Mid-year review. Is blogging dead? I’m okay.

Sorry I haven’t been around. It’s not your fault. You’ve been nothing but good to me.

Before I start, I have a question for you. Is long form blogging dead? There are so many pervasive, hip, services these days that, if you think about it, oppressively force us to be succinct. Can we stand reading anything other than a pithy comment anymore? I don’t even know if I can but I miss writing about how I make things and how I can help others make things.

So let’s stop worrying about everyone else. Let’s just go.

The past few months have really flown by. Some pretty fun things have happened:

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Light Grey Art Lab

This will be the 3rd year I’ll be making work for these cool cats and their gallery. They usually have an open call for art and all their themes are diverse, interesting, and challenging. If you’re ever thinking about a good home to submit your artwork to for consideration, I can’t think of a better group of people. Above is my piece for their BOSS RUSH show, a celebration of video game baddies.

There’s also a new show coming up, Patches & Stitches, where I designed a new shiny patch. More on that soon.

 

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Comic and Cartoon Art Annual
Cannibal Lane
, a silkscreen accordion book about a street market selling human delectables, made it into the Comic and Cartoon Art Annual(Special Format Category)! The show lasts from June 16 – July 3rd, with the opening reception on June 19 from 6-10pm($15 entry free).

 

A photo posted by Kim Ku (@spicytuna) on


New books are coming along!
Check it! A lot of process pics on my Instragram. I try to post at least once a week so you’ll find faster updates there. But I’m going to keep this going for more specific process work. Either option works.

Okay? Okay. Let’s keep going.

Summer bumming

Summer’s been pretty slow with silkscreen but finally got back into the lab this week and it felt like old hat. Ah, a big relief!

Meet möbius strip book:

moebiusbook

It’s based off of a möbius strip, which according to Wikipedia, is a non-orientable two-dimensional surface with only one side when embedded in three-dimensional Euclidean space. That just means that it’s a strip of paper that’s connected with only one plane and no edge or end point. Does that make it easier to understand?

Hm. More on my process soon but just wanted to tell you I’m alive!

Time spent

A lot of this year’s work has been leading up to April with setting up shop at MoCCA Fest in New York the first week and LineworkNW in Portland the next. The fests were great and tiring for me, but overall great. If you got a chance to see the books I’ve made, thanks! The books also send their thanks.

Fests act as nice deadlines to get work done. I honestly put a lot of pressure on myself regardless, but if you find yourself slacking, get a table at your local comics/illustration/etc fest and let the fear of an empty table and wasted money drive you to make. While it’s nice to think we’re always driven, sometimes we need that kind of motivation(me included).

When I got back from Portland last week, I was back in the print shop the next day. I’ve been planning this book since the year’s begun, but due to technical difficulties, time, fest prep, and general other work, it’s been a headache. I finally got it all sorted and was really excited to started!

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Only 5 more pages like this before I can start assembling. The window panes were cut before I started printing.

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A preview of the format where cut-out window panes are like a Rear Window into other people’s lives. It’s inspired by living in New York, a sardine can with no personal space. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

More updates as soon as I make them!

 

One moment at a time

On November 29, 2013, these sketches triggered the volvelle, or wheel chart, which is a paper construction with rotating parts. I actually didn’t know the its proper name for a long time so I called it(and still call it in my mind) the “circle book.”

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With the shape, I knew I wanted to make something about the cycle of time and decided on showing someone working at a diner. Then I could show a full day though meals and working.

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Prototyping begins. The mockup told me a few things.

1. This size is way too small (about 4″ in diameter).
2. Dividing the circle into 4 slices isn’t interesting enough.
3. Cutting the top circle in half does not leave enough mystery and it looks sloppy.
4. I must include a diner sign with food on it.

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The final mock and separations.

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I based the colors off the color wheel because I thought they transitioned nicely and fit well into the day and night scenes. If you look closely, you’ll see I printed gradients on opposite slices.

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Construction was probably the hardest since all the circles were hand cut with an exacto knife. They’re a little imperfect but I’m pretty satisfied with the final look. More circle books for the future, I hope!

Specs:

  • 9″ in diameter
  • 8 color print (4 gradients)
  • Bottom layer: Fabriano Tiepolo
  • Top layer: Plike in black
  • Edition of 15

Tea time ghosts

I’ve been thinking in prints more than books lately so I’ve been going with the flow. The latest: Tea Time.

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If you look closely, you can see the order I printed the layers. First black, then pink, then white, then green, then a little more black for the faces. This process lets the characters and objects live independently of each other which is one of my favorite aspects of silkscreen. Despite being a flat image, the layers add nice subtle dimension.

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When I set up my Etsy shop, hopefully early next year, I’ll drop this in and let you know!

Tea Time
11″ x 17″
4 color screenprint (black, white, pink, green)
Edition of 15

The Odyssey: A pop-up book adventure

The odyssey of the pop-up book, the Odyssey.

1. Generally, I start without an expectation. All I wanted to do was make a pop-up book with all the new techniques I learned for the past few weeks. First I thought I could make funny hats and then I liked how a certain pop-up would make a great umbrella. From there, I challenged myself to think of all the ways someone could find shelter from the rain and suddenly, the Odyssey was conceived!

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2. Make a mini. Once the idea was there, I made a mini mockup. How mini, you ask? Let the dollar bill shed some light and show off my riches.

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3. Make it big. Once I was happy with a layout, I made a full-size version and the broke it apart to prep it for silkscreen separations.

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4. Make separations. At this stage, I knew how I’d be separating the colors, but not necessarily what colors I’d use to print.

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5. Screenprint. You know how that goes.

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6. Cut, fold, score, cut, fold, score. I don’t have any pictures but it deserves its own painstaking step. I timed myself like a proper scientist and it took me 25 minutes to cut, score, fold, and assemble my first book, which I streamlined to 7 minutes by my last book.

7. Behold, The Odyssey!

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Of note:

  • In the end, 15 books survived to the end of the journey.
  • I’ll be making some additional packaging to wrap the books in soon.
  • Pop-up books are tiring to make but I really like them.
  • The same dollar bill was used for all the above images.

Bottled Up Ghosts

Bottled Up.
Edition of 20.
12.5″ x 17.5″

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Sorry to play favorites but these are some that I like best:

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Pop-up book update soon!

Fall theme: popups

So the summer theme for my books ended up being slants. It was really fun just riffing on one topic so I’m going to try another one this fall: pop-up books!

I’ve loved popup books since I was a wee child. Three years ago, I wanted to rekindle my love and bought The Pocket Paper Engineer, Volume I thinking that I would spend a weekend picking up the basics. Three years later, I’m blowing the dust off the cover.

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My first mockup above took over a week to make. All I have to say so far is that pop up books are hard.

Summer of slants

I’m pretty happy about summer flying by. I can’t wait to say goodbye to sticky, humid weather and hello to light jackets and scarves. Meanwhile, I’ve been keeping myself busy.

In April, a friend took me to the Antiquarian Book Fair and I was introduced to the world of collecting books. I didn’t know what to expect but I found many inspiring books from the olden days that I wanted to spin into my own work.

This is one of them:
slantbook

The Slant Book’s images and text are also slanted on the slanted pages to tell a story about what happens when a stroller, with a baby boy inside, is inadvertently rolled down a long hill. What a genius idea! How could I use that slant to tell a story in my own way?

1. Ghost Seasons
In this case, the slant lets me showcase all the seasons at once.

slantseason-01From top to bottom: Winter, spring, summer, fall.

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Summer to fall

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Winter to summer

2. Ghost City
Here, the slant make the buildings look more epic. I think this book looks best open on display.
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More soon!