War Horse Illustrations

I created 3 original illustrations with binding for the House of Illustration 2016 competition. Sadly I didn't make the cut this year, but I'm really pleased with the results.

All of the illustrations are block printed to create 3 original plates. The different elements of the binding were also cut and printed and then edited in photoshop to create a suggested binding layout as per the competition guidelines. This image shows the front and spine.

I grew up only a few miles from where this book was set - and the author lives - and loved it as a child, so it holds a very special place in my heart.

I wanted to create images that evoked a classic style of book illustration, and to reflect the open, unconditional friendship and bond between Joey and Albert, whilst also being able to portray the raw emotion and challenges both faced. Keeping the images in black and white makes them much more striking to the eye, supporting the stark reality of war.

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.