Work in Progress: First Fig

For this handcolored lino print, I’ve branched (!) out to illustrate a snippet of a friend’s story…

Header image for "Work in Progress: First Fig" featuring sketch and final lino print and chunky fontWhile travelling together, a dear young friend read out the Sylvia Plath excerpt below, commenting how very much they related…

Lino print of young adult reaching for high purple figs alongside a Sylvia Plath quote from The Bell Jar about just such a life stage
If you can’t read it on this image, scroll to the bottom where I’ve put it in in plain type too.

Wow! What a crossroads to be at, right? How to choose?

How difficult, but how necessary for forward motion. Action needed, yet caution in play in case of choosing the ‘wrong’ one.

The prose stands so clear and strong, I don’t want to write too much…

However, I knew I wanted to illustrate this as a lino print. Now I had choices to make: How to design the print to convey the story? Should the person be in the tree? Should there be a ladder involved, or a bag to put figs in?

Here are some of the layouts/compositions I played with. These tiny sketches in my note book were the journey that led to the final, simple looking layout.

Biro ketches on lined note paper showing different ideas for composition of "First Fig" lino printThe picture needed to be simple – to catch the ‘can’t reach’, the purple-ness of the figs and that blue sky of optimism :)

So, this is the final print:

Hand coloured lino print with rainbow border. Subject is young man with funky hair reaching for purple figs hanging from a fig tree. Blue background.The figs are almost within reach. You can imagine the rest of the story is the first fig gets plucked and enjoyed :)

I’d love to hear in the comments when you’ve been almost – but not completely – paralysed by juicy choices, and how you picked your first fig.

Talk soon,
Meg x o


PS Like this image? Get it for your home >> as art prints or as a card. (There are also other art cards in singles or serendipitous mixed packs of 10.) I also have original hand-coloured lino prints – contact me if you’re interested (not yet in online shop). Do you know somebody with such a quandry of choice? Let them know you see them, you get it…

PS 2 If you’d like to see more of my lino prints and others that inspire me, check out my lino print board on Pinterest!

PS3 Here’s the quote again as text instead of as an image…

“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”
Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)


Image for "Work in Progress: First Fig" featuring sketch and final lino print and hand-written style font











1 thought on “Work in Progress: First Fig”

  1. Pingback: Live Bold List 50: 6 Reasons I make lino prints of Bold Women - Tangerine Meg

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