At the start of 2010 i found myself in need of a challenge, and so i embarked on a project to document every bus trip that i took during the year in the form of a lino print.

I'm an illustrator by trade, but i was so busy illustrating that I wasn't really doing much observational drawing any more. Plus I really fancied getting to grips with a new [ish] skill. And lino printing is a fairly easy thing to set up, at least to begin with...

I decided that each print would be A5, in a limited edition of 13, to celebrate the fact that the route i travel most is the 13/13A. It's a good job I don't live in Headingley and travel on the number 97 all the time...

Now the year is up and all the prints from the project are posted here, in journey order.

Some of the prints are a bit all over the shop if I'm honest. Some aren't even that good. Some are pleasing in places, and one or two make me very, very happy. Several of them have left me feeling utterly exasperated and seriously thinking of jacking the whole thing in.

But I didn't, and here they are. Inspired by Billy Childish, I have resolved not to think of them in terms of success or failures - they just are what they are and I've been trying to learn to do them better and to make something worth looking at...

Friday, February 11, 2011

floundering about is good...

As a rule, I’ve tended to find that the work that I’m happiest with (in an artistic sense) is the stuff that I’ve done when I’ve tried something unfamiliar, where the work emerges almost unnoticed as I flounder about trying to get the software, tools or materials to work for me. When I’ve gained some sort of mastery of the techniques, somehow the work doesn’t have the same freshness and vitality. It’s like I’ve controlled all the life out of it. I guess that once I’m in control of the process, I can turn my attention to the product, and the work becomes a bit tame as a result.

Some of these prints suffer from too much control, too much of me trying to achieve a particular effect or an end product. Sometimes I’ve drawn something on a bus already thinking that it’ll make a good print (usually it doesn’t) Some of them are so carefully drawn, planned and cut that they feel a bit dead to me, a bit too fixed and lifeless.
Then again, some of the ones where I just went for it and bashed them out with very little design or thought beforehand, well they can turn out a bit disappointingly too… :-)

In the end there’s little rhyme or reason behind which prints work well and which ones don’t, and that I guess has been one of the joys and the frustrations of the project. Maybe it’s a case of slowly edging towards a better understanding of how to do stuff well rather than making huge strides forwards.

And then I come back to the original intent to get beyond the idea of success and failure and just be comfortable with making stuff and learning… :-)

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