Friday, April 22, 2016

The Evolution of a Print

So here's the finished product. Below you'll see how this little mouse came to be. He's available now at my Etsy shop on greeting cards and as fine art prints!

Whenever I'm feeling stuck, frustrated, or doubtful about my work, I sit down in front of a blank sheet of paper and invite my heart to speak. This is what came out yesterday, and I can't imagine a more perfect metaphor.

The initial sketch: Just a little mouse with a big flower. 

Inked up the block to pull a quick proof and get a better idea of how it's coming along.

The final proof. Happy with how he turned out, I'm calling this print done. 

This piece isn't grand or earth-shattering, but it feels so dear to my heart. And though I didn't consciously plan it, the imagery represents so much to me.

It takes a tremendous amount of heart and courage to carry a big dream. Especially when you're just a small mouse.

Or a small fox.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Fresh Cut Tulips

Give your momma some flowers this Mother's Day! Introducing fresh cut tulip greeting cards. Here's a look at how an idea becomes a print:

Step 1. Inspiration. These sweet little gals popped up around the mailbox and I fell in love. I started out by drawing some observational sketches to get the creative juices flowing.

Step 2. Refinement. Experimenting with tracing paper to find the right composition. 

Step 3. Transferring the image to the block using pencil and carbon paper. 
Now we can get carving!

 Step 4. Printing a proof to see how the plate looks inked up.
It's darker than I'd like, so I decide to do a bit more cutting.

Step 5. Printing the finished plate on card stock using water based ink.

And that's how a print is born!

Should have these lovelies for sale on my Etsy shop by the end of the week! 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Frog Linocut

I've been carving on Blick E-Z Cut rubber for so long, it had actually been quite a while since I last sliced into a good ol' block of linoleum. I almost forgot how satisfying it feels to carve on these plates, and the beautiful line work and detail that they afford.

Thankfully, I discovered a box of small linoleum pieces while cleaning out my supply closet over the weekend. Which is how this little froggy wound up making his debut.

I started with this pen and ink drawing that seemed to be begging to be turned into a print.

The inked plate.

Experimenting with color and gradients.

This little guy and more new prints will be available for sale when I do a big Etsy shop update later this spring. I'm planning on stocking some original prints, hand printed greeting cards, and maybe even a few cute pieces of clothing for tiny people!

But for now I've got more carving to do.

Have an awesome week! 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Printmaking, please.

April is here, and with it a clean, organized studio and endless new possibilities! After finalizing and submitting the pieces for this month's show, I'm feeling all-too-ready to get back to working in two dimensions! 

A lifelong dabbler, I've long struggled to settle on a single medium. But if I had to pick just one type of art to make for the rest of my life, it would be hand carved prints. This is a relatively new realization for me, and a very happy one! I'm ready to put my whole heart and soul into mastering one thing, and printmaking absolutely feels right.  

Here's a little glimpse at the process behind this zinnia print I recently made. Hope it inspires you to get creative! 

It all starts with an idea. And then some sketching. And probably some erasing. And definitely a lot of tweaking. When finally I've got an image I'm happy with, it is transferred onto the carving block, and then the real fun begins!

Proofing the block to see how the design is coming along.

Time to print! 

Trying different variations of color.

Adding a big of watercolor really makes it pop!

Every time I undertake a new print, I learn so much along the way. This time I learned that I need to invest in some oil-based block printing ink if I want to watercolor over a print and not have to worry about running or smearing. But that experiment will have to wait for another day.

Thanks for stopping by! Follow me on Instagram @smallfoxpress for a bunch more process pics and updates!