Album cover process: Ballads for Lovesick Bandits

Ballads for Lovesick Bandits — Foulweather Bluff — album with cream cover with dark brown lino cut of bandit on one knee holding up a wanted poster of a woman

Foulweather Bluff, who previously featured my mermaid-and-sailor linocut on their album Love Songs For Jilted Mermaids, commissioned a new image for their latest album: Ballads for Lovesick Bandits. The album is now available on most streaming sites, including Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music and YouTube. (And the art is available on Redbubble, should you desire e.g. a bandit shirt, case, or set of coasters.)

Here are the early sketches.

Two sketches: kneeling bandit holding bullet-pocked tombstone, and bandit leaning against his horse reading a letter

We went with A, with a wanted poster swapped in for the tombstone (although I still love that idea).

Two sketches of bandit holding wanted poster, one with a woman with a bandit-style eye mask, one without.

I traced that down onto the carving block — or tried to. This particular surface did not want to take any sort of transfer, and also had a lot more spring than the block I used for the (much smaller!) mermaid. It was a struggle, but an invigorating one.

Close up of lino, sketch and blue printing

I made quite a few little prints, adjusting and correcting, and then getting a few that were clean enough to scan in.

Several prints of the bandit in blue

After I scanned it in, I vectorised the image so it would scale cleanly, tidied up a few areas, and worked out a couple different treatments of the ink and paper texture. In C, for example, there’s a lot of variation in the depth of blue.

We went with the simple single texture in H — reminiscent of a rough woodblock effect (and also slightly tilted the eyes on the poster to be closer to the interim sketch).

The album is delightful — clear, sweet, mellow and moody. Check it out on various streaming sites (including Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music and YouTube).

And the image is also available on Redbubble on shirts, cases, coasters, scarves, etc, for all your banditry needs.

Found a missing cat


Found yet another style of cat (see: Once more, with feline).

This was a linocut illustration for one of my Patreon short stories.

I have quite a few deadlines still to hit over the next several weeks (fairy tale silhouettes! mosaic novel sketches! tales of dreadful substances! teaching!), but I’d very much like to get back to plying with block printing. I’m not great at it (as I’ve discussed before), but it’s so pleasing to do.


Writing news: story to Strange Horizons


My quite short story “The Present Only Toucheth Thee” has been bought by Strange Horizons!

It will come out in a few months and I will definitely tell you about it again then. (What I can tell you now is that I had to include a caveat in the cover letters for this story that it’s not in faux-Elizabethan! The title is an allusion.)

This will be my first publication by Strange Horizons as a writer, and I’m thrilled. They’ve brought out some lovely pieces, and I recommend checking out their text and audio issues: Strange Horizons.

Illustration Friday: Imaginary Friend

A tiny reduction linoprint for Illustration Friday.

I need to work on registration (alignment) of the colours, but I’m very pleased by the possibilities.