Tuesday, 10 November 2009


First of all, thanks for all the positive comments on my competition entry Paul Crystal - it makes me feel like I didn't waste four days after all.

portrait by Hayley - thanks!

I had a good day out last week to Wrexham, visiting the Illustration for Graphic Novels BA. Did a talk on how and why to draw cats which seemed to go well, and got to see a handful of students about their current projects. Seems like a really good course so far, and I'll be interested to see their degree show (some way off, as they've only got 1st and 2nd years so far). Many thanks to Dan Berry for having me, and all the students for sharing their work. Whilst I'm on this, I can recommend Dan's Comics Bureau blog which he uses to keep the students notified of comics stuff they need to know about - I check it every few days and always find something.

As an early birthday present, my delightful girlfriend Katy booked me onto a print weekend course at the excellent Hotbed Press in Salford - Gum Arabic Transfer. Emerged two days later with 40 prints, around 10 of them presentable, and very excited about the potential of this amazing technique. Essentially it's a poormans lithography, in which you paint photocopies with gum arabic solution, ink them up with oilbased relief ink which is repelled by the damp gum but stays on the black toner, then run through the press to transfer to your paper. There's a lot more to it than this, and plenty of creative ways to play with it, but basically that's it.
Most of my time I spent getting the hang of controlling the variables, but did manage a handful of satisfactory experiments.
Colour separation using a different photocopy 'plate' for each colour -

Using cut and torn tissue paper to create other colour effects -

-and I even tried a 3 colour separation -

-which might've worked if I'd not rushed it (slapping too much ink on, poor registration etc). Although it's messy and not of a cat (weird, I know), there's something almost working with this one, and I think it's probably that the other ones were from copies of essentially line drawings while these trees were drawn without outlines and more as areas of tone and colour.
In the new year I'll definitely be back there having another go at it.

I've just put the boy on the bike up on my shop, and if there are any takers I'll put the 3 lads and the 2 kids up there too.


Oliver East said...

i wondered who wrote Comics Bureau as i've been checking it on and off for a bit now

thingsbydan said...

Thanks Jim - It was a pleasure having you!