An African Alphabet Workshop

African Alphabet_ Indigo Eglinton_5-4-17

Printmaking fun at Indigo Yonge and Eglinton! I will demonstrate my lino-cut illustration technique and invite the young and young at heart to try their hand at printmaking. There will be stamping and colouring activities from An African Alphabet written by Eric Walters and published by Orca Book Publishers.

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The making of a linocut illustration

An interest in Revolutionary and Napoleonic France propelled me to explore the lives of influential women from the period. I developed an interest in the fascinating life of Josephine Bonaparte and have written and illustrated a graphic novel about her  journey from a plantation in Martinique, through the Terror to become Empress of France. The rough dummy is complete and a few pieces of final art, including this scene of a Victims’ Ball. Legend has it that after the Terror victims gathered to dance wildly as a release from the horrors they had experienced under the Jacobins.  Women and men sheared their hair at the nape of the neck where the guillotine blade would have fallen. Women purportedly wore red chokers for the same reason. The historical accuracy of these accounts is contentious but it makes for an interesting story.

VictimBall_sketch
This is the preliminary sketch of the Victims’ Ball scene. I usually do my roughs in felt tip pen but this was so detailed I thought it might be more efficient to use pencil and eraser rather than continually retracing as the drawing develops. I got into the habit of working with pen on tracing paper from my days as a retail layout artist.
VictimsBall_lino
This is the scan of a detail of the inked linoleum carving. I am so accustomed to thinking in reverse after all these years in printmaking that I have trouble discerning reality from its mirror image. I can, however, read text backward with great facility.
VictimBall_Paper
I often use a textured background under my line work and colorize it in Photoshop with Hue/Saturation. This is one of my favourite textures, a scanned sheet of kraft paper. The process may look laborious but I have gained speed over the years and still enjoy the combination of hand carving and digital work. Variety is the spice of life!