Chris Wormell is a celebrated children’s author and illustrator, a self-taught print-maker of considerable talent, and also happened to have opened our primary school library. From the cover of award-winning H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald and Pullman’s La Belle Sauvage, to his own picture books of Two Frogs and George and the Dragon, Wormell consistently produces striking illustrations to match the most wonderful narratives. His most recent book, Dinosaurium, with text from Lily Murray, is a wonderful addition to the Welcome to the Museum series, and an excellent tome for dinosaur enthusiasts. Here, Chris opens up his studio for you to see where and how he works:
This is where I do my wood engraving and lino cutting. I use the magnifying glass when engraving in fine detail.
Here’s a close up view of a block and some engraving tools.
This is where I do much of my drawing. The sketch is for the Marine Reptiles image. Underneath it is a light box – very useful for tracing.
Computers and drawing tablet. I draw on the tablet much as one would on a piece of paper. Behind the computers you can see some engraved blocks on the shelves.
Here’s a closer view of them. This is just a tiny fraction of all the blocks around the house.
This is my printing press – an Albion press, made in 1846. It’s not actually in the studio but downstairs. There are a few blocks in here too. The large tube in the middle there has a roll of Japanese paper in it, but originally contained a five metre roll of lino.
Beside the press are inks and rollers (the crown engraving was for a school crest).
With huge thanks to Chris Wormell for the fascinating tour of his studio. You can buy a copy of Dinosaurium here.