I also work small, or assemble the large out of the small, so this was a terrific challenge for me. First I drew a rough sketch, about nine inches square and submitted it for consideration. Accepted!
I scanned it, blew it up in Photoshop, reversed it, divided the sections, printed out the pieces, and taped it all together. Big bird!
Tracing over some artist's transfer paper (coated with graphite), I transferred the image to the linoleum, then worked on the drawing with ballpoint pen. The drawing is the most important part. The carving, I knew, would go pretty smoothly.
As I mentioned in this post, I bought some new carving tools to facilitate the big bird's emergence. How is it possible I've been using the cheap Speedball tools for over thirty years? The new tools made carving so much easier. And they include a larger gouge to clear away larger areas. I worked from my original screen shot, which was a still image from the Osprey camera, as well as my own large drawing. For company, while I was carving I was chatting.
Eventually, it was hard to tell what the image was going to look like. The wings had to be right! Because I do all my printing on my letterpress, I don't have a large stand-alone inking roller, but I do have some small ones. I inked up a little four-inch brayer and inked up the linoleum. After thirty minutes (or was it an hour?), I could see what it was going to look like. I pulled a proof, knowing it probably wouldn't print well. Not enough ink, not good paper, but it would give me a good idea. (Photos from the second time around, after the words were added.)
I inked and printed it up again. This would be the last time for hand printing. I did a little finish work, touching up the marks. And decided it would be best to stop now. There would be no Undo.
"How to Build a Nest"
I really enjoyed working on this, probably because I have been so engaged watching the Osprey nest now for the second season. Richmond is like a character in a story, and I feel like I know him and Rosie, his mate.
If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area on Sunday, September 23, I hope you'll stop by. I'll have a booth at the fair: a book art and printing block party in front of the Center. I'll be at the event all day, from 11am to 4pm. I hope to meet you there!