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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

‘Wildlife artist of the Year’ (WOFA) submission 2 of 2: Hammerhead school

Hammerhead school (final print 1 of 5) © Peter Gander
From a cute hippo mother and calf to slightly edgier sharks. Not just any sharks, but the threatened hammerhead shark. I chose this as an Endangered Species entry to the WOFA competition in response to seeing Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s impactful Fish Fight series recently featuring the ghastly practice of removing fins (‘finning’) from living hammerhead sharks and throwing the finned animal overboard to die. Image-wise I was interested in an unusual take on the shark and was inspired by a photograph I’d seen of a school of hammerheads seen from below in layers of blue, the lighter ones a shade paler than those closer to the diver’s camera lens, below a high sun.
Sketching out the options
I reigned it back from this version ;)
Cutting the Japanese vinyl
Checking progress
Mixing up the various shades of shark
Rolling out the first shark blue

The background (cardboard) registered & ready

As you can see form the initial sketch, I changed the design as I felt it was overly fussy as I went along and also changed it from portrait to landscape format. There are three shades of shark, and the beauty of the Japanese vinyl, compared with traditional lino, is that it prints both sides, so I was able to print a few sharks, turn them over for a flipped image version and hey presto you have a two-for-the-price-of-one images! These were dotted around a master trace of the design and I outlined each one to verify that a space had been taken up, to avoid over-printing an existing shark. Like the two previous posts, King Crow and Hippo & Calf, I opted for a different substrate for the background. Cardboard in this case. Not the corrugated version, but the pulpy type found as a sketchbook backing. The sun images was simply cut out with a scalpel. Board is perfect when after a change of texture, when making simple shapes, or simply when lino or vinyl simply isn’t warranted. For this print, because I wanted a fast turnaround of reprinting and overprinting the same sheet, I opted for water-based (fast-drying) printing inks. For any UK printmaker’s interest, I used Seawhite (of Brighton) block printing inks available online or from Cowling & Wilcox (Soho) if you’re in London. Printed on A3 160gsm cartridge paper (420mm w x 297mm h), 1 of 5 only.
'Hammerhead School' has been selected for the Wildlife Artist of the Year 2011 exhibition at The Mall Galleries, London between 6th and 11th June 2011


  1. Where's the teacher and blackboard ven?

  2. No, not that kind of school bro'(sighs)x

  3. Oh.........*scratches head and walks away puzzled*