Having decided on the size of the book and making sure I could actually make it, I started on the artwork for the birds.
The birds will be printed on Japanese tissue, which will be tipped into the colour spreads.
A thumbnail design of how it will work in my sketchbook .
The birds I see around the reservoir here are a constant delight and wonder. But how to choose? Eventually I settled on: Swan, Rook, Jay, Owl, Green woodpecker, Moorhen, Heron, Robin, Pheasant and Blackbird.
I dithered a bit further about how to portray the birds. Should it be the conventional way of showing them in their entirety? Nice but a bit predictable and the title of the project is the “colour” of the birds. So I after a couple of trials I decided to zoom in on various parts of the bird where the particular colour I wanted to feature was located. To add some variety, for two spreads I took the birds away and replaced them with a feather and an egg. Beautiful colours in both cases.
I make a few sketches first, then work on the lino with a white pencil to get the rough idea of the design
Sketches on tracing paper and jay lino block. Approx A4
Then ink in a bit for some better guidelines…
Heron, swan,owl, moorhen,and egg blocks
Then I cut the blocks.
Rook, heron, feather,woodpecker and robin blocks.
This is not the best way to work as it can be a muddle, normally because I am impatient to get on. But also I don’t want the cutting to be tooooo neat and perfect because it loses energy. Also the constant re-drawing, quite apart from being a bit tedious, sometimes misses the feel of the original sketches. It’s also a handy attitude to have if you are prone to mistakes!
Then proofing. This is heron, I made a few notes of the alterations needed
First proofs of some of the others…
Proofs of moorhen, feather, robin, swan and owl drying in the conservatory.
Moorhen proof … one of my favourites. They have wonderful large yellow feet.