Bonstr Drawing 10/21/11

Confused as ever

Fuck Them All

Fuck Them All

Dear fans,

Today I happened to be sorting through some old sketch books and found this gem hidden in one of my first sketch books when I began college. It was summer 2003 when I was taking summer courses between my freshman and sophomore year. During that year I experimented with a variety of different diets and at the time of the above “drawing” my diet consisted largely of bananas, honey, sprouts and nuts.

I had stomach aches a lot at that time. It was probably done when I was having a stomach ache. Now I think about it, the stomach aches perhaps were not from the bananas, most likely they were from stress.

Fast forward 8 years to this past couple of months. Something similar came up.

Bonstr Drawing 10/21/11

Bonstr Drawing 10/21/11

Yes, I’ve been experimenting with mental diet. Swami, meditation, the Tao, the Secret, the Hero’s Journey, After the Honey Moon, the Mother Fucker’s Deep End, what have you. At some point, we need to put down the books, shove away the masters and teachers, cover the mouths of friends and families and just trust ourselves.

“I feel so bad because I can’t trust myself. That’s why I need the books, the audio tapes, the workshops, the healing sessions.” At one point that’s how I felt. But I slowly realized that nobody knows any shit about what life is about. They particularly don’t know what MY life is about. That is for ME to figure out.

But I can’t figure it out and I’m just as confused as when I was born. There is no answer to any of life’s big questions and there will only be more and more of them. It’s like swimming laps in a pool while there are more and more beach balls being thrown at you in your aisle.  Some hit you in the head and make you choke, some just floating on the side.

“Why are they throwing these beach balls at me?” “Why do they look this color and this shape?” “Why do I have this many and that guy doesn’t have quite as many?” No matter what, it is important to wade through all the balls. Push them aside, keep swimming forward. It’s okay not to know why and how the beach balls get in your face. Although sometimes I really want to just drown, just fall down to the bottom. But for some reason, I have a built-in floatation device, perhaps my mother gave me, or dare I say, God, that helps me float when I’m drowning.

That’s right, that’s where I’m at now. I’m floating by the built-in floatation device. It feels so effortless yet so dangerous. Can I really not swim so hard and be okay? I don’t need to learn new techniques to get rid of the beach balls in my aisle. I would just float forward and when the balls hit me, my head will be like a ice breaker ship that would part a way for me to float through.

It must be this way.

"For Them" Silk Screened Holiday Cards

Silk Screened Holiday Greeting Cards “For Them”

"For Them" Silk Screened Holiday Cards

“For Them” Silk Screened Holiday Cards

Dear fans,

“For Them” is a set of silk screened holiday greeting cards which I made for friends and families, featuring two designs and six cards in a set. Each design has three layers using contact paper as stencils and printed on American Master Natural color paper.

The idea behind this set of cards is that, instead of me giving my friends one greeting card that I write, since I have the ability to reproduce images, why don’t I give them the cards so that they would be able to pass on the greetings to other friends? Sounds more romantic. Yes, anything more romantic I’ll do! I started working on these holiday cards early so that my friends will have plenty of time to send them out.

Originally I was to give away 20 sets, which means a total of 120 prints, 60 in one design and 60 the other. However, I mistakenly printed the first design on all 150 cards (extra 30 for error margins), therefore I had to get another 150 cards for the other design. For some reason, I cut myself 60 of those wrapping straps while in fact I only needed 20. In total I ended up producing around 50 sets that took 3 weekends. All I have to say is, kids, stay in school and learn your math good!

1) Design brain storm Knowing the volume that I was going to produce, I tried to simplify the ideas down to just some simple shapes that are iconic for the holiday season.

design brain storm1

design brain storm1

design brain storm2

design brain storm2

design brain storm3

design brain storm3

First of all, the two designs should utilize the common holiday graphic elements and be able to relate to each other in terms of shapes and color schemes. The X’mas tree decorations came to mind. What does the holiday season mean to me? Since I’m not so  religious, it mainly means love, warmth, friendship, something from the heart, and…eating! I tried to combine the heart and stomach, but they just didn’t go very well and the visual was too complicated, so I scratched stomach. Another major icon for the holiday is the star. What does the star mean for me? At this stage of my life I see the star as some kind of guiding light, kind of like a north star. Therefore I put a compass in the middle of the star.

2) Refining the design I created the design and mockups in Illustrator. Tested some fonts for “For Them” text and see how it’ll look like. Again, I will have to manually cut out from contact paper, therefore choosing something that will work with that was an interesting challenge.

Designing in illustrator

Designing in illustrator

Testing the font for "For Them"

Testing the font for “For Them”

Adjust tracking for the text

Adjust tracking for the text

A mockup for how it should look like

A mockup for how it should look like

3) Making the stencils Printing out all the shapes in black makes it way easier to cut stencils out of contact paper.

shapes for cutting stencils

shapes for cutting stencils

Stencil for the text

Stencil for the text

the star and the heart

the star and the heart

 4) Printing the first layer for the X’mas ball design It was pretty straight forward, a ball!

printing the x'mas ball

printing the x’mas ball

 5) Printing the hanging string on the X’mas ball Again, quite straight forward, printing that layer. For simplicity’s sake, I did not layer or put any element adjacent to one another, therefore making it very easy. Well, I’ve told one of my friends that my house is currently full of flies, as illustrated below. They like lights, you see.

my house is full of flies

my house is full of flies

Closer look at the X'mas balls

Closer look at the X’mas balls

An interesting phenomenon occurred while printing these small shapes. The ink was sticky enough and the paper is light enough that every time I pulled the print, the paper itself would be stuck on the screen. If not separated carefully, the wet print could be ruined.

a stuck print

a stuck print

 6) Printing the heart Since the heart is the focal point in this design, I made sure to print a whole bunch of proofs.

printing proofs of the heart

printing proofs of the heart

first design complete!

first design complete!

 7) Printing the star of the star design Illustrated here is the slight tear at the sharp ends of the star. Sometimes you just can’t cut that precisely. In these tiny tears ink would leak out and the beautiful angle would be ruined. Foreseeing this based on experience, I cut out extra stencils to cover up the torn area, however small they were.

Mending the stencil

Mending the stencil

proofs, proofs, proofs

proofs, proofs, proofs

all the stars

all the stars

8) Printing the hanging string By this time you can see, it’s in the evening already.

printing the string for the star

printing the string for the star

9) Printing the compass in the star Because of the “doughnut hole” problem, I needed to put the middle stencil back into the doughnut hole. Since the area was so small, the ink leaked out some, the position moved some which only required more proofs and readjustment.

the compass stencil

the compass stencil

ink leakage

ink leakage

proofs!!

proofs!!

completing the star design

completing the star design

close up of the star design

close up of the star design

10) Printing the wrapping strip I made a little registration marks to make sure the text printed in the middle.

registration for the wrapping strip

registration for the wrapping strip

it's all for them!!

it’s all for them!!

close up look for the strip

close up look for the strip

11) Packaging I got 300 envelopes in total from Staples, and used up all of them. Still had a lot of plastic sleeves from my previously failed craft business that was never quite a business. Some double sided tape to help hold the text strip. I’m so happy they are all going somewhere outside of my bedroom!

300 envelopes

300 envelopes

packaging station

packaging station

12) Voila! Merry X’mas and Happy New Year!

"For Them" Silk Screened Holiday Cards

“For Them” Silk Screened Holiday Cards

Thank you for being here. Again, with all my prints, these are dedicated to Larry, who taught me how to print. If only he can write from the grave, I’d give him a set. Every set has a name on it and they are all flying out of my house in no time. Yes!