alice went round having a look at everything and we drank a bit of wine. it was a very nice evening with very nice weather.

25 April 2008

three colour rainbow...

...i have been working super fast the last couple of days. due to losing the first screen design that i had, i felt i had to be on the ball for the rest of the week so i have been drawing, thinking, making and screen printing like crazy. the best thing though is that the ideas are starting to come together and plus all the hours i spend in the print room make me tired enough to sleep. normally i lie there awake for hours on end or read books till morning. today i have been printing colourful screen prints from a new screen that i designed last night on the computer. it took me lot longer than i thought to plan out. i followed the double page spread rough that i had done before but i just found it difficult last night. i didn't give up though and carried on and it came out very good indeed which is the first image. the second image are just pieces of that screen put together at random on an A4 size of paper. i did a few of those as i am going to draw on them later on this weekend.



magnet mad...

...i am addicted to making magnets at the moment. they are so simple to make though i do like the little bread and brew pillow badges that i made last month. i am trying new different things to see how they work out. i first tried matt magnet paper and then gloss but i think i prefer the matt though the gloss looks all shiny and professional. the robber bird is on gloss and so i think i will have to try a colour on gloss. some of my magnet packs will be up on etsy when the man above approves my idea of an extra week day. otherwise i will just have to continue finding that extra day during the darkness of night time.

24 April 2008


on the good old computer...

...somehow i have managed to layer up some scraper board and a screen print to create a full coloured robber bird. it looks very interesting and i have been playing around with all the possibilities for layering via screen printing. i used to create screen print layers by hand using photo copiers but since last year i have been using potatochop and illustraightener to do so. it makes the process a lot quicker but complicates my ideas. not in a bad way but makes you think more about screen printing and all the different layer combinations and colours and its all very endless like a piece of string. i think i am going to play with hand drawn scribbles now to cover the robber bird's body instead of scraper board. might try and make the scraper board scratches bigger. today i was in the print room all day doing colour swatches and postcards and printing onto calico. the colour swatches are for a double page spread that i am putting onto a screen tomorrow of which he up there is possibly a part of.

23 April 2008



second attempt...

...last week i painted a screen print design but when it came to coating it with filler to create the print area it went a bit wrong. instead of stressing out and becoming a flake i decided to just get on with it and do another one. i planned out the design a bit better and did it in the space of two days. the top picture is a screen print i did this evening from the new screen and the bottom image is a photo of part of the old screen that went wrong. so it was a step backwards but i think in the end i made three steps forward as i think the new design works better and the ideas are flowing for the rest of the experiment pages i am going to draw tonight as i reached a blank with it last night. please click on the images to see them larger. especially the first one.
bit of a history lesson...

...might not look like stephen fry but i did try. i drew him this evening while i used the technology of today to learn more about the technology of yesterday. as part of my dissertation my main area of research was about the print revolution which began with Gutenberg's invention of the movable type press. so on the bbc iplayer there is a sixty minute programme of which mister Stephen Fry goes on a journey to discover the history of how, what, why, where and when with regards to Gutenberg's creation. with the help of two print enthusiasts, they go as far as making a replica printing press from wood and print a page or so to replicate Gutenberg's bible which caused a storm in the mid fifteenth when he unveiled it at an important trade fair. it is available to watch for the next five days and if needs be if you download it you can keep it to watch for thirty odd days. by the way i am not advertising or endorsing the BBC but just thought i would share a link. i think i am off to sleep as my imagination is very tired at the moment and needs a rest as i have been trying to draw pages for my book but nothing seemed to flow or work except hand written text. even then i didn't know what words to draw. i am not worrying too much as i believe i will be hit by a burst of ideas tomorrow. maybe around 11.24am.

Monday...

...on Monday i made the decision that i me and my camera must become as one as i was missing photo opportunities. i missed a Scottish marching band on Sunday while i was on my way to find acrylic spray and taking photos with the mobile phone is not on. first thing on Monday my decision was justified as a little robin came into the print room! now my witness account may be biased due to my current line of illustration work. he came in to the main print room whilst we were in the tea room. he swiftly looked around to check out the merchandise but he got caught out as he thought he was on his own. he then tried to fool us by looking like he was lost and started to ask us for directions. we kept telling him where the windows were but he still continued to fly around to see if there was anything of value he could lift. after a while he made his escape through a sky light. i know what his face looks like now as he wasn't wearing a mask. so beware the robber bird.

ps. my robber bird print was selected to be part of the artlab group exhibition of which the private view is tomorrow. i haven't been in an exhibition for a over a year now and so am very excited to see it alongside other people's work. i will of course be taking my camera.

20 April 2008

slowly...

...i am starting to restock the ladysnail etsy shop. i have put an embossed robber bird etching print up this afternoon for $70 USD roughly £35. please go and have a peek and a gander at it and at other lovely things on etsy by different people. see what takes your fancy.

lee ford...

...came to our university on Thursday last week and did a talk about his work. he also did a 'zine workshop with us students in the afternoon and even joined us in the pub for the second drink and draw session. above is one of lee's silkscreen christmas prints-we did a swap and he now has one of my embossed robber bird prints. lee ford is one of the original members of Black Convoy who are an illustration collective. he has created many editorial illustrations and has been in various exhibitions and shows. he is also a fellow printmaker! yay! please go check out more about him and his work over here on his blog.

19 April 2008

pencil rough...

...i have nothing to show for today's efforts as it has been a day of little panic. i am sure i will find what i am looking for on Monday so i am going to stay positive. i have some photocopies of my work so i think i can work on somethings till then. i have been re-reading research and brainstorming my last two thousand words or so of the dissertation. so tomorrow is a day of hunting down some acrylic spray for the ceramic ideas and a day of typing up of many words. i have decided to post up a rough of a double page spread that i quite like that has come from the pages i have been doodling. i am planning to take this one to the print room this week to see how it and other bits of the book may look. i have not really done a lot of 'text-typography' screen printing so i think a couple of days experimenting with it and colours are in order. the colour index book by jim krause is fab for ideas and colour combinations so it is just a case of colour mixing in the print room to get them to kind of match up.
where is the sunshine...

...so we can go to ice cream vans in the park? just a doodle i am incorporating into my next hand painted screen experiment thing. i have been working on some pages of the 'book'. it is more like a series of illustrations that could be a book if they wanted to be. the word book is in them comma things as with regards to everything-the dissertation-what i what to do-what i am trying to do-children's picture books and that, i have come to the conclusion that a story can be told without being bound into a book. the dissertation is getting there now and the end is in sight. i quite enjoy writing it. its just the typed words on paper bit and sentences that i am not too good with. the other week it was all very blurry but now with help and directions i have found a path. its a wobbly path at the moment but i am happy to be on that path. the scanner is not hocked up so i will have to post some images up later today.

17 April 2008

news...

...just to say that i have put a 'bird and button' print up on etsy for $30 which is roughly £15. postage and packaging is a little bit etc. the print is one that is the square one which i posted up last week. it is part of a strictly limited edition of ten prints. i am hoping to put an embossed stamp one up as well when it is dry after being pressed and rested for a couple of days. also on the news front, i have submitted two pieces of work to be considered for an artlab exhibition which opens next week on Wednesday evening.

16 April 2008



inside salts mill...

...just another post about what i saw inside the mill as blogger only allows so many photos with each post. the bottom two are by David Hockney and i took a lot more than what is here but i think you should go and have a look for yourself! there was one he did which i would describe as rain and puddles and one of lightening that i liked. also a set of simple black etchings that seem to tell a story. i was hoping to find a book about his etchings or some postcards or something but i think i may have to have a look in the university library. also there are other interesting and unusual items around the mill such as the 'dentist' chair. there is also a big huge chair on the second or third floor but you are not allowed to sit on it.

saltaire...

...on Saturday i went to Saltire to go to salts mill with the mister. it was what i would call a visual day out and it was very nice to explore somewhere new. it is not that far from Bradford and is a little place that Sir Titus Salt created for his workers to live in. more information can be found here. salts mill is the mill he owned and it now features a lot of David Hockney's etchings and other bits of his work. i never knew he did printwork and i very much like his work. there are loads of things to see within the walls of the mill, a floor full of books with a children's books section, other work by other artists, two cafes and a history bit about Sir Titus Salt and other people who are associated with the mill. it was a great day out but i didn't do much drawing just a lot of photo taking but i did draw what we ate in the salts mill diner/cafe. i think i may have to set up a flickr account soon.

15 April 2008

snap...

...another etching print that is the same as before but different. above is a photograph of a print that i did today. i had to take a photo as the scanner did not pick up the embossed stamp design. today i cut the copper plate down to size and etched away the stamp outline which took about three and a half hours. i printed one with the stamp design inked up but it was too difficult to keep crisp and clean while preparing the plate with ink prior to printing so i decided to see how it would look if just the robber bird would be inked in therefore leaving the etched stamp design outline to emboss the paper during printing. i am taking part in an artlab exhibition and the submission date is tomorrow and i do not know what to pick to put in. maybe the robber bird and/or the weasel teashop. for now i am off to go do a bit of stitching as i printed the robber bird onto some kind of cotton yesterday and i am trying out some combinations of different techniques and working materials.


drink and draw...

...a very simple idea. i took part in the first Preston drink and draw meet up last Thursday. i ain't sure what to write about drink and draw as i don't know very much about it as it was Craig's idea but it was a very good evening of drawing and very slow cider drinking. doodling in different surroundings is very oddly relaxing and fun. i drew for quite a few hours. we had about five different sheets of paper floating between two tables which we swapped and changed to draw on other people's drawings. above are some sections that i have cropped out from the originals. i didn't want to upload the full big images as they would be compromised by the small space you upload the images to.

09 April 2008




aquatint...

...robber bird and a verb or a 'doing word' that people should wear everyday. about four years ago i remember a woman spoke to me in whsmiths and told me to smile. so i did and she said you should smile more often. i drew this word on one of the blank pages and used some typography research to help me with the font style. in the print room today, i added an aquatint to the bird plate. the first attempt didn't work so i tried again. first i de-greased the copper and when it was dry, used an airbrush gun to apply an even coating of the aquatint solution (magda the lovely technician helped). it is light a brick red colour. when that is then dry, i painted out the areas with 'stop out' which protects the areas where i didn't want the aquatint to be etched. when the plate is entirely dry it then went in the Edinburgh etch. i have never done an aquatint before. not even in a-level printmaking as i was too scared. i remember why now as it is a very quick process. i was going to leave it in the etch for an hour as i was going by the time of what it takes for a normal hard ground etch. thank god i checked with tracey the technician first! i only had to leave the plate in the etch for one minute and forty seconds for it to have aqua-tinted. the result is the print i have posted up. aquatint applies an even tonal area and the longer it stays in the etch the darker the aquatint will be when printed. so if i had left it in for a hour it would have been so dark that maybe his eyes would have disappeared. tomorrow i have a little plan of action, some screen printing, further dummy book work and maybe a soft ground or another aquatint on the robber bird plate.

there will be a robber bird print for sale on etsy within a couple of days. i am just waiting for the print to dry so i can sort it out properly and that ready for sale.

08 April 2008


prussian blue...

...is a softer more appreciative colour to print with when printing a plate for the first time. well that is what i think anyway. everything seems to look better when it ain't in black or forced to have a black outline. i took my favourite doodle and decided to etch it onto a copper plate i had prepared earlier like they do in blue peter. i wasn't worried too much about the outcome. i decided to do an etch and made myself make snap decisions about what i was doing and thinking throughout the process. for example i started to wander and was tempted to etch something else but i told myself no and to be brave and to brew up at regular intervals. so first off i have etched into a hard ground. i blocked out some of the little mistakes i had done-not mistakes as such-it is just the hard ground has a tendency to etch away in bigger flakes sometimes and so i am able to paint it out to stop and protect it from the biting ways of the Edinburgh etch. then i dunked it in said etch solution for about three hours. the plate has to be rotated half way through the time or on a regular basis to make sure it etches even. it would do this by itself if there was a pump in there moving the solution all around but there isn't. above is the second print i did from the plate. it is a bit cloudy as i was having a war with the tissue you use to softly rub away the excess ink prior to printing. i am very pleased with the outcome though except that i forgot to reverse the image prior to etching as i would have preferred him to be facing right but never mind. tomorrow i think i may attempt an aquatint as i have never ever never done this before and maybe some soft ground as well. both of these processes may be carried out on the robber bird plate. these processes as per the dissertation is one way in which they used to mass produce books and within them reproduce illustrations in the oldie worlde days. aquatint and soft ground are and were alternate methods for adding detail as say just printing a harsh and very definite line. you can add depth, detail, line and tone if you wish by using various different etching techniques and methods.



working towards a smile...

...a hell of a lot has happened over the last twenty four hours. this, that and the other. i cant begin to explain and do not wish to put it all up here on this blog as i can safely say i am bit of a sensitive live wire at the moment. up above are two pages from a working dummy book that originally started life as the hundred words about a robot button. after speaking to tutors yesterday i went off and doodled and my favourite page is the top robber bird one. today was very rollercoaster-ish and once i had a brew and seen some kind of sense, i went to the print room with the plan to etch something from what i had created last night. in amongst today, Ali added some more blank pages to my dummy book and took some out. i started to draw in them straight away while i waited for the Edinburgh etch to do its thing on a copper plate i had sorted out before dinner. the bottom page is my favourite so far from the second/third batch of pages but i have yet to complete this batch. today has been like playing with fire. that's what i would say is the best word to use and therefore there has been some pretty fireworks exploding on my pages a result. the waves look very interesting.
cups of tea...

...up above is the front cover of craig barr's 'zine. he is a print maker and illustrator who's blog can be found by clicking on this word right here. craig likes cups of tea and playing with letters in the print room. i couldn't decide which pages to scan in to show you so i am just showing you the front cover in the hope you will go and find out more about it over on the link.

07 April 2008

dissertation malarkey...

...i like it and loathe it at the same time. there is just so much information about the world of self publishing. children's books and the whatnot. just now i have found an interview with mister Rob Ryan on magma books. i love his work. i can not describe how or why. i suppose it is because he works in a very traditional way with his screen printing and paper cuts. they are complicated and simple at the same time. i like his use of colour and admire his attention to detail.
rare...

...it unusual for me to not update the blog and so here i am with a photo of the moor hen that does exist. it lives on the canal outside the Manchester flat and i often feed it but that depends if the geese get to the bread first. they are all constantly hungry. moor hens bob around really funny all the time and make me smile and i need something to make me smile at this moment in time. i have been working really hard on the dissertation of doom and i have to admit that i have not been seeing things clearly for a long time when i thought i was. things are worse again so i have gone back to the beginning and am going to work and play around with the robotington button story this evening. so i will be doodling on the spaces Ali created for me tonight to take into uni tomorrow. i suppose it is like rock climbing. i never thought i would do something like rock climbing. it looked too scary and difficult. it wasn't for me, until Lu Shin invited me to go about a month or so ago and so off i went. i enjoyed it more than i thought i would but tried to climb a big tall huge wall too soon and couldn't. i realised that i need to climb little walls first in order to climb big ones.

the poster i ordered from 'advice to sink in slowly' arrived as well. it is beautiful and fits in perfectly with my thoughts and feelings. i must go make a brew as my heart is beating way too fast and i need to calm down.