Commissions and Illustrations
I am a printmaker and designer based in York, UK. I create linocut prints and hand drawn illustrations for commercial commissions. My illustrations are primarily inspired by nature and landscapes.
Designs are hand-carved and hand-printed then digitised. Projects have included National Trust’s Sutton Hoo, book cover and editorial illustrations.
My successful 28 year design career has provided me with the skills and knowledge to understand the target customer and successfully interpret design briefs.
Please get in touch if you would like to chat about any commissions work.
Design by Journal, for Sutton Hoo
A series of 12 linocut illustrations were created using my linocut techniques. The designs illustrate the story of Sutton Hoo from the Anglo-Saxons through to present day. This includes archeology, history, human interaction, landscape, nature and local wildlife.
I used my design and linocut skills to meet Sutton Hoo’s design brief. The designs have been digitally recoloured and used in marketing materials such as leaflets, banners and display boards.
Taking inspiration from the brief and photographs, I planned and sketched the designs for approval. The designs were transferred onto tinted lino blocks in reverse. I hand carved the designs into the lino using v and u shaped gouges. The uncarved areas were inked up using a roller. Paper was laid on top and the design is transferred onto it using a hand turned etching press.
The Sutton Hoo buckle was the most complex design to create but the one I enjoyed carving the most. Hand carving the design, I could feel the connection with the artistry of the person that would have originally made it. The design took 3hrs hours 40 minutes to carve. As it requires a lot of concentration I carved in 15 minute blocks with breaks in between. One mistake and the whole piece would be ruined!
A lot of my work takes inspiration from nature and the landscape, so I enjoyed this project, in particular carving the curlew, nightingale and copper butterfly. By working on this project brief it has enabled me to explore subjects that are new to me.
“We came to Michelle with an idea to tell the story of Sutton Hoo and its landscape through illustrative relief prints – how nature and people have left their mark there for thousands of years. She really bought into the brief from the very first conversations – she asked the right questions and helped us to develop an ambitious project on a tight deadline and budget.
She wholeheartedly threw herself at the project – working tirelessly and meticulously to translate sketches into beautifully intricate prints. Throughout the creative process, Michelle was a joy to partner with and her enthusiasm shows in the end result. We were (and still are!) thrilled with the illustrations, which really showcase Michelle’s craft and bring our vision to life perfectly. They are exactly what we had hoped for – a set of illustrations with a genuine, hand-crafted quality which cannot be achieved by any other means.”
Paul Spencer, Design by Journal
See the step-by-step blogs about how I created each of the linocut print for Sutton Hoo in the links below: