Paper Club. Episode 1.


Paper Club is a new feature I’m starting where every month, I’ll write about printmaking papers. Topics like my paper preferences, other people’s preferences, some visual walkthroughs, product testing, and other paper resources will be discussed!


Paper is really important to me when I screen print. How does it feel when you hold it? How does it fold? How heavy is it? How does the paper color react in relation to the colors you want to print on it? I’m not a connoisseur in the least, but I’d like to say I’m an active student. It’s a nice(/weird) pastime for me to visit art stores and discover new printmaking paper.

If you’re new to printmaking paper, here are things to consider:

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Color
Nice printmaking paper usually only comes in muted colors. There is an abundance of white, ivory and beige but if you’re looking for kraft, black, or gray, your selection will be more limited. Cheaper papers come in brighter colors, but I personally don’t like them. What you print should speak louder than the color of the paper you print on. Paper should really just be a nice accent to your work.

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Weight
Paper weight is measured in grams per square meter. Though paper is considered heavyweight or lightweight, it doesn’t refer to how much the paper literally weighs(though it correlates). Instead, think of weight like paper density, kind of like how packed together the paper is. For example, tissue paper is considered lightweight because it isn’t dense and allows light to filter through it. Paper board, on the other hand, is heavyweight because no light filters through it.

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Sizing
Sizing refers to how paper reacts to the ink/paint you print on top of it. The ideal situation is that you want the ink/paint to remain on the surface of the paper and dry there as opposed to being absorbed. If paint/ink is absorbed, you run the risk of bleed and ruining the crispness of your print. Think about using a Sharpie on tissue paper and how much bleed that gives you. Nice paper won’t do that.

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Does it fold?

If you make books, this matters a lot but may be the hardest to test. Even nice paper does not necessarily fold well and you can’t just go around folding expensive paper you haven’t bought yet. So from what I know:

  • Lightweight papers (Rives lightweight, Arches Text Wove, Somerset Book) generally fold well.
  • Heavyweight papers are touch and go. Most require you to score the paper first with a bone folder which will lead to cleaner folds.
  • Stonehenge paper does NOT fold well. When folded, the paper cracks and will generally tear if not immediately, over time.

To be continued…
Those are the basics to paper. The best thing to do is not to be shy and explore. Paper won’t bite. :)

Till next time!

 

Making of Ghost Neighborhood (part 2)

Silkscreening Ghost Neighborhood came and went without a hitch. A good print day always makes my week. :)

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Then comes individually cutting and assembling all the pages, which is just as labor intensive as the printing.

This was my mock book test to see how the final product would look. I really wanted Ghost Neighborhood to look like you were looking down a seemingly quiet suburban street when the book is flat as well as open on display.

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It took me a day to cut down the other 24  prints. Tomorrow, a few more cuts and hours of assembling.

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Final post with more glam shots and details soon!

Ghost Cardigan… complete!

Enter Ghost Cardigan:

  • 16 pages 
  • Comics + Illustrations
  • All about ghosts and their cardigans
  • Has some manuals and infographics
  • Made with pen, brush, and ink
  • Pages are 100% cotton
  • No ghosts were harmed in creating this

Here’s a bit on the process:

1. Sketch first in a homemade notebook.

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2. Draw loosely in pencil. Toil. Ink with pen and ink wash.

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3. Tediously scan in pieces. Color correct. InDesign the layout. Print on 100% cotton paper.

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4. Ghost Cardigan.

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Selling it here, or at the next fest.

Making of: Ghost Neighborhood (part 1)

Ghost Neighborhood started because I wanted to make an uneven accordion book that made you feel like you were looking down an unsuspecting suburban street. Look closer, things will look awry, and hopefully that’ll make you want to open the book and look inside.

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From the initial little sketch to the to-scale sketch, I changed the shape pretty dramatically… I thought the houses looked more interesting if they weren’t all ranch houses and the new book shape is easier to hold and open. I had a bad feeling the original shape would be too floppy at full size.

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Making separations feel like old hat now. I can put on some music, turn my brain off, and get it done.

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So did it work? Do you want to look inside? I hope so. :)

I’ll update again when I start printing.

Ghost Cardigan + New Book + Other

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Drawing Ghost Cardigan is complete, but of course my printer had to break. New parts are flying in now, thank goodness. Also, I can’t bear to just let this be 100% machine printed so I’ll be putting in a handmade surprise.

 

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Here’s a sneak peak at my next silkscreen book, The Neighborhood. Proper details soon as I finalize separations.

 

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I cut these little ghosts out of linoleum for some handmade business cards. I would like to get business cards printed by a proper printer but I haven’t found the right fit yet. I feel like business card Goldilocks– no one makes them the way I want– so I’ll suffer the consequences, DIY-style.

Making of Aches, a print series

Anything worth doing takes time, tears, and midnight snacks.

February 2013
Aches began on February 6, 2013. As you can tell from my enthusiasm, I didn’t think much of it.

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March 2013
The little thumbnail incepted me — I couldn’t get the image out of my head. Truthfully, I couldn’t find the right book/story to put him in… so I just pinned him to my board.

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April 2013
During MoCCA Fest, my table buddy mentioned making prints and I was struck by lightning!

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May 2013
Prints complete! Our stomachache friend is no longer alone but I’m not done yet.

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Future 2013
I’m designing a portfolio for each set of prints.

Tools I Love

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I’ve spent a lot of time and money to find out what tools work best for me. Maybe they will work for you.

Here are my favorites!

1. Rapidograph 1/0.5mm
Rapidographs are hard to maintain, but they give such a consistent steady flow of ink that they’re worth the trouble of cleaning once every few months. I use them mostly for inking on acetate for silkscreen separations.

2. Rapidograph 2/0.6mm
This is my go-to pen for inking on acetate. Rapidograph makes ink specifically for acetate which is a big plus for me.

3. Rapidograph 3/0.8mm
This is my second go-to pen for inking on acetate.

4. Rapidograph 4/1.2mm
I use this one to fill in large blocks of black on acetate. I find it too thick for much of anything else.

5. Micron Graphic 1
I buy these in bulk for sketching. I don’t like sketching with pencils generally. Pencils feel half-hearted especially for sketching– just commit! If it isn’t good, then draw it again on the next page.

6. Micron Graphic 3
Sometimes I think, the broader the pen size, the looser I can be with my ideas. Everything is going to look like a 5 year old drew it anyway.

7. Pentel Brush Pen
There are most expensive options out there for cartridge-based brush pens. I’ve tried a few, but this has been my favorite for 5 years. The ink doesn’t gunk, it’s easy to buy replacements for the ink cartridges, and it’s cheap enough to really have fun with it.

8. Rotring 600 Drafting Pencil – 0.5 mm
Made of brass, this pencil is nicely weighted and feels great to draw with. This one is only sold in Japan but you can buy them online(google it!). I use this for final drawings before I ink separations or before inking regular drawings.

9. Sharpie Paint marker
Cheap and mostly good. The only negative is that I find them hard to maintain after a few weeks. The ink dries and it starts to leak from incorrect places.

10. MONO eraser
An eraser that actually works and doesn’t leave big eraser chunks behind.

11. Homemade notebook
Made with standard printer paper with a broken silkscreen print as a cover. After I staple everything along a makeshift crease, my MacGuyvered notebook is ready to use. Sketchbooks shouldn’t be made out of anything precious. Just make it and use it.

Making of: Ghost Pizzeria

How to make Ghost Pizzeria:

1. Log stupid idea late at night. Laugh alone at what you’ve just done.

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2. Find stupid idea still hilarious the next morning. Organize ideas into a coherent order in book form.

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3. Make color separations. This one required 4 sheets of acetate so 4 colors will be printed.

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4. Buy nice paper like Hahnemühle Schiller. Then screen print.

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5. Take time to laugh at what you’ve done once again.

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6. Clean up and go home.

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Ghost Pizzeria
Edition of 18
4 colors
5.5″ x 5″