Working with Artist Lis Timpone and the Beginning of the Baby Bestiary Project: A Compendium of Beasts in Baby Book Format

[Picture of Lis' Wolf and Rabit lithograph]

I first met visual artist Lis Timpone at the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop in Manhattan. We worked together to translate one of her magnificent animal drawings into the lithograph above for an upcoming show of hers. Lithography was an ideal medium for her, since her drawings are so rich and subtle. Instead of having only a single image to sell to her clients, she now had access to a medium that allowed her to preserve the mark of her hand, but in an edition size that allowed her work to be owned by a wider audience.

Her drawings were so intoxicatingly beautiful, that recruiting her to work with me was a foregone conclusion. I was also convinced that letterpress would be a medium that would allow for incredible interpretations of Lis' drawings. The incredible detail and accuracy capable in letterpress allows all the nuanced lines in her drawings to really sing. I argued hard to have her do a project in letterpress for Reservoir. Lis was reluctant at first, since she had had some less than ideal experiences with a silkscreen printer trying to reproduce her work. But I was confident that letterpress was the right medium. So I offered to make her a business card at no cost. If she liked the results, then maybe we could work together on a fine art project. With this bargain struck, and feeling the need to always keep things fresh, we came up with the following:

It worked. Lis was pleased, and I was pleased. We decided that a collaborative relationship was going to be beneficial for both of us, and off we were to producing our first major project together - a baby alphabet book. Trying as always to keep things fresh, we decided to make this unlike other alphabet books out there. We settled on the idea of making a bestiary in the model of medieval compendiums of fantastic creatures.

Needless to say, Reservoir Press is excited to be working again with Lis on this project. The book, when completed, is supposed to be something of both beauty and wonder. Children will have lovely drawings of curious creatures to look at and rediscover with each new reading. Adults will have little blurbs about each animal that hopefully will surprise and fascinate them too. The images above are only test prints, while the final images will be bound in book format, with beautiful lettering and fun little facts about each creature. Lis and I hope that the experience of this book will be one that is rich for all readers, and will provide a fun point of contact between the young and the not-so-young.