Monday, March 31, 2014

Printmaking everywhere

In todays digital environment CMYK, halftone dots, and pixels are inescapable in the areas of production and entertainment. In the past 10 years or so there has been a real swing back to laborious processes and "traditional" ways of making. Many have seen this evident in fonts and letterpress as well as other forms of art processes such as sign painting, chalk menus, hand tools, typewriters etc. But I have seen it in one area more than most…. and that is in children's books. So here are a couple of ones I  saw on my most recent trip to the bookstore as well as one of my favorites. First one called "If you want to see a whale" by Julie Fogliano. The title is hand set type but my favorites are the illustrations using mono prints and woodblock hand printing. I acted like an absolute printmaking nerd if front of strangers when I saw the use of the woodblock grain in this book. Some sample images are below.
This grain texture seen is made by thinning the ink and pulling the mono print while the ink is still freshly rubbed into the wood rather than rolled.
This wall of sea color in the back is what is called printing "Salty" 
The next book "The wolves in the walls" By Neil Gaiman uses hand drawing as well as silkscreen and mono print. 

And one of my personal favs in the area of kids books (primarily because of its printing) is "Sick Day with Amos McGee" by Philip C Stead. The use of woodblocks and drawing are just fantastic. I have collected a few in process images from the artist so you can see how the final images are achieved. 

Great story of a zoo keeper who gets sick and while he usually takes care of the animals this time the animals take care of him. It is all done in relief blocks and graphite. 
Click for larger view
Click for larger view
rough sketch of the scene 
A more detailed sketch to start blocks and place at scale
Carved blocks based off of colors needed using the drawing for placements
Print without the drawing on top. Combining two woodblocks. 
Final image with drawing on top of the woodblock print. 
 Anyhow I hope that in all areas of visual culture you can begin to see where the handmade and the aesthetic of the artist is coming further forward. And rather than visual culture being dictated by technology or technical gimmick the visual culture is being produced by choice.


Earl Grey said...

Great post— thank you for walking us through this.

Jeanette Tesmer said...

I want to get my nieces this book! (and maybe one for myself)