Elian’s secret garden

Doodling & Designing:

I read in one of those zentangle books that a good way to start doodling is to draw a nine square grid (as when you play noughts and crosses), start adding lines and patterns, continue them across the grid and, well, basically mess about.

I started with a ‘malformed’ grid – wiggly lines, not quite parallel – and a Sharpie pen.  No rubbing out for me this time!

I analysed it once finished.  Thank heavens I’m not under the care of a psychologist, they’d have a field day!  Anyway, I see some bells, fish scales, a very strange river, a wacky flower gobbling up champagne bubbles, a striped school tie …….. I could go on.  It was the beginning of Elian’s dream garden.

I developed the flower further, kept the flow of the ‘river’ but changed the pattern and adapted another section into a bridge shape.  The rest was discarded (for this project).  I needed something large and looming for the top left hand section, perhaps some fronds.

I’d recently been playing with my Swiss Cheese Plant pulp, to make paper, and thought those large leaves might do the trick.  I did a couple of drawings and then took a chance with the pen and went straight to the main template, adding a couple of other components at the same time.  The great thing is that the design could be photocopied, cut up, rearranged and redrawn as many times as I liked.

It was starting to get very busy.  I traced some simple sections, transferred them to lino and cut only the parts I was 100% sure about.  Oh, and I somehow managed to add a champagne river straight onto the lino (pre-planning went awry there).

I was reasonably happy with the blue proof print above but was stuck where to go next.  It stayed pinned to my board for a while as I mulled it over.

Finally I photocopied the lino itself and drew a few more sections in.

A couple more leaves filled the top area, and I finally decided against a stalk for the flower.  The paving stones on the path (which had originally been planned as a river) gave way to water ripples as it disappeared behind the plants.

I later added a higher rocky outcrop where the bird is and a couple of other minor things.

The lino was cut to size, printed, and Elian’s garden came to life.

Above: Left – Light paynes grey (black, white, pthalo blue) oil ink on 40gsm Japanese calligraphy paper. Right – Mid paynes grey ink on lightweight Kozo.

Above: Left – Grey oil ink on 40gsm Japanese calligraphy paper. Right – Grey ink over yellow/green rainbow roll on 60gsm Chinese cotton paper.

And that is how you get from doodling to design:

Above right – Black ink on 250gsm BFK Reeves.

Have fun concocting your own story to go with the image.  Although Elian isn’t featured I’m sure he is still imagining an adventure in his secret garden.


About Claire B

I am a passionate printmaker, paper maker and book artist. I'm a 'forever' student and frequently attend courses and workshops to extend and improve my creative skills.
This entry was posted in Elian and his world of fantasy, My Creative Pieces, My prints and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Elian’s secret garden

  1. Nola says:

    Love the design of this one.. and how you got there!

  2. Mandy says:

    I love your working process Claire. Beautiful outcome!

    • Claire B says:

      Enjoying the freedom of doodling without the thought of a specific outcome. Then I just see where it will go. The great thing about the Elian project is that he has a vivid imagination, meaning I can do whatever I like and it can be as realistic – or not – as I want.

  3. Pingback: Continuing recycling prints …… | TactualTextiles

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