A Cat Called Panda - Original Prints

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Not only did I have the pleasure of being chosen to illustrate Melanie Arora’s debut children’s poem, A Cat Called Panda, I was also given the chance to create a limited edition run of prints for the launch event on the 9th April 2015.

While working from the original plates, I didn’t have access to a press this time, so each one was to be hand-burnished in my home studio.

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I wanted to prints to be like actual pages from the book, so I printed onto Hosho paper cut to the same size as each page. 

I also discovered that a great way of registering the prints was using a quilting ruler - by having loads of marks, it was easy to see where each should be placed.

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However, hand burnished equals elbow grease and sore palms! 

No matter how many different implements I use, nothing seems to transfer the ink better than my hand - so a combination of this, a balled up old silk shirt (slides easily on the paper) and a good layer of ink resulted in some nice, even prints. The Hosho paper is also great, as its grain density means it’s thin enough to take the ink well, but it’s incredibly strong fibre structure can withstand a lot of rough treatment. Particularly evident on the ‘Panda in the dark plate'…

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Only 6 editions of each plate were printed, especially for the launch event for A Cat Called Panda on 9th April 2015.

This also marks the end of this particular illustrated journey, but the start of many others. Huge thanks to Melanie Arora for her lovely words and Button Books for giving  me the freedom to experiment.

Book of Illustration Competition 2015

Sadly, I wasn’t able to complete these illustrations, or the binding image, in time for entry, but I thought I’d upload my work in progress anyway.

I wanted to maintain a vintage print style, but with a contemporary finish, keeping the colour palette limited and the lines hand drawn. The deep, mossy greens reflecting the sense of death and decay that runs through each ghost story, and the curved, whispy lines adding to the mystery and intrigue evident throughout.

The first illustration is for the story The Treasure of Abbott Thomas by M.R. James.

‘So the whole secret was out;
'Ten thousand pieces of gold are laid up in the well in the court of the Abbot’s house of Steinfeld by me, Thomas, who have set a guardian over them. Garc a qui la touche.’

The second, The Upper Berth by F. Marion Crawford.

'Everybody stopped talking. Brisbane’s voice was not loud, but possessed a peculiar quality of penetrating general conversation, and cutting it like a knife. Everybody listened.’

The third, A Tale of an Empty House by Anon.

'I saw masts against a sheet of water that appeared to stretch unbroken into the rain shrouded gloom of the gathering night’