Today is September 3rd, and at last, the end of my summer project. The goal was 24 fables illustrated and scribed; as of today, five and a half are done: The Fox and The Grapes; The Lion and The Fox; The Dog and the Rabbit; The Dove and The Ant; The Hare and the Tortoise; and the art for The Flies and the Honey Jar. I had tremendous fun, learned a great deal, and ended up with one or two really well-executed pieces.

Okay guys, it’s time for ram chips and dip. Now the rules of this are you have to say a good thing and a bad thing about the movie and then you get a ram chip!

It was a good idea to set the bar high. I’m not really disappointed that I didn’t get to 24, especially when it was class and home life that cut into the time I set aside for this project. Also, it was a good thing to choose subject matter that a lot of people knew about and had a reaction to one way or another.

It was a bad thing that I didn’t create a budget and set aside funds at the start for plates, presstime, et cetera.

OK, the next project is for Roadworks: Steamroller Printing Street Fair, happening September 19th at the San Francisco Center for the Book in Potrero Hill. I have a one-foot square piece of lino to cut as I please. There are a few ideas swirling around in the old tool shed; I don’t want to call a favorite yet, and jinx the whole process from the start.

Excelsior! as we Latin nerds would say.

This fable was started before the Hare and Tortoise was finished, stopped due to creative block, and now is finished before The Mouse and the Frog (that has been blocked by the introduction of this image into my creative space).

For several reasons, it is rare that I draw directly onto the lino or wood. I did so this time to test my drawing skills.

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This is a small piece (about 4×6) and so was quick to cut.

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Using an inexpensive sketch sheet and water-based ink (usually I prefer an oil-based ink), I quickly pressed this nice, even print.

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This fable’s progress had stalled for a few reasons, the most mundane being a lack of large sized sheets. That was remedied, and now we have the pencil draft, finally. When printed, this will be a proper broadside.

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Title detail. As you can see from the sketches in my previous post, I had been playing with the idea of including a third cut, a tall, narrow pastoral scene to tie the two cuts together. It’s not included here for time’s sake; and I am rather happy with the drawing as a solution to expressing that idea in any case.

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After giving over my worktime to attend to class, I am getting back to the fables gently by drawing conceptual sketches.  This sktech is the one most likely to become a cut:

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Last of the conceptual sketches. This would be a strong cut, but illustrations already tell this part of the story:

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Addition: Last night, I made a charcoal drawing of the top sketch. It just won’t work as a cut, sadly. Not that I’m thrilled with this particular execution, but it’s such an improvement over what I would have produced before class, I want to be a bit of a showoff and post it.

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Delays, delays… But the tortoise is finally cut. The original drawing showed a fantastic contemptuous look in the tortoise’s eye as he looked over his shoulder at the sleeping hare. It didn’t carry through to this piece, which makes me think I may recut this.

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At least this time I remembered to dampen the sheet before printing.

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I am happy with the road texture and shadowing. And some of the shell work, too.

This is the largest cut of the series so far; the tortoise will be just about the same size as the hare. Here you see the linoleum itself with the print. The ink transfer is spotty this time due to the (low) quality of paper in the sketchbook.

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The intention was to make the hare a little goofy and definitely sleeping, but I think I gave him an ass’ head!

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This was going to be The Ant and the Grasshopper, but for some reason, I just was unable to produce a suitable illustration. Maybe later it will come together. Moving on to the next fable on the list, The Hare and the Tortoise. I can’t get Bugs Bunny out of my mind when working on this one, which is just fine by me.

Some pencil sketches

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Rabbits always look a little disapproving or angry in real life. The Hare in the fable would probably look a little more raw than the sleeping rabbit I sketched the above from.

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Thank you, YouTube and user vempulaaa for the vid of your running tortoise. Yes, the feet are going to be fixed. The Tortoise probably had a similar look of contempt and anger when passing the sleeping Hare.

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The English text with the title in Greek characters. The longest text so far, which means the overall sheet will have to be large. That may require a balancing corner design…