Masterful with a pen knife, illustrator and lino-cut wonder Sophy Hollington has teamed up with Clay Hickson’s Tan & Loose press for a new publication, My Mind Hides a Friendly Crater.
Detailed and dainty but never twee, the zine expands on Sophy’s “almost morbid fascination with asteroids,” she explains. “I think this stems from a widely publicised Nostradamus apocalypse prediction in 1999 which shortly followed the releases of Deep Impact and Armageddon — every time a plane flew over my house I’d start praying, and the end scene of Walking with Dinosaurs kept me awake at night for weeks.” Since then, “asteroids and meteorites have sort of become my ‘thing’ and finally funnelling this into a project was very cathartic,” Sophy tells It’s Nice That. “I think this was topped off by putting a big, smiley asteroid impact on the front cover.”
The result is a collection of illustrated global folklore legends “cooked up to explain flying sky objects,” says Sophy. Hooked on the stories, she set to work providing illustrated accompaniments, beginning with research to gather the tales together. “I spent weeks and weeks trawling the recesses of the web, visiting clipart heavy, space-nerd websites which had been built in 1995 to wheedle out the most bizarre tales.”
The search was well worth its effort. Each of Sophy’s illustrations which sit among the folklore tales lend a visual to the story at hand, combined with humour and the illustrator’s enviable skill. “Once I had a the content it was a matter of coming up with a suitable image for each one, which I linocut, printed and scanned in before colouring using the Risograph colours that Tan & Loose have available. When looking through My Mind Hides A Friendly Crater you could never tell that Sophy only had a limited palette to choose from, each is utilised to add tiny details, like a bright red stripe on a flared trouser or using the same colour to highlight a word in the text.
Risoprinting is a technique the illustrator is familiar with: “I actually worked for about five years as a Risograph print technician and production manager,” Sophy explains. “While I made a lot of prints, I never got round to doing a book so it was wonderful being able to do this at last. I suppose my Riso-past helped a lot in terms of knowing how to approach putting it all together too.”
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