'Let's Hover' in stages

I've been working on a set of illustrations for a collaboration with local pagan poet Mark Westmore; this week I've finished 'Let's Hover' and I took some photographs along the way, to demonstrate my technique.
First, here's the poem:

Tooth and claw.
The wild runners;
raving about this world
and there's others.
Moving towards a goal
to discover,
paving a way
to the soul
to uncover,
the raven inside
of us all;
Let's hover!

So first I make thumbnail sketches of my ideas, basically just doodles; if I like an idea I'll expand on it.


Next I'll do some reference drawing; I don't need the end result to be very realistic, but I want to start off knowing how the raven looks, so that I can get a feel for it.


Next I'll try out a few colours; I usually have some idea of the colours I want to use, but I like to try out a few.


Drawing out my idea. I measure out a 17cm box (all of the paintings in this sequence will be the same size) and sketch out the layout lightly.


I needed to use a pair of compasses to draw the triquetra, I couldn't do this by eye this large. Usually for large circles I use bowls or plates (very professional!).


Next I cover the entire surface with the oil pastels that I selected earlier; it's important not to leave any gaps at this stage.


For this illustration I'm going to scratch some lines into the pastel before adding the ink, because I want the raven to be dark and scratchy. The ink will stay in the scratchmarks, adding extra detail.


This is the fun bit! I completely cover the drawing with black lino ink (water based), leaving some areas lighter, so that I can see where the original drawing is (roughly); this is why I don't put too much detail in the drawing, it would get completely lost!


I use a scraper tool to scratch away the lino ink.


Then add some celtic inspired patterns in the background.


Finally, after tidying up certain areas, I add some silver.


I hope you enjoyed reading this!
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