Illustrator Sophy Hollington uses traditional printmaking techniques, with most of her work taking the form of relief prints, created using the lengthy process of lino-cutting. “Generally speaking, I’ll do a sketch the way I intend it to look printed, scan this in, flip it, print it and then transfer this to the lino using carbon paper so I don’t need to do the flipping in my head,” she described the somewhat tedious process in an interview with Metal Magazine. “I’m not going to lie though, mistakes still happen,” she admits. “But luckily, most of my work is scanned in and colored digitally anyway, so I can always flip the printed image once it’s done.”
Based in Brighton, UK, her unique style of illustration explores themes like meteoric folklore and alchemical symbolism, attracting clients like The New York Times, The New Yorker, Bloomberg Businessweek, and WIRED. According to Hollington, she’s interested in wrangling the most out-there ideas to make them totally tangible. “I like my compositions and carvings to have a balance of black and white areas – there’s something wasteful to me about carving a lot away completely,” she explains. “However, regardless of the lino, I’ve always appreciated detail and scenes and tableaus. Why not say more if you can?”
“I don’t have a proper press, so I print everything either using my small pinch press or the back of a wooden spoon, which also causes the textured finish, as I can’t ever apply a strong and entirely even pressure,” she relays her messy process. “I’m certainly not a fantastic printmaker in the traditional sense at all but I prefer the textures and imperfections to a solid black print, especially when that’s so easily achieved digitally.”
The result, though sometimes messy, is undeniably wonderful. Take a look for yourself.