Daily Failure: an "art" blog by Drex. V 2.0

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Rock n' Roll.

Here are some process pictures from a concert poster I recently made. Enjoy-

Being that this poster is for a show that 'my' band is playing-- I had free rein design-wise. I've been psyched on ants for a while now, and saw this as an opportunity to nerd-out and practice drawing some. The whole process starts with a few thumbnail sketches.

After a few refinements to a sketch, it gets scanned, printed in sections and then inked on the reverse side of the page. It helps to use a light table to see through the page. I have a piece of plexi with a lamp under it. Not ideal, but it works.

For inking, I use a brush-pen made by Pentel, called a Pocket Brush. It's a brush-pen with an ink cartridge contained within. It doesn't clog or drip, and gives a constant flow of ink to the bristles. This allows me to fake, as if I knew how to use a real brush, properly. Awesome!

This shows various states of completion. Sketches, reference imagery, scaled poster mock-ups, inking tests and other d├ęchets.

Once the final image is inked, it gets scanned, touched up, layed-out and reprinted onto posi-paper or vellum. Since the poster is 11" x 17", the positives need to be printed in sections, and taped together. Printing on a laser printer, inevitably things get slightly distorted. Thus, some touch-ups are necessary to ensure a seamless piece.
In order to get the fill layer for the ants, we have to cut a stencil out of rubylith. It's a semi-transparent red film, on a clear, mylar carrier sheet. By cutting lightly, only the ruby layer gets cut and not the carrier sheet. Then, the portions we don't want masked, are peeled away.

Colour separations.

Each colour separation gets exposed to a separate screen. The screens are coated in advance with a photo-sensitive emulsion. The white areas expose to the light and harden, and the black areas are blocked, and wash away with water. This creates a stencil.

Washout. The screen gets rinsed with water, to wash away the unexposed portions.

Paper gets cut to size, and punched for a registration pin.

Printing, one layer at a time.

Stacked-up to dry.

First color, second color.

Stacking up...

I tried a few colour-ways. The white ones were mostly just tests for the red layer, but look quite nice themselves. The majority of the prints are with dark yellow ants. Most of the metallic gold prints didn't work wonderfully, but the few that did look awesome! I'd love to try something else with gold in the near future...

Well, thanks for checking these out. If you're interested in screenprinting, consider signing up for a class at Martha Street Studio. If you're interested in music, come out to the show! (March 18th at the Royal Albert Arms, in Winnipeg.) If you're interested in the poster, I might have some extra copies for sale- say $10?



Sunday, January 10, 2010

New Year.

So, here it is. A (not-entirely) new take on a (not-entirely) old blog. Believe it or not, over the past year I've been making stuff! So this year, I've decided to start anew and share some of that with you. A logical first-post, it seems, are process pics of this past year's holiday card. It represents (for me) a new and exciting foray into photo-polymer plate production and potentially elaborate letterpress projects! WOOOO! Thematically, it's a tip-of-the-hat to Winnipeg winters and the daily commute.

After roughing out the basic idea, and promptly losing those pages, I sketched out the bike, and painstakingly figured out how Santa might appear atop it.

Then came a revised trace of the original drawing...

Followed by an inking, traced on a makeshift light table.

I've skipped a few steps here, such as: a) laying-out the type and vectoring the red layers in corel draw. b) printing 2 copies of each laser printed photo-negative on acetate, aligning and taping them together on a light table to double the opacity. c) exposing and washing the plates. d) post-exposing the plates to help fully expose them. These are the photopolymer plates! Expect a more thorough photopolymer tutorial someday.

This image demonstrates the plate affixed to a hardwood block, with a not-so-precise grid for alignment, registration, and reference locked-up in the chase. The block is shored up with some card stock to help bring the image surface to exactly 0.918". At the left is a test print. Fantastique!

On to the red! The crosshairs that appear printed in this test-print were used to align the block to the grid. They were cut off the plate before the print-run with an olfa knife. The holes at the edge of the paper are used to register the paper with screen-printing registration pins, that are affixed to the tympan. This method works surprisingly well! I'm eager to try some more complex designs to test it's accuracy...

Prints organized by quality, to some extent.

In the end, this project turned out pretty well. It wasn't quite as slick as some of my initial test plates and prints, but I think that was largely due to the paper selection. Stonehenge seemed fairly coarse and didn't deboss wonderfully. On the other hand, the use of screenprinting registration pins + crosshairs on the polymer plates allowed for surprisingly quick and accurate registration within an allowance of less than 0.5pt. I still need to figure out how to mitigate the appearance of a ghosted image, offsetting from the plate, to the rollers, and back during printing. It affects the consistency and overall quality, though only noticeable in large, filled-in areas. Hrmmmm...

Thanks for visiting. Hopefully I'll get into the habit of photographing more process stuff.
I'm even more hopeful that I'll make some more stuff worth sharing!



Music - James Taylor - Sweet Baby James

p.s. I'd like to also acknowledge the remarkably counter-intuitive and frustrating-to-use majority of Blogger's "tools". Awesome.