30 September 2010

Merry Foxmas

Cards! Banners! Miscellaneous other things!

First, a new card design that I'm counting as a spring 2011 design, because it's kind of spring-ish and spring 2010 is long past.

It came about when I was working on (finally) finishing my fox girl banner design for my soon-to-be-something-you-can-look-at anime project. First, the banner:

Which then became a digital illustration (which was supposed to be neatly sized to work as a card that would fit in a standard business-size envelope, but looking at it now, I think I put the dimensions in wrong):

Then I realized the bamboo would be lovely as a letterpress element. I added a fox design that started life as an illustration for a intaglio project (as yet unfinished, though the actual prints are done--maybe I'll get it done in time for the holidays), then got adapted for a jewellery project I'm planning to attempt (the bits are laid out on my worktable, but I haven't tackled them yet). Now it's a card element. I'm thinking about maybe using the fox with other background elements to make a seasonal series. Maple for fall, snowy bare branches for winter, tall golden grass for summer? Yes, I think I'll do that.

And, speaking of foxes, I finally remembered to take an in-progress shot of the snowflake-catching holiday fox. Here's a few of them on my messy table, with just the black.

In a normal printmaking situation, I'd actually print the black (or key [hence the K in CMYK]) plate last, but because the red and blue plates don't register to each other and I don't want to waste the amount of cardstock necessary to add registration marks, I need the black down first so I can see where to put the other two. (In printmaking, you generally print lightest to darkest, though that can vary depending on how you want the colours to lay on top of one another.)

Other than that, I have a print job to be paid for, one to deliver, and one coming up to order paper for (which I really ought to have done today, but forgot). Also possibly a binding job (which I was supposed to email someone about, and also forgot). Three more wood type letterpress classes, during which I hope my students will have time to do a second small project once their cards are done. (And I know that was not actually a sentence.)

And two more images: the small, acrobatic thief who raids our bird seed.

24 September 2010

Teaching and Foxes and Other Things

So one of the things that's been occupying my time lately is teaching. I'm teaching a wood type letterpress class at the Dawson Printshop for NSCAD Extended Studies. We've had two out of the six weekly classes so far and I'm having fun. I hope my students are also having fun. I haven't had the presence of mind so far to remember my camera or even snap some photos with my phone, but one of my students and fellow Bookbinding Etsy Street Team member (and also fellow Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild member, I believe) Rhonda Miller has some posts about the class on her blog here and here.

If all goes well, I should be teaching an intro letterpress class (metal type, I think, though I don't know for sure yet) in the winter/spring semester). I'm hoping this is the start of a regular schedule of classes and workshops at the Dawson.

And speaking of the Dawson Printshop (and CBBAG), we'll have a table at Word on the Street in Halifax this Sunday, so if you're in the Spring Garden Road area, drop by and see us (and hope it doesn't rain). I think there will be a small tabletop press going with some of the cuts from the collection available to pint your own keepsake.

I've also made a little progress on my fox girl illustration (which I had hoped to have finished ages ago). I'm still getting used to colouring in Photoshop, as you can no doubt tell. The background is a placeholder again, until I figure out what I actually want to do with it (probably something fairly plain, as it's going to be on a long top-of-the-page banner on a website). The background image is a photograph by Brian Jefferey Beggerly of the Fushimi Inari Shrine (used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license), processed in Photoshop (yes, using a filter--how tacky).

And in other news, I finally got a rejection letter from Cricket magazine for a story I submitted a million years ago.

13 September 2010

Niko Does Anime (and a Fox Girl)

I had intended my next post to be either a new in-progress image of the steampunk satyrs or something letterpress. Alas, I haven't started printing my letterpress projects yet as I somehow got almost no sleep last night and decided an hour+ drive to and from Halifax was probably not the best idea. So I'll start on that tomorrow. And the satyrs illustration got pre-empted by a banner image for another project I started working on, which I'll explain more later, when I have more to show.

In the meantime, the image I'm working on for the banner . . . It's for an anime-related project, so I wanted anime/manga style art (which is not my forte). To my surprise, I ended up with a sketch I really liked. So I inked it, scanned it, cleaned it up a bit, and got this:

Now I'm in the process of colouring it in Photoshop. I have the flats done, and am about to start adding shading and highlights.

I'm going to keep the image quite flat, so it will (I hope) resemble an animation still, rather than going for the fully-painted look. The background colour is just a place-holder. I'm either going to add some stylized foliage or maybe process a stock image of an Inari shrine somehow. I haven't decided yet. Also, it will be rather more banner-shaped. I'll post again when the image is done and the project is something you can actually see.

09 September 2010

Fox Holiday Card 2010 Digital Proof

Keep in mind that the colours aren't set (especially the sky), and that a digital proof really only gives a general idea of what the card will look like letterpress printed and in person (because so much of the appeal of the card is in its tactility and debossing) . . .

I call it "Catching Snowflakes." I hope to get it printed next week, but that will depend on how quickly I can get finished the actual paying print jobs I have. There are two--one very small, and one small in number of pieces, but large in number of press runs. Once those are done, I can work on this card.

07 September 2010

Holiday Card 2010 Sketch (Fox!)

I'm planning to drive into Halifax several days next in the next couple of weeks to print at the Dawson Printshop, as I may (or may not) have a small print job. To make it worth the trip, and to get myself to stop being so lazy, I need to get my own work ready to go and print at the same time. Which means I need to get my files for polymer plates sent to film by the end of the week.

I have two holiday card ideas: the fox below and one with a squid and a pulp magazine theme, which I may or may not be able to pull off.

Now I have to figure out the exact proportions and boundaries of the card, and decide on colours. I'm thinking black, red and something very transparent and almost colourless (possibly a blue). The tongue should really be pink, but I'm not sure I want to do a whole separate press run for that. I usually try to keep multi-colour cards to three colours for the sake of economy. Two is even better.

I'm also starting to plan my 2011 letterpress calendar. It would be nice to have it finished in time for the Halifax Crafters sale this year (assuming I go). Last year I had a couple of pages done and took pre-orders and emails, but I think I could have sold a lot more if I'd had them done and on the table. It'll be similar to last year's, and I may even re-use the same wood type and number plates, but I'll use different colours and images, and maybe even a different proportion for the pages.

So what I'm thinking is cephalopods (that is, octopus, squid, cuttlefish, nautilus) OR rayguns. They'll be my own drawings this time, instead of vintage images. Anyone out there have any preference? Or a better idea? Someone on Facebook suggested cephalopods with rayguns, which I like, but it might be a bit over the top.

01 September 2010

Word Counting

Testing out a little word count widget, to see if it'll help motivate me to write. . .

White Foxes, Full Moon

The Fabulous Forays of Aeryn Daring: A Serial Novel

Something to put in the sidebar, perhaps. . .