Dr Will Houstoun

I have spent the last few years exploring printmaking and calligraphy. On this page you will find a selection of my handmade prints available to purchase, as well as an overview of the printing process. Elsewhere on this site you can find out about my general work as a conjurer, or explore my work for other magicians.

Tragic Magic

The Tragic Magic series re-imagines well-known magic posters with a contemporary, humorous, twist. Each set will be available as a collection of three prints, but individual images can also be purchased.

Other Prints

Here you will find a selection of assorted prints based on a variety of source materials.

Process

To begin, I select a classic magic image that I want to play with, then digitally explore how I might adjust it for the medium of linocut. In this example I am using an Alexander: The Man Who Knows lithograph, produced for a show in the Pantages, Minneapolis, as the source material for my The Man Who Dozed print.

Having settled on an initial design, I reverse the image and separate the colours, before transferring each colour to a lino block using carbon paper. I trace the image using black marker pen, making final adjustments to each colour in the image. The areas of the block I do not want to print are then carved away using Pfeil chisels. Here you can see the two carved blocks, tools, and test prints taken from my Theatrical Delusionist print.

Once the blocks are finalised, a further set of test prints are produced with a variety of paper types and ink colours. For my Projectile Prestidigitation print I explored a range of combinations of paper and ink.

To produce the final prints a velvety layer of ink is rolled onto a perspex plate, using a rubber brayer, and a thin layer is applied to the lino block. Paper is placed on the block and covered with a printer’s blanket, before being passed through a roller press squeezing the paper against the block. The key stages in the process can be seen for my Hocus Pocus print.

Having settled on a combination of paper and colour I then produce a number of copies of the final prints using archival quality paper and Caligo inks. Each print then takes around three days to dry. Where a print incorporates multiple colours each must be printed and allowed to dry individually, with each colour perfectly aligned over this underneath it.

Some of my prints are available to buy, if you would like to support my work.