To continue the theme of November: Design Month, I found out in late October or so that Firebelly would be hosting their annual Holiday Pop-Up Shop to benefit their Reason to Give charity. After asking Dawn how I could help out, I have since spent the last month frantically crafting/designing away in order to have enough wares to sell. Expect to see some sweet embroidered goods, art prints of my illustration work, and possibly some stationary/paper goods. I’ll try to post some sneak peaks before the shop opens, but between the holiday and frantic crafting/designing, they may not come until the shop itself opens. Details below in the awesome flier designed by Will Miller:
Just a quick post since I was poking around on the internet before grabbing my lunch. It looks like getting a Thermofax machine is the best way to keep gocco-ing now that the supplies are cut off? I’ll have to check into this. In any case, Craft Chi has a great tutorial on how to use one with thermofax screens. In any case, this method would let me print larger than the B6 size, so it might be worth it anyways. (And it’s a Greener option: no throw-away bulbs each time.) The other idea I’m toying with is experimenting with screwing regular bulbs into the housing unit and seeing if that will expose a photo-emulsion coated screen mounted to a permanent frame.
In any case, I have plenty of time to think about it: I’ve stocked up on about 10 boxes of bulbs.
Coming soon: more posts from my DC trip!
Well, as I mentioned yesterday, here is a little more about how this year’s cards were produced. In addition to taking me two years to finish, I also ran into a couple of snags. Below each picture are details explaining each stop along the way.
- 1) As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I was really inspired by Rankin Bass’s Rudolf special: specifically, the opening titles where the swirling snow blows across the screen. It has such a nice texture to it, but unfortunately, I was unable to find any good screen shots for reference. I ended up watching the DVD in frame-by-frame while frantically sketching notes for the linocut background.
- 2) The finished linoleum cut (inked to show relief) for the background of the card. This was originally going to be the second color printed.
- 3) I then prepared my master for the gocco screen. This time, I printed it using a laser printer instead of a photocopier. When I ironed it before flashing, a fair amount of carbon lifted up as you see here: was feeling good about this.
- 4) I then flashed the master which contained the first layer, the top text layer, and the copyright info for the back of the cards: 3 screens in one! Unfortunately, using the blue screen and all of the ironing wasn’t quite enough because I still ended up with carbon burned onto the screen. To remove it, I gently rubbed a little bit of carcoal lighter fluid on the back of the screen as suggested by the Gocco Flickr group…
- 5) …it worked! A test print of the whole screen showed it burned successfully!
- 6) Rather than buying Gocco’s mixing cones, I instead mixed my ink in little snack-sized Ziploc bags: this had the added advantage of being reseal-able when I wasn’t using them. A little snip in the corner, and the ink came out as if in a pastry bag.
- 7) This was my first time using the ink blocking material, and it worked like a dream.
- 8 ) The first layer printed like a dream in silvery-gold (get it? Silver and Gold…) on the creamy, slightly textured stock I had picked out from Paper Source. Alas! When I tried to print the linocut layer in white on top of it, it didn’t show up at all. Despite getting the more opaque metallic white, it was still too transparent. So I rethought my color palette and paper choice, scrapped the first layer, and ended up printing just the linocut on a nice metally silver cardstock from XPEDX.
- 9) The text layer on the front came next, and unfortunately not many cards turned out well. I had a lot of trouble with “peaking” which I suspect came from having too much ink on the screen. I readjusted the ink amount for the copyright info on the back, and that layer turned out perfect.
- 10) Lining the cards up for drying on the counter since I didn’t have a little rack to stick them in. All in all, I printed around 30 or so cards and each layer only took me about an hour and a half each nightâ€”including clean up.
- 11) A look at my registration “system”: I positioned a test card under the screen and then used painter’s masking tape to mark off each side. This worked pretty slick, but my pad needs to be upgraded as it doesn’t have it’s stickiness any more, so the cards had trouble staying put. Luckily it didn’t prove to be much of an issue, but I’m hunting around for a replacement part…
So there you go! A successful printing experience, and now I can’t wait to start on the other projects I have up my sleeves!
So I had a lot of fun things that popped up in my feed this past week, but thought I’d share some resources instead. You see, I’m getting ready to print my Christmas cards this Sunday, so I thought it might be nice to share a bit on how I’m going to do it before I post my process post on the card itself.
Using Gocco for Screen Printing
For two of the screens/layers of the card, I’ll be screen printing. When I graduated from college a couple of years ago, I was really bummed to lose access to our awesome Print Lab. It’s a little hard to screen-print something as large as the poster my friend, Robyn, is working on below (BEFORE) when you have to do it in your apartment. Then I found Gocco (AFTER):
Obviously, I won’t ever be doing anything as big as Robyn’s poster unless I do it in sections, but I really don’t need to. And with the Gocco, I don’t have to worry about emulsion or power washers or table space: the unit exposes the screen and prints the image. On the downside, they’ve discontinued making them and their supplies. However, I believe that between all the resourceful gocco-ers out there, we’ll find alternatives. Below are some of the resources that I’ve found really helpful in learning how:
- Gocco Flickr Group (the discussion threads are particularly helpful)
- Gocco-Printers Yahoo Group (Joining this is a must: an excellent way to locate supplies, get expert help, or download templates, etc.)
- NEHOC Australia (all instructions given in English, as well as a list of produced supplies/accessories)
- DIYLife’s Gocco article (although some of these links are now broken, it still has great info on where to find supplies/tutorials/etc.)
- Celestina Carmen (Good inspiration and awesome tips: thanks for sharing your expertise, Tina!)
Relief Printing by Hand
For the relief plate, I’m working on a linocut that I will then print at home. This should be relatively easy as I printed most of the Incidents Among the Savages illustrations at home. I actually came across a really good How-To for creating and printing linoleum cuts at home via Coudal’s feed today. The National Gallery of Canada has a little microsite up for their exhibition of Albrecht DÃ¼rer’s prints. (While there, be sure to check out the Gallery of DÃ¼rer’s work: he is near the top, if not THE top, of my favorite artists of all time. His attention to detail in his engravings/prints is just mind-boggling.)
To locate the tutorial, click “Looking Forward” under DÃ¼rer’s name and then select “Linocut Printmaking: How To” to view. Each step is accompanied by a photo and instructions. However, rather than printing using my fist, I generally rub the paper with either the back of a wooden spoon or a baren. Since I’m printing at home, I plan on using the water-based block-print ink rather than oil based. I perfer oil, but have had a hard time finding the variety in color that I need at local stores, and figure the water-based will make clean up easier anyways. (Besides, some people don’t like that oil-based inks are toxic…)
So as promised, I’m posting how the Ben Folds shirts turned out. First, a little background. Back when I was in college, I was able to see Ben live for the first time when he performed on our campus. He had these awesome tour shirts at the time with his face and “Rock This Bitch” on them to commemorate his live tour. (For the backstory on that particular song, click here.) Alas! They were out of my size! In the years since, my sister and I have scoured the internet, but have never even so much as found a reference photo. With his concert approaching this past week, we decided to use my new gocco to create our own version of the shirts. I drew his head in Illustrator using a past tour shirt and his photo for reference (see below). It promised to be the perfect test design because I included a variety of line weights, a couple of large solid blocks for his hair, and a nice slab serif font at the bottom.
After a couple of months of reading up on instructions/tips, I felt I had a good grasp on what I was doing when burning the screen. I photocopied my design on the lightest setting, ironed it using several pieces of computer paper (perhaps I needed to use the Clean-Up Paper for it to work?), immediately lined it up on the printing bed, and flashed both sections using the Blue Screen with the emulsion-side of the screen down touching the master copy. (Note: in the photos above, we didn’t manage to capture a photo of the flash, but both bulbs did work on each section of the screen.) As posted before (here and here), it obviously didn’t work for some reason… And on a side question, do you have to reverse your type for a gocco screen? I didn’t think you did since the image looks correct through the machine’s window, but then I started confusing myself thinking about it after the screen was already ruined…
So not wanting all that time spent to be for nothing, I figured I’d transfer the design onto some nice, thick stock I keep around for stencils. (Besides, we got some really cute long-sleeve tees from Target that I didn’t want to go to waste.) I had to modify the design a bit so that the stencil would be all one piece. After tacking it down to the shirt using double stick tape (the insides of the glasses were sparate stencils I taped down at the same time), I painted in the design using some fabric ink I had around the house. I think they turned out rather nicely if I do say so myself, and if I get a better photo of the finished product, I’ll post it. Sadly, my late-night photos didn’t show up all too well above, but at least you get the idea. The concert was great, and the shirts were a hit!
Alas! I think my first attempt at burning a screen is now officially a flop. When I left off my tale, I had attempted to burn my first screen: a PG-702 fabric screen flashed in 2 sections. The first section appeared to work best, but on closer inspection (Thanks, Violet!) I noticed that the carbon from my photocopy had adhered to the emulsion on the screen. The second section didn’t look like it had burned through all the way to me.
So after everyone’s suggestions, I thought I might as well try making a print from a test area like Elaine suggested: afterall, maybe it worked fine like Tina mentioned. So first I tried to clean off the carbon per Jan’s instructions. The flickr discussion group also suggested either screen cleaner or turpentine. I opted for trying the screen cleaner because I didn’t have any turpentine on hand. Unfortunately, that didn’t seem to do the trick:
So I attempted a test print anyways, but sadly nothing came through on either the half with the carbon on the screen or the bottom half. :- And then, when I went to clean the ink off, I tried to use the screen cleaner on fabric ink instead of soap/water right away. So by the time I tried water, I had a harder time getting it off:
By the time I got the ink off, the exposed part of the screen looked like it has haze. 🙁 I wasn’t able to photograph it well, and haven’t had time to go back and look at it since. Suffice it to say, I gave up trying to print this one. Even if it is ruined, the screen’s not a total loss though: at the Very least, I plan to use the frame again.
But I just don’t know what went wrong. I photocopied it on a light setting, ironed it right before flashing, and hypothetically, it Should have printed Something. It looked like Some of the image at least burned correctly. I think I’ll have to go back to square one and reread my Gocco Guide again before another attempt. And this time I’ll probably try a regular B6 screen before attempting one of the fabric ones.
But enough of the problems, I’ll be posting the results of the t-shirts soon: because they did turn out great after all.
So I was hoping that my first post about this would be a success story, but alas! I ran into problems with my first screen. A couple of months ago, I bought a used Gocco B6 off of eBay since they have discontinued them. This weekend was my first chance to finally use it, and while it may have been a bit tooÂ ambitious, I decided that a t-shirt for my sister and I to wear to a concert later this week would be a good first project. Once I have them printed, I’ll post about it, but first want to ask if anyone has any advice.
Using the PG-702 fabric screens, I flashed my image in sections like you’re supposed to. The first flash turned out great:
The second flash is just slightly visible, and obviously hasn’t burned all the way through:
I’m thinking this may have been because I had to tape my image together in sections:
So what do I do now? Can I just realign the screen with my master art and re-flash that section? Or do I have to trash the screen and start all over? Any thoughts?
UPDATE: After Violet’s comment, I just went and took a closer look at the screen. It appears that the first flash Does have some carbon on it. So I’ll have to research how to get that off the screen…I know I was just reading about that somewhere… However, I’m still not sure everything burned through on the second flash, so I’ll try to do a small test section to see how it prints before trying to re-flash anything. Don’t want to waste those bulbs!