I finished up the sheep print a while back, but I wanted to include some extra information about it here. I normally pretty much stick to canine and equine subject matter, but I wanted to do a print that I could play around with another type of texture (wool vs hair) and some ideas for backgrounds to add some dimension to my prints instead of just strictly portraits.
I love how the wool turned out especially on his chest. I drew quite a few versions before I decided to just sketch him directly on the lino and let the carving bring out the texture of the wool instead of trying to draw it all out. I really like the tall blades of grass blowing in the wind too. The rest of the grass looks nice printed but is pretty similar to fur in a lot of ways. I wanted to try to capture the look of the field blowing and swaying in the wind.
This is the first print I used an oil based ink. I wanted to try Caligo Safe Wash Inks because I have heard so many great comments about them. They are a soy based ink that washes up with soap and water. It was much easier to print the solid areas than with the water based ink I have been using, and I needed a much lighter application of ink too. They definitely stay useable longer so I didn't have to rush as much while printing. They do clean up well, but not quite as easily as the water based inks. Since I don't have a press and print everything by hand they are perfect for prints with large dark areas. I will definately keep using both types of ink depending on the project.
It all worked out well because Chester (the sheep model) belongs to a friend of mine and she wanted a print of him, plus farm animals are cool too. She always calls him the majestic sheep because of how he often stands looking off into the distance with his head held high and attentive. But then the second he sees someone he comes running over to get ear scratches and ruins the whole majestic thing by being a snuggle bunny.