Today we welcome Alice Pattullo to the blog to introduce her new book ‘An Animal ABC‘. A screen-printed labour of love and true work of art.
After a year of being swamped with much more commercial commissions and being tied to quite strict briefs, I wanted to spend some time enjoying drawing, for the sake of drawing.
As I work quite a lot in screen print within my personal work, I wanted to produce a series of prints where I drew the layers completely by hand (as often for time and ease I work with a combination of hand drawn elements and photoshop composites). I started with a simple ABC as a starting point, and chose ‘animals’ as the subject so I could enjoy playing with mark making and textures to build up the variety of animal’s skins and furs and feathers.
I always draw in black and white using a combination of brush and indian ink, black acrylic and white ink sometimes working inversely onto black. I often paint pages of marks and textures which I can then cut out and collage together, working with a lightbox to pre-empt how the layers of the screenprint will come together.
I chose quite quickly on to work with a limited colour palette (as I usually do) of just 4 colours across the full 26 prints within the ABC – taking inspiration from some of my favourite lithographed childrens books of the 1940s and beyond; The Pufﬁn Picture Books by artists like Edward Bawden, Sheila Robinson and Enid Marx to name a few.
At this point I would scan in the layers so I could digitally (i.e quickly) see how the colours would sit together, and add the type, before preparing my drawings as acetates to be exposed on to screens. I have an ongoing working relationship with The Print Block in Whitstable where all of the animals were hand printed by Suki. Once we had established between us the 4 colours, and how they needed to layer up for each one they were good to go and each letter has since been printed as a limited edition of 30.
At the start of that year I thought I would get all 26 done by Easter, but as time went by and (paid!) commissions ﬁltered in and work got busier again, it became a personal project which became a respite between commissions. Around a year and a half later they were complete and I exhibited the whole set at Mascalls Gallery in Kent.
An Animal ABC is out now, published by Pavilion Children’s Books.