Saturday, 30 September 2017

New book art coming soon

A few pictures of work in progress for a new artist's book, inspired by a famous party held at the American embassy in Moscow and the literary classic it helped to inspire...




Tuesday, 29 August 2017

The University on the Hill


A recent commission for Glasgow University has just been finished!

Above and below are photos from the project, which include a lasercut book and a series of enlarged laser-cut pieces based on some pages from the book.

The brief required numerous buildings from Glasgow Uni's Gilmorehill campus to be incorporated in to the design of the book, hence the diverse range of building styles throughout:





Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Work in progress

This is a current work in progress which was on my table at Edinburgh Fruitmarket's Artists book market earlier on this year.

It's still unfinished, as I've been busy editioning lots of other work recently.  Either the etching plate may get aquatinted to give it more depth, or the whole thing will need to get re-designed.  While I'm trying to decide what would be best for this piece, I thought I'd share a few photos of it here for now...





Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Nylmah excerpt - available to buy online now


Occasionally the laser cutter messes up while it's cutting and I'm unable to use whole pieces for books. Here's an example of a small area of a damaged Nylmah that I managed to save - it encapsulates the story well and it also works as a stand alone piece.

This is a unique, one-off piece and is currently available on my online shop at http://joannarobsonillustration.bigcartel.com/product/nylmah-exclusive-excerpt-piece

Update - this item has now sold!




Monday, 3 April 2017

Jancia ze Lwowa

Jancia ze Lwowa, or Jancia from Lwow, tells the true story of a family growing up in Lwow during the second world war.  The colour illustrations were commissioned by a colleague who wrote the story and published it herself earlier on this year.

I will post more images from this project later, but for now it's great to finally be able to share these images on my blog!








Monday, 6 March 2017

A walk through A Midsummer Night's Dream

For those who didn't get to see the largest concertina book I've ever created at McNaughtan's Bookshop and Gallery in Edinburgh last summer, here's a short one minute video of it from beginning to end:
video


A higher resolution of this video is available at https://vimeo.com/202385480.

Only seven copies of this book will be made (eight including the display copy featured in this video).

Each copy in the edition is priced at £1,800.

There are just five copies are currently available.  If you are interested in purchasing one of them, or would like to ask any questions about it, please contact me through http://joannarobsonillustration.bigcartel.com/contact

I hope you enjoy this short video and thank you for looking!

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Etching collage

Below are some photos from an experiment I did with a couple of unsellable etchings I had to remove from an edition.  Taking a scalpel to my etchings always feels unusually cathartic, though I'm still not sure why.  Perhaps the etching process can remove the spontaneity of image making, which chopping up helps to restore.








Friday, 27 January 2017

Q&A

About a week ago, an illustration student contacted me with some questions about my laser cut book Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.  Unfortunately I get mailer daemons ('mailbox unavailable') whenever I reply to her email, so instead I'm going to include the questions with my answers here on this blog.  Hopefully she'll find them here and they'll be of some use!

I was just wondering if there was a reasoning for the book being a concertina form? 

I think I wanted something that could be as small and compact as a book, and something that could fold out in to a small landscape as well.  I thought that the setting of this story is something that should somehow be incorporated in to how the book looks too.  The concertina format worked well for that.


What have you found this brought to sequence? 

It lets me include the landscape in a way that's more physical than a regular book that's stitched together at the spine, and I really like that dimension to it.  It lets you include all kinds of other things.  Though having said that, the concertina format can also be quite limiting.  Hopefully it makes me a better editor in deciding what to include and what to leave out.  You can't include everything in a story, but it does allow you to accentuate other little details.


And finally, does the form effect how the sequence is read?

I sort of hope that it gets read left to right like a regular book, but it doesn't always happen!  Some people start looking at the book in the middle pages and work their way backwards in the book.  I also designed some of the pages in it so that it could be read like a comic as well, so you'd start by looking at the top left of each page and work your way to the bottom right corner.


Friday, 16 December 2016

Book art in progress




The new laser-cut book from the previous post is in progress...  More images of the final product to follow later in the new year!





  


Saturday, 24 September 2016

New book art

Thumbnail sketches
I'm delighted to announce the commission of a new piece of book art.  Research for the project has involved taking over three hundred photos of Glasgow University's Hillhead campus and a lot of drawing in the rain!

There isn't much imagery to share at present other than a few photographs and some thumbnails.  Once things get underway next month I hope to be able to share more photos of this project on Twitter and Instagram as it progresses. 






Monday, 22 August 2016

A Knavish Lad: artwork from the exhibition




My exhibition A Knavish Lad featured the largest piece of book art I've created to date: a wordless, visual retelling of A Midsummer Night's Dream.  Today I thought it was time to give a bit of space on this blog to the other pieces of artwork from the exhibition, as there was so much etching involved!





The first few etchings taken from the plates after aquatinting them came out so well that I decided to create a small limited edition of nine from each of them.  Each of these prints has been printed in black intaglio ink on Hahnemuhle paper.  They were the first prints taken on the plates after the aquatint had been scrubbed off, and the tonality on them is wonderful - none of the colour prints I subsequently took from these plates seem to match up to the contrast achieved on these first monochrome prints:

Inking up and removing ink from the zinc plate with scrim
Running plate through press
first proof from the second plate

It took over two years to build up enough visual material for this project.  Research for it took me in to the woods of Northumberland's National Park with a sketchbook; to pouring over Victorian flower dictionaries; and to looking up indigenous costumes and headdresses of far off places. The Beltane Fire Society was consulted for their library of books on costume, and there were numerous conversations with a certain English teacher on the text and the characters.

'Methought a serpent eat my heart away'

The text's imagery informed a lot of detail in the etchings, especially in regard to animals, flowers and plants.  For instance in the scene when Hermia awakens, she speaks of a dream where a serpent had devoured her heart, and a small reference is made to this in the bottom right hand corner of the second print.  (An apple was substituted for a heart.)





Act I Scene I

The Roman gods Diana and Cupid are referenced many times in the play, and especially in the opening scene.  I didn't want to include them as characters anywhere in the etchings, as I felt that it would look too obvious.  Each of them appears in the opening scene as a laser-cut silhouetted statue, looking on while Helena sits alone underneath.


Puck closes the play by addressing the audience directly - the only character in the play to do so.  As a result I let him be the only character who makes direct eye contact with the viewer.

I could go on about the characters for longer, but I won't do it here.  However I can't finish this post without talking a bit about one of the most central characters, the instigator of the play's magic and mayhem...

Oberon, one of two prints 
Etched illustration on zinc plate

Above is a separate character portrait I created of Oberon.  He thieves like a magpie; he acts out of jealousy; and (believes himself to be) a cuckold.  I imagine that he is the sort of character who might have a collection of stolen, shiny objects in his possession, which is why magpies became his motif and they appear in a couple of Oberon's scenes:




These last few framed etchings in the exhibition are my favourites.  They are also very precious because they cannot be printed again, thanks to a series of accidents in the print room with the plates.  Only a few copies of each print available:


Oberon; one of two prints

Etching of Bottom and Queen Titania; one of two prints

One-off etching 

The exhibition A Knavish Lad is on at McNaughtan's Bookshop and Gallery in Edinburgh until Friday 30th September 2016.

If you'd like to know more about any of the artwork or have questions about any of it, then drop me an email or leave a message in the comments section below!