It's hard to believe that in the late 1960s
there was virtually nothing available locally in the way of photocopying
and a linocut was one of the few options for printing cards at home.
Looking at this design now, I can see lots
of possibilities: I like the balance of blank with busy
areas, I like the two characters in the street. I used to work as
a temporary postman at Christmas so I had ridden down Queen Street
on a GPO bicycle, like the postman in the picture.
I also remember being frustrated with some of the limitations. I
liked to include detail then, just as I do today. Working in reverse
- you cut away the white areas, rather than 'draw' in the darks
with linocuts - I found the proportion of details like the lamp-post
difficult to control.
Today I love the funky, graphic feel this
slightly out-of-control medium gives the image but at the time,
if I could have used some printing technique that allowed me to
work in detail, then that is what I would have gone for. I realise
now that the limitations of this medium would have been a good influence
on my artwork.
In between packing books
today, I'm making my own Christmas cards. I've done this for
years; one of the first, which dates from around 1968 or 1969,
is the linocut I made of Queen Street,
Horbury. Thirty years later, with an opportunity to print
in colour, I used this watercolour of the Victoria Prize Band
playing on Christmas Eve at the bottom end of the street.
The purer blues and yellows that had given my watercolour
a Christmassy feel were lost in reproduction and I prefer
the linocut because it's has a more striking, graphic quality
I used my mum's lino-cutting tools, which she'd bought
for a college project when she was at Ripon in pre-war years.
I'd begged an old pattern
book of lino from a local shop. The size of each sheet was
just right for the cards I produced.
A daily influence on my black and white artwork was the Flook
cartoon strip by Trog in the Daily Mail. I don't remember
the whimsically satirical stories being very compelling (they probably
went over my head, most of the time) but I liked his use of thicker
and thinner lines. He'd occasionally draw some subject such as a
terraced house in the course of the strip, and I found myself trying
to use his approach for graphics projects in my early days as an
(Wally Fawkes) retired in June this year, aged 81, after 62 years
as a cartoonist, article from Camden
Richard Bell, firstname.lastname@example.org