Friday, 5 October 2012

Printing a Bookplate

I was commissioned by an old friend, C, to make an 'ex libris' bookplate for her husband, J. Her brief was pretty detailed:

  • In the style of Eric Gill, because her husband, like all right thinking people, is a massive fan (despite the dog-bothering and so on)
  • Featuring a quote from Samuel Beckett, another hero of his: "I know what the words know"
  • Depicting a pohutukawa tree, from his native New Zealand
  • And depicting his whole family.

That's some kitchen sink brief, but I like a challenge.

My source material included a book of Gill prints, featuring this little cracker:

Google images of the pohutukawa tree:

... and my own memory of the back of J's head and those of his family. I don't really do faces (too difficult), but fortunately, J's family have properly distinctive hairdos.

Stage one:

A massive ripoff of the Gill type style. I particularly like the little diamonds to separate words

Stage two

Tree and family added

Absolutely MASSIVE cockup averted here when C asked that J could join in the family group rather than sit alone, as though in some righteous dadly huff. If she noticed that I'd witlessly copied the Kindle logo she was good enough not to say, but it was a good save in any case.

She also correctly pointed out that J looked a bit Sideshow Bob. Now his hair really IS that big, but on balance his feet probably aren't a yard long, so I had another go.

Stage three

The final, un-Simpsons sketch was transferred by The Magic Primary School Tracing Paper Method to a sheet of lino.


Stage Four

I gouged the lino block

... and printed it. Early versions were a bit rough

... but I got there in the end. The fine folks at Marstan Press printed a few hundred on sticky backed matt stock, and the deed was done.


Claire Maugham said...

We love it. Thank you. C&J xx

Lew Jaffe said...

very interesting. may I link to this posting on my bookplate blog?

JS said...

Hi Lew, sorry for the delay. Please do! Love your site ... J

inklings said...

this is beautiful, James!