Sue Scullard

Sue was first introduced to wood engraving by Yvonne Skargon at the Royal College of Art 33 years ago.

Already a keen user of pen and ink she became enthralled by the variety and sparkling richness of line, pattern, and texture offered by engraving, and by the pleasure of cutting marks into such a beautiful smooth surface.

This enthusiasm for the decorative qualities of the medium has remained with her through 30 years of projects, commissions, freelance illustration and self-generated printmaking and engravings.

She looks for subjects with potential for a dramatic composition, and enjoys rendering the diverse shapes of flower and foliage in a garden border, or rocks, waves, splashes, waterfalls, and snowflakes, trying to capture their essence in a series of graphic marks on a dark ground. She has also found engraving to be the ideal art form for a short-sighted artist.

Most of the engravings are worked on small endgrain boxwood blocks, which have a dense and close-grained surface, so the medium encourages a cautious and detailed approach. Mistakes cannot be reversed – once a mark has been engraved it cannot be filled in again. An uncut block would print as a solid black area, and the fine tools incise white marks into the black surface, and as with other relief printing methods like lino and woodcut the raised areas are then inked and printed, which gives the engraving its characteristic appearance. Sue now prints her engravings on a Victorian Albion press, inherited from her mentor Yvonne, but for many years she hand-burnished them with an old spoon.

She has engraved illustrations for Folio Society books over the years. She has also used engraving for a food packaging project for Waitrose, and also a private commission to illustrate the history of information technology from ancient times.

Sue has been a member of the Society of Wood Engravers for 30 years, exhibiting every year, and in 2012 she was awarded the first Bewick Society prize. She is a member of the Sussex Guild, showing her engravings at selected craft events, she has taken part in group exhibitions such as the annual `Florum` botanical show, and also has work in several galleries throughout the country. She has demonstrated engraving at Art in Action and Craft in Focus events, and as a regular participant in South East Open Studios over the years.