Literary Skullduggery

Continuing along the skull theme, but this time considering the literary references of skulls, and what better way to open this post with a portrait of Edgar Allen Poe, who appears to have been blessed with a cranium of admirable proportions.

Working from a number of references, I sketched out a few skulls, trying to create a common style , before transferring onto the lino. I also put a bit of red marker down to help with some of the details.

Each skull went through a few test prints, with a couple requiring a little modification before printing on the finished paper.



These were then printed in black on A5(ish) sheets of handmade grey (which was made from a pinboard rescued from the college skip – it’s classed as a fire hazard these days – and I have a fair bit more to recycle too!)

Most of the sheets are quite thick, which has given me a deep bite to the print, but this stuff needs a little more sizing (diluted cornstarch) in the mix to retard its absorbancy.

Whilst these were drying, I set to work on the next part – some text. At first I was going to letterpress the type, but decided that it would look a little too clean and sharp against the linocut, so opted for the same technique. I used a sample of the old Fell Types as my model for this, and allowed the imperfections to come through. On the smaller text though, I needed to revisit a section to get a better feel:

And with some deep maroon mixed up, it was back to the press…

I think I will sell these as a set of four in dark grey mattes.

They will join the other skullduggery in the Department of Something Else.


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