Melvyn Evans





2011 - IMAGES 35

After completing a degree in Illustration at Exeter College of Art and Design, Melvyn studied at Goldsmiths College London for a year, and took up drawing classes at the Royal College of Art under the tuition of Bryan Kneale RA.  He has been working as a professional illustrator and printmaker since 1992. Clients have included, Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, The Halifax, Mini Cooper, Bloomsbury and many more.

The Worry is a linocut print. It's part of a story centered round a little character that has a worry in a bag. He has no idea why it's there but through a series of encounters he puts the bag down and forgets where he put it, which means he's free from the Worry.

“I think winning the award has given me more confidence to approach storybook illustration, an area of illustration I hadn't really considered before. It's very rewarding to have work recognised by artists and designers I respect and admire.”

BRIEF: To create an image as a relief print for an idea I had for a storybook.

MATERIALS: Sheet of Somerset Satin paper, T.N.Lawrence printing inks, a sheet of 3.5mm lino, lino cutting tools, a roller, pencils, carbon paper and a spoon.

RESEARCH: Lots of drawing, trying to create a sense of worry in the character. Looking at how, very often when people are worried or concerned, they put a hand up to their mouth or face. I thought a windy day was an appropriate setting, I've noticed that animals are more worried and scatty on a windy day.

PROCESS: I started by resizing the drawing and making sure it works at the larger size. Then I work out how the colours are going to separate and the order of printing the colours. I reversed the drawing and redraw each colour onto a separate lino block using carbon paper (I think some of my carbon paper is over fifteen years old). Then I cut the lino blocks with tools, placed one on the press bed, inked it with a roller, place paper on top then wound it under the platen of the press and compress the paper onto the block. Then I do the same with the next colour. The spoon is for the edge of the print if the ink hasn't taken very well, a quick rub along the edge with the spoon will make it nice and crisp.

RESISTANCES: I think the main resistance is coming to decisions about separating colours when relief printing. Because there's a restriction on the number of colours all the colours need to fulfill a role. It wasn't so difficult on the Worry because it's only two colours. But I did set myself a bit of a challenge by writing text across the drawing, which then had to be cut backwards. 

INSIGHT: Getting to know how to create characters and also how to keep them consistent was more difficult than I thought.

DISTRACTIONS: Bessie our dog, a small black Spaniel. She's very fast just like Dick Turpin's horse Black Bess, her namesake. She's always happy, and when she's happy she tap dances.

NUMBERS: 1012 the patent number of my Harrild & Sons Albion Press built in 1860.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I've learnt not to worry.

Evans Evans