to paraphrase Jane Austen . . .
It is a truth universally acknowledged that nice commissions come along when you are already up to your neck in work!
It was late on Tuesday after that I got the email from the Daily Telegraph's creative director, there was no time to dither the deadline was the following Wednesday afternoon. Yes or No? Overload or miss a juicy commission?
I said yes.
The brief was to illustrate an article about growing edible plants in a shady garden. It was for the front page of the Gardening section of the Saturday Daily Telegraph. I found a previous week's copy and stuck a print out of the designer's layout on the front. The design could break out of the top and slightly overlap the header, I also noticed the bottom of the illustration wouldn't be visible when the paper is folded in half.
Thursday evening . . . I drew a more detailed version of the design and traced it onto the lino ready for cutting on Friday.
Friday was spent carving the lino! I was determined to get it done by 6pm as we were going out for supper and then to a Katherine Ryan gig. Gosh I was tired! but the laughing was a great distraction.
Saturday . . . I printed the lino. A few tweaks and once I had one good impression that was it - hung up to dry.
Sunday was Mothering Sunday - my Mum came to lunch and tea and I did lots of cooking (and eating)
Monday . . . now for more colours . . . the brief was to emphasise the shadiness of the garden by using dramatic blocks of colour. I scanned the printed image (thank goodness for my new studio toy - an A3 scanner) and settled down to work in Photoshop.
Each colour is on a separate layer and is set to 'multiply' with the other layers. The result is just like printing layers of transluscant ink over the scanned linocut. Radio 4 on iPlayer and a mug of tea are also essential.
And there it was finished. 'Just' the last "flight-checks" and the image whizzed by email to the newspaper on Monday evening.
And here it is in this morning's paper . . .
I was pleased with the colours, they looked so zingy on the screen but printed on newsprint they are muted but still bright enough. And the folded paper shows the shady garden and then turn over to see the small sunny area utilised to grow salads in a raised bed and herbs in pots (great idea)
And opened out, here's the illustration in full . . .
If you can't get to read the paper, Lia Leendertz's article is in the online Telegraph (my illustration is only in the print edition) and it's full of interesting ideas for growing edible plants in a shady garden.
Now, what was I doing before I was interrupted! A commission for a music festival programme, a local landscape print and May's Gardens Illustrated magazine illustration. I'll need a holiday in April!
And I haven't yet blogged about the March Garden's illustrated linocut . . . that was an interesting challenge! I'll tell you about that in my next blog post.
Before I finish . . .
on my website I've updated the news and events page, there are some new stockists and in the online shop my Gardens Illustrated linocuts are now available as prints and cards (more are being added over the coming weeks/months).
In my shop you can use the discount code MADMARCH16 to get 15% off your purchases of prints and cards (offer ends midnight on 31 March)