The making of Icon 094’s cover 18.03.11

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image: Nick Morley

For the cover of our April issue, we commissioned London-based linocut illustrator Nick Morley to make a print of MAD's Absolute Towers in Toronto. We asked him to take us through the process behind the artwork.
Morley starts by transferring the reverse image and text on to the grey block of lino using Japanese carbon paper. He then carves the pattern out using special tools. He makes two blocks, one for the red colour on the final print and one for the black.

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image: Nick Morley

He then inks up both blocks using a roller. He uses a printout of the rough (seen on the left) for guidance.

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image: Nick Morley

A close-up view of the black block.

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image: Nick Morley

And the red block.

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image: Nick Morley

Morley presses the red block onto paper to make the print and then does the same with the black on top. Lining up (registering) the blocks correctly is a tricky process but Morley says "I deliberately offset it a bit to give it a hand-made look."

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image: Nick Morley

Morley made a few versions to get the colour exactly right. He tested out how much ink to use on the paper and the pressure to apply on the press. The finished image was then scanned to us and set up as the cover. "That's it," he says. "No photoshopping or adjusting. What you see on the cover is pretty much how it came out."

An exhibition of the illustrator's work entitled "Nick Morley's World of Wonder" will be at Material Gallery in Ludlow from 16 April – 13 May 2011.





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