Tuesday, 31 August 2010

James Thorne: Photographer Extraordinaire

So. Art (and therefore, having no money) runs in my family. My younger brother, James, is a photographer working in large and medium format, digital and traditional mediums. He's recently started printing on aluminium, which is great if you love strong, dark tones and heavy contrast in your photos (you can read more about it- and buy too!- on his website www.dottygallery.com). He also does a great line in extraordinarily beautiful dead things, like the 'Bunny' below (my personal favourite) 
 and these on his blog. He's really very talented (and, being his sister, I wouldn't say that unless it were true) and I promise, they were like that when he found them...

He's also got an Ebay store, http://stores.ebay.co.uk/dottygallery as well as selling through his website, so head on over and give it a browse.


Monday was my dad's birthday, so the other night I sat watching telly and drawing this soppy-faced little labrador puppy for his card. Coincidentally, and entirely independently of me doing this, my mum sponsered a black labrador puppy in my dad's name- strange! Is 2010 the year of the dog?
Ah, nope. I just looked it up. It's the year of the tiger. Well, close enough...

Friday, 27 August 2010


Reduction-cut masthead/logo design for WIRED magazine. Not sure which issue this will be in yet, so keep your eyes peeled!

Thursday, 26 August 2010


It was my friend Chris's birthday on Tuesday, and I was searching Google images for something to draw for his card when I came across an amazing picture of this Princess Di-styled lady and her prize winning collies. The odd thing is that I was searching for "thunder chariot" at the time...(I don't need to explain myself). I couldn't say no.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Lino Print Tutorial

Ages ago a couple of members of online artist's community, Tailcast, asked me if I'd make up a lino tutorial for them, so they could see the process and have a go for themselves. I've got a bit of a summer lull in work at the moment, so I thought now might be the time to finally do it (sorry for taking so long, guys!).

So, here we go.

1. First step is to get hold of some lino. I use 3.2mm thick, from TN Lawrence, which is pretty soft and malleable, and that means you're much less likely to injure yourself than with thicker, harder stuff. They also sell Speedy Stamps, which are easier to cut than traditional lino, and good for first timers.

2. Once you've decided on your design (start with something simple, like the text I'm using here), trace it and transfer it onto your lino. Remember it will need to be a mirror image of your design, or it will come out backwards when you print it. If you find your lino curling or feeling particularly stiff at this stage, you may need to heat it a little to make it more workable. If you haven't got access to a hot plate you could leave it in the sun, on a radiator, or even sit on it for a bit to warm it. It won't take long. If it gets too hot it may crack when you try to cut it. It's too hot when it starts to smell- if this happens leave it to cool for a bit. Probably won't be a problem if you're sitting on it...

3. Now, using a lino cutting tool (you can get beautiful wooden ones for grown-ups, but I'm still using the plastic 'student' cutter i bought from the art shop at college. You can get them in most art shops. It does the job just as well), carefully, and aiming away from your other hand, cut around your design. Try not to go too deep or use too much pressure- you'll not only make it harder for yourself and make holes in your lino, you'll also run the risk of damaging either yourself or your design.

4. Once you're done cutting, portion out the smallest amount of ink you'll need onto a flat, non-porous surface (it's usually less than you think- too much ink on your roller will bleed all over your plate). I use Speedball water-based inks which i can rinse off in the sink without having to use harmful chemicals. They also dry much quicker than oils and there are now plenty that rival oil-based ones for intensity of colour.

5. Roll the ink out until it looks smooth and velvety- if it looks gloopy then you've got too much, so either roll it out over a wider area or put a bit back. It should look like the image below.

6. Roll the ink onto your plate, taking care not to get any on the cut-out parts. If this happens use a rag- or a cotton bud for fiddly bits- to rub it off. At this point you can decide how much ink you want where- if you want lighter or more textured areas, apply less ink.

7. Carefully place your paper on top of your plate. Either run your print through a printing press or, if you haven't got access to one, do as I do, and use a spoon. It doesn't need to be a big spoon, but it does need to be smooth- wood or rust could tear your paper.

I'm using very fine paper, so I can see the print coming through already, but if you're using thicker paper, feel around for the relief parts of your plate (it's a good idea to start with the edges so you don't miss any bits) and rub over them with the back of the spoon using a firm pressure. Continue until you've covered the whole print- for reference you will see an embossed, reverse image of your design visible through the paper.

8. Now gently peel the paper back from the plate to reveal your lovely, new lino print! Marvelous.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010


I've now got an official Facebook page, so get over there and Like the hell out of me! There's a special little gadget down the right hand-side of this page that will take you there, or you could just click here http://www.facebook.com/becca.thorne#!/pages/Becca-Thorne-Illustration/141797852508938


So the lovely Helen, of From Little Seeds, had a birthday yesterday, and as a special treat she brought me cake! I ruddy love birthdays.

I thought I'd better give her something too (as, really, that's how it should work) so I drew her this fancy peacock for her card, and gave her a wonderful little book entitled, "TITMICE", all in capitals. It's about tits (the birds, not the boobies. Although, they're a bird too... it's all very confusing). I never knew that tit was short for titmice. Anyway, Helen makes beautiful stuffed birds (see them on her blog) and is always looking for inspiration for new "species" to add to her avian army. I though that fluffy little TITMICE might make good spies for infiltrating enemy lines. Who would suspect them...?

Helen currently sells prints, birds, bags and other handsewn lovelies upstairs at Woolies Indoor Market, on Whiteladies Road, Bristol (wooliesindoormarket.com) but will soon be moving to a little shop in Clifton village. Watch this space for the new address!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

I want to read the map, Keith...

This weekend we went on a little camping trip to Purbeck, a beautiful area of Dorset which was the setting for Mike Leigh's ingenious Nuts In May. It was our second trip down there, and this time I remembered to take some photos of the landscape. In particular the strip lynchets which are really clear in the hillside below the village of Worth Matravers. They're the remains of man-made field systems ploughed hundreds of years ago, and look a lot like my work, don't you think? Maybe someone was copying me....

I swear I took this photo on Saturday. I didn't just cut it out of a 70s tourist guide...