For our very first ‘ Meet a member’ we have Derbyshire Printmaker Illustrator Lucy Gell, who has a background in graphic design, illustration and animation!
Tell us a little about your creative journey and how you came to be a printmaker
I studied graphic design and illustration at university then began a career in animation as a puppet maker for Cosgrove Hall films in Manchester, during which time I was responsible for fabricating the Martians in the Tim Burton film ‘Mars Attacks’. I trained as a puppet animator for Cosgrove Hall films and animated on children’s television programmes such as Noddy, Postman Pat, Bob the Builder and Andy Pandy.
While animating I was also employed as a freelance designer for Robot Design in Brighton where I designed different ranges of greeting cards which were sold nationally and also gained experience in brand licensing. Whilst animating I took a short course in printmaking and discovered a passion for printmaking as an additional outlet for my creative mind alongside my animation work.
What are your preferred printmaking techniques and why?
I use techniques such as acid plate etching, lino cut and screen printing. As my knowledge and enthusiasm grew I started to focus more on acid plate etching and more recently screen printing. Acid plate etching has the ability to create such depth of texture and I love how I can illustrate my humourous characters with this technique. I now have turned my focus to screen printing with the opportunity to use more colour in my work with my new membership at the West Yorkshire Print Workshop. I am looking forward to developing larger prints using this exciting printmaking method.
Your portfolio mainly focuses on animals but how do you choose which to illustrate?
I have drawn animals all my life, I love them. As a child I was surrounded by many pets and this is now how I choose to live my life. Over the years cats and dogs have featured heavily in my work and more recently I have focused more on specific breeds of dogs. I own two rescued Spanish Podenco’s which I have immortalised in print. I am donating a percentage of the sale of these Podenco prints to the charity Hope for Podenco’s run by Irene and Steve Allan. I like to work in sets when I create, so at the moment I am concentrating on bears. Two of my new screen prints feature brown bears and pandas and with the majority of the work I create there is always a simple narrative with the image.
What are you currently working on and what are you excited to learn more about?
As I say previously I am focusing on the world of bears at the moment and my plan it to use the medium of screen print to develop cheerful, fun prints that create a smile. I would say this is what I set out to achieve in my work and I am giving myself the time with my membership at WYPW to create screen prints I am proud of without the pressure of creating to sell.
I am using the traditional method of hand drawing the colour separations as this gives the quality I want to achieve with my prints. There is always the element of surprize with printmaking and I love it.