Interview with Hannah Forward Printmaker & Illustrator

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Tell us a bit about your artistic background and education

I studied Graphic Design at Brighton University, then became an illustrator kind of by accident – an illustrator friend passed on a commission to me when she didn’t have the time to do it. It was for a charity so I didn’t get paid, but it gave me a lot of confidence as they loved what I did for them. I did a few more illustration commissions but generally found the experience quite terrifying – the tight time pressures and having to meet the expectations of a client just wasn’t for me. I landed at Lawrence’s about 5 years ago, and through working here I’ve discovered printmaking. I now have my own fully-stocked printmaking studio, where I can experiment and create whatever I want, whenever, to my heart’s content. I think my work is very informed from what I learnt about design on my BA, with the very ‘human’, hands on, lo-fi aproach of relief printmaking.

 

What is it like working for Lawrence Art Supplies?

Working here you get to know about all sorts of different art materials, perhaps in mediums you’d never considered trying before but always wanted to. This knowledge is so useful for an artist – and I think it makes you bolder about trying new things out and pushing your work further.

 

What inspires your work, generally?

Making documents or social records of current times, in order to understand them better, think about them, be fascinated by them, and in the future look back at them.

 

Tell me about your process, where things begin, how they evolve etc.

I spend quite a long time turning over an idea for a subject matter in my head. Once I’ve settled on it I’ll begin scribbling out composition ideas in pencil. Composition is a huge part of what inspires me to create a print – I always like it to be quite unusual, not go with the obvious. Next I’ll think about colour, and usually experiment with swatches, over-laying colours to see what new colours I can make. Once I’ve decided on composition and colour, I’ll divide the image up into about four or five separate layers of lino, each a different colour. Hopefully, if I’ve worked it out correctly, once they’re printed one on top of the other they’ll create the image I want. Usually things go differently to how you plan, but this is usually a good thing.

 

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What does your typical day in the studio entail?

I like to start early – about 9.30 – so I can start printing and get a lot done at once. I’ll stop for lunch then maybe work on another project while the prints dry, perhaps drawing up a new composition for a print idea I’ve been thinking about. About 5.30 I’ll stop for dinner then a walk. I’ll almost always have something to listen to when I’m working in the studio – music, podcasts, radio shows, audiobooks – to help get me absorbed in whatever I’m doing.

72What is your favourite colour and why? There is not one colour I do not like. Colour is so fundamental to an artist…I could never pick just one.

 

What is your favourite product and why?

The set of Japanese woodcut tools Lawrence’s sell is excellent value for a beginner and really helped set me on my road to printmaking. The Lawrence linseed oil-based relief inks are brilliant too, endless colour experimenting fun.

 

 How has your artistic knowledge helped someone else?

I’m always keen to talk to people about relief printmaking – how rewarding it is, how you don’t need expensive equipment and anyone can have a go at home. I don’t have a huge breadth of knowledge to impart yet! Only what I’ve picked up as I’ve gone along – I think that’s the way that works best for me – get an idea of what you want to create then try and figure out how you can get it to work. I’m usually quite unorthodox in my approach to things – I like to make it up as I go!

 

What inspired you to become an artist?

A life-long steely determination to be completely myself, completely free, and therefore completely happy.

 

Who is / are your favourite artists and why?

Picasso, for taking on every medium and doing it completely differently. Hockney for his inventiveness.

 

What is the most valuable piece of advice anyone has given you that you still use today?

Don’t give up! Self-belief is paramount.

To see more of Hannah’s work see her website www.hannahforward.com

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Gamblin Torrit Grey

If you took all the pigments in the colour spectrum and mixed them together, what colour would you make?

Every spring, Gamblin Artists Colors collects a wealth of pigments from our Torit® Air Filtration system. We filter the air around the areas where we handle dry pigments so that our workers are not exposed to pigment dust. Rather than sending any of our high quality, expensive pigments into the landfill, Gamblin paint makers recycle them into “Gamblin Torrit Grey”.

“Pigment dust should not go into the earth, water or landfill, but into paint,” says Robert Gamblin.

Gamblin Torrit Grey on CopperThe mix of pigments is different every year, so Torrit Grey is always unique and will never be repeated. Torrit Grey tends to have a greenish tinge because of the great strength of the Phthalo Green pigment, which is a dark bluish green. Torrit Grey varies from a medium dove grey to a dark earthy grey.

We are now dating the tubes, so artists can collect them from year to year and enjoy the unique qualities of each edition. Whatever you create with these popular limited edition colors is solely up to you and your imagination.

Our Torrit Grey store promotion, which runs each year through the end of April in celebration of Earth Day, not only recycles pigment dust into paint but focuses artists on the importance of recycling, studio and environmental safety. Complimentary 37ml tubes of Torrit Grey are only available while supplies last through Lawrence Art Supplies alongside any order of a Gamblin product! Last year, we distributed more than 11,000 tubes of Torrit Grey! Limitations are often your greatest creative assets and it is remarkable what talented artists can achieve with a color palette limited to white, or black and Torrit Grey.

The Torrit Grey Painting Competition, conducted annually in the Fall, attracts more entries every year. In 2008, we received over 160 submissions from painters willing to take the challenge of making a value based painting using only Torrit Grey and any black or white oil paint. The competition is judged by Robert Gamblin and the winners receive a supply of Gamblin Artists’ materials.

You can see the winning entries from the 2008 contest at Torrit Grey Winners. Torrit Grey Painting Competition entry forms are available from your local fine art materials retailer, and from our web site at Guidelines & Entry Form.

“We invite you to enjoy the paint today—to capture its subtle monochromatic excitement – because this special color will only exist next year as paintings,” says Robert Gamblin.

Donaldson® Torit® has been improving industrial air quality for over 90 years. To learn more about the their various air filtration solutions, visit Donaldson Torit.