The April issue of Gardens Illustrated Magazine has been published, my copy arrived yesterday in the post. The final article in the magazine is always 'The Writer's Plot' by Frank Ronan, it's a coda to the magazine – an end piece, a slowing down, a final chord.
I thought that you'd like to see behind the scenes as I worked on my first illustration as a regular contributor to GI. I'm given about a month to work on the illustration, I have no idea what the subject of Frank's piece will be until it appears in my email inbox. It was only then that I realised it was about Frank's new garden in California!
The editor highlighted the sentence that will be printed larger and in italics under the illustration, also underlined were two latin plant names - Aloe barberae and A. polyphylla. I read Frank's words and looked up the plants on Google, I also found photographs of the other Aloes mentioned.
Once my rough had got the thumbs up from the Art Director, I could start work on the linocut.
The final size would be 90mm wide, the block is 190mm wide, I kept the lines bold as very fine textures would get lost when the illustration is reduced.
I've decided to print the GI illustrations in a single colour, different for each month. Aloes suggested to me a deep verdigris copper-green.
I needed just one clean crisp proof, hand burnished on smooth white Japanese Hosho, to scan for the final hi-res digital image (on the right, below). After scanning the original print, I adjust and edit the white background in Photoshop to make sure it is perfectly clean – this will mean that when printed, the background of my illustration will be the colour of the magazine page.
I will be printing a limited edition of this linocut, which will be available this Autumn.
I've already finished the illustration for the May magazine and have just started research for the June one. I can't tell you more about those until the magazines are published.