An Animal ABC by Alice Pattullo (Pavilion Books)

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.

unnamedAn Animal ABC began life in a quiet spell at the beginning of a new year (tends to be the same every year as a freelance illustrator!).

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.





unnamed-4I 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.

unnamed-5At 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.

unnamed-6At 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.

unnamed-7I am now delighted that the full ABC along with an accompanying rhyme and curious fact for each animal was published by Pavilion Children’s Books on 13th October.

An Animal ABC is out now, published by Pavilion Children’s Books.


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