18 May 2012

Pondering The Vanishing Bestiary

I love bestiaries, and I've been wanting to make one for ages. So slowly this idea has been taking shape in my brain, for a bestiary of vanished species. It will be letterpress printed, with minimal text (but what text there is hand-set in metal type), and illustrated either from polymer plates or linocuts. I'll probably go with lino, but I'll have to do a test illustration to make sure it'll work.

As I said, the pictures will be of vanished species--I'm thinking beasts that went extinct directly, or at least largely, due to human interference. And the images will be skeletons, because I like bones. I may do just the skeleton, or I may include the body of the animal (perhaps just as an outline). That's one of the things that hasn't quite formed in my head yet, but which test illustrations will help with. (Apologies for the mangled sentence structure there.)

So my next step is to decide on a possible list of species to include--dodo, thylacine, quagga . . . if anyone has suggestions, feel free to post them. And I need to decide on a size, so I can start on a test image. After that, I have to figure out paper, typeface, binding style . . .

Way back at the beginning of the year (which looks so far past on the calendar, which feels like such a brief time), I said I wasn't going to start any major new projects until I'd crossed a bunch of half-done things off my list. And while I haven't really finished as many things as I'd like, this isn't really a new project. It's been percolating in my brain for over a year now.

I also had thought of doing a similar project that would be a suite of intaglio prints rather than a book. And it would be just skulls, each one life-size on the copper plate. That's something I may revisit at some point, when I actually have some way to make and print intaglio again.

Anyway, no pictures yet, alas. But I may start on that sample image this weekend.

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