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Gandhi Book Cover Illustration

This is an illustration of Gandhi I did recently for The Folio Society. I wanted to convey some of the complexity of Gandhi’s character while still giving the feeling of lightness. I used linocut to make this layer first, and a second, colour layer was created afterwards to go behind. The illustration will go on The Folio Society’s new cloth-bound edition of Gandhi’s autobiography.
A close-up of the lino showing the carved lines. In the background is one of my trusty Swiss Pfeill linocutting tools which I bought from Intaglio Printmaker in London.
To create the ‘rough’ illustration I used a photo of Gandhi as a base to work over using my Japanese brush pen. I started off drawing just arcs and built up the patterns from there. I wanted to reflect the iconic round wire-framed glasses Gandhi wore but without being too obvious. Once the rough was approved by Folio I traced the image down onto the lino using red transfer paper.
Once I had transferred the image to the lino I went over it again with the brush pen to further develop the image and make sure the modelling and tones were right before I started carving.
The finished linocut. The black lines are not from having been inked but just from the brush pen. This way I know almost exactly how the printed image will look (except of course it will be reversed). Although more lino can be cut away after printing, any minor changes I need to make to the final illustration are done in photoshop.

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2 Responses to Gandhi Book Cover Illustration

  1. kooky cherry says:

    This is amazing! What kind of ink do you use with your japanese brush pen? I just use a permanent marker but it always leaves marks on my arms and clothes when I lean over it! x

  2. Linocutboy says:

    The brush pens I use come from japan and have an ink reservoir in the handle. You just squeeze it gently now and then to replenish the ink flow. The ink is permanent and stays on the lino even if you clean it with white spirit. It's nice to use because you can vary the weight of the line and draw tapered lines and fine detail too.

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