What's Tolkien got to do with it?
I hadn’t realised that J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as being a master story teller, was pretty good painter too. But then someone gave me his ‘Letters from Father Christmas’ and I completely fell in love with the pictures. They have such fantastic atmosphere – you can almost smell the paper they’re painted on (that sort of brown, wartime-rationed-paper). Fab!
So I set off online looking for more pictures and found masses. And among them, I found this:
I thought it was so beautiful – a painting of Lake Mithrim. And it cemented an idea we’d been thinking about in the studio, of painting jewel bright little images in the centre of a picture, framed by plain pen and ink borders around the edges. It could work... here was the evidence!
I got out my paintbox, bought some beautiful Prout’s Brown Ink and a dip pen and started playing – and eight pictures later, there was the Sun Pennies Within Borders range.
We've just got them back from the printer and we're dead chuffed with them, printed on heavy cream card with lovely brown ribbed envelopes. Thank you Professor... perhaps we'll do woodcuts next, like the cover illustration for The Hobbit!