Monday, November 28, 2011

It's Beginning to Look at Lot Like Christmas

Well it's not really. Here in London, Ontario it's unseasonably warm but you won't hear me complaining!

I've gotten myself more organized this year and have already done up my Christmas card designs. Just waiting to get them back from the printer, and then I can send them out! Rosie put me to shame by doing a completely original design in plasticine (look out Barbara Reid!), while I cheated by re-purposing some older drawings. Hey - it works!

Surfer Christmas

Wolvie X-Mas

Spidey Christmas

Christmas Scene - by Rosie
This is two people skating on a frozen lake with a Christmas tree nearby and Christmas lights shining in the background.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Literary Diaspora - Bad Day

Cecil Castelluci, a talented author and friend always has a lot on the go - be it writing an opera, young adult fiction, graphic novels and more.

One of her current projects is Literary Diaspora - "an experiment in sending words and images out into the wild through post. It is a playful game of narratives."

Basically it works like this, Cecil did up a bunch of postcards with different pieces of text on them. Then she sent the postcards out to fellow artists and writers in the mail. Based on the words she sent us, we are to do an image or text/poem/etc to accompany it. Neat huh?

My text was "Bad Day". I have to say I did go the literal route and thought about what a bad day looked like - gray and rainy right? I did experiment with washes a little with it too though, and I'm pretty happy with the result below.

Check out the site with other entries by such people as Melissa Auf der Maur, Mo Willems, Cory Doctorow and more!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Steam Whistle Show

Currently there is a terrific exhibit going on right now at the Steam Whistle Gallery called "Toronto Draws Tintin". Produced by The Beguiling, the show features takes on Herge's class Tintin character by dozens of  comics artists and illustrators from Toronto (as well as former Torontonians like myself).

The show started on November 2nd and runs until November 27th. On the closing night (Nov 27), all art on display will be auctioned off in support of The Canadian Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund and a graphic novel biography of Tintin’s creator Herge will be launched with the French author, Stanislas in attendance.

I'm a big fan of Tintin and did up the following for the show.

For me, the red rocket is a very iconic image, so I knew I had to include it in the piece. When I think of Tintin - I think of that red rocket. That is why it has the I chose to highlight it by having it be the only part of the image with colour. I'm pretty happy with how it came out... 

I plan on attending for this final night, and I know a lot of other participating artists will be in attendance as well.

The Canadian Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund provides financial relief for Canadian comics retailers, publishers, professionals, or readers whose right to free speech has been infringed by civil authorities.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Forest City Prints

The Idea

When I began my "Tree" series for the Arts Project (running November 1 - November 12), I decided I wanted to try something different for the show that I hadn't done before which is to do some high-end prints of my work.

I'm really fascinating by printmaking in general and think my line style suits it. I really like the look of Letterpress printing, so I did some research of who in the area could do this for me.

Letterpress printing was for years the normal form of printing text from the mid-15th to the 19th century. It's relief printing using a "type-high bed", in which a reversed, raised surface is inked then pressed onto a sheet of paper to obtain a positive right-reading image. It provides a really beautiful, hand-made quality to things. 

I found just who I was looking for with Vincent Perez at Everlovin' Press in Kingston, Ontario. Letterpress printing is a laborious process that requires someone well-schooled in the technique, and Vincent is a print expert who oversaw the Dawson Printshop at NSCAD University (which has one of the largest collections of moveable type in Canada).

The image I selected to get prints made from is this one below, of a Hackberry tree on Colborne St., which was voted the "People's Favourite Tree" in the 2010 Amazing Tree Quest contest.

And, since the trees of London provided the inspiration for the series, I thought I could also give back to them a bit by donating some proceeds from the print sales towards ReForest London, a great non-profit organization that's doing its best to look after the trees of our community.

The Process

The Original Scanned Image. For the print I thought I would like to make it look a little like a tourism poster to promote London (also known as the Forest City), so hand-lettered some text as a separate file to be dropped in.
I sent a high-rez digital file (1200 DPI) to Vincent, which he then made a plate from.
He then applies ink to the plate, and runs the paper through the press. For the colours, Vincent works from Pantone colours which I supplied. I used Lagoon Blue ( Pantone 16-5418) and Grass Green (Pantone 15-6437).
For the 2-colour prints (black and one-colour), the paper must pass through the press twice - one for the colour background, one for the black foreground. Paper is 130 lb Coronado (beautiful heavy stuff).
The paper is then cut to size (12 x 16 in this case).
Look at that perfect registration! The prints then just to need to dry, and they're all set.

The Result

I did a few different variations of the print including one of the tree with no text. Here's what the finished ones look like. I have them all packaged up individually in acid-free sleeves and mat boards. They are $35.00 each with $5.00 going towards ReForest London.