Das Wilderbeasts

Das Wilderbeasts

Das Wilderbeasts

Das Wilderbeasts

Dear fans,

Das Wilderbeasts is a two-color, 5″ by 7″ linoleum block print on paper.

“In the landscape of your mind, there are beasts. Beasts without names or shapes. Beasts you cannot control. You watch them. The only thing you can do is watch them. They eat flowers you planted. They run around in the woods of your beliefs and the canopies that once shaded the raw soil come crashing down. You need this. Believe it or not, you do. Sit back. It’s like watching the Discovery channel, where you learn about nature. Your nature.”

For creative inspirations, I subscribe to a couple of different blogs and websites. One of the sites that I love a lot is grain edit, which features classic and modern design works. Many of the designs they showcase, vintage or not, have a variety of very charming textures, like this one done by Telegramme Studio.

These posts also reminded me of some German expressionists’ prints that I was introduced to when in college. Suddenly, instead of colorful, flat, sleek screen prints, I wanted to make limited-colored block prints with some rough texture. That’s also why the text of the print, instead of “The Wild Beasts,” is called “Das Wilderbeasts” some kind of pseudo German ;p

The Prophet--wood block print by Emil Nolde, 1912

The Prophet–wood block print by Emil Nolde, 1912

1) Idea sketch Sketching out the idea first on paper.

sketching out the idea

sketching out the idea

2) Transfer the image to the block I forgot to purchase copying paper, so I just covered my original paper with graphite, than draw on the back of it with the block at the bottom. Notice that you have to transfer the image onto the block backwards right now, otherwise your print will end up being backwards.

transfering the image to the block

transfering the image to the block

3) Mark the cutting area The graphite lines were a bit faint, so I tried to mark the lines with sumi ink, but it didn’t stay!

sumi ink doesn't work on linoleum block

sumi ink doesn’t work on linoleum block

Luckily the sharpie marker worked! Note that the image is backwards.

marking the lines with sharpie

marking the lines with sharpie

4) Carving time to bust out the knives and do some damage. I have accumulated many sets of cutting knives of various brands throughout the years. For linoleum, which is quite soft, it doesn’t really matter which brand I use.

my carving knives

my carving knives

 

Carving Progress

Carving Progress

For some really fine areas, I used an box cutter to cut. There’s no rules saying what tool you need to use, as long as you get the job done and it looks right to you.

using box cutter for cutting small areas

using box cutter for cutting small areas

 

Close up of the beasts

Close up of the beasts

5) Printing the background layer since I threw out a lot of my block printing equipment during the house fire last year, I needed to purchase some new stuff. Here’s a sheet of mylar, basically a thick piece of plastic, on which I’m going to squeeze and roll out my ink.

plastic sheet

plastic sheet

The painting knife is for handling the ink once it is squeeze out of the tube. The Barren is for hand printing block prints, applying pressure on the back of the paper.

ink, painting knife, blocks, barren and paper

ink, painting knife, blocks, barren and paper

And don’t forget, the ink roller!

block printing ink roller

block printing ink roller

I must insert an educational moment here. Please do NOT put your roller with the rubber side down on any surface! It hurts the surface of the roller, causing it to become uneven and will not be able to distribute ink nicely onto your block! Plus, on a hot summer day, your roller may become soft and melt and stick on your work surface!

don't put the roller side down on your work surface

don’t put the roller side down on your work surface

Here, I squeeze out a blob of ink, “stir-fried” it a bit to make it softer, and draw out a ribbon for the roller to roll out.

squeezing out the ink

squeezing out the ink

 

rolling out the ink

rolling out the ink

Inking the background layer.

inking the first layer

inking the first layer

Using the barren to apply pressure on the paper to pick up the ink. This was tiring and aggravating to my sore wrists (which I have only myself to blame). If you have a printmaking press, you wouldn’t have to do this.

barren action

barren action

first layer

first layer

 6) Printing the 2nd layer rolling out the blue color first.

rolling out the blue color

rolling out the blue color

rolling the ink onto the block

rolling the ink onto the block

close up of the inked block

close up of the inked block

And of course, nothing good ever get made without there first being tons of mistakes. The major challenges here are aligning the second layer with the background, and also not over ink and put too much pressure on the paper while printing.

mistakes and proofs

mistakes and proofs

too much ink and pressure causing double image

too much ink and pressure causing double image

 

it takes more time to print blocks than silkscreens

it takes more time to print blocks than silkscreens

And…drum roll please! Here’s the texture!

the block printing texture

the block printing texture

 

printing an edition of 15

printing an edition of 15

 

Das Wilderbeasts

Das Wilderbeasts

Voila! Here it is, Das Wilderbeasts! I hope you have learned something from this post or at least been entertained somehow. Isn’t printmaking entertaining? I think so. As always, I dedicate this print to Larry, who taught me how to print.

And, as always plus, if you’d like to own this, just let me know! XOXO

"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!

From Afar silk screen print on paper

From Afar :: silk screen print on paper

From Afar silk screen print on paper

From Afar silk screen print on paper

Dear fans,

Back! With another print! “From Afar” is a six color silk screen print on paper using contact paper as stencils.

This is a print that talks about seeing something from a distance, and thinking how beautiful it is without having a clear idea what it really is. It is precisely this ignorance of the reality of it that makes this thing you can’t quite see or obtain so beautiful. So, would you pursue it, hold it in your hand in close examination, risking your appreciation of it, or would you just admire From Afar? Your choice :)

There is not really a central focus in the composition, rather it is a collage of bubbles with different patterns and colors. Yes, just like seeing the street lights at night without your glasses on. So, you ask, what’s the inspiration for those particular patterns and colors? Well, they each represent something but if I tell you, I’ll have to kill you. Or, you’ll have to kill me, unearth one of my hidden sketchbooks and maybe you’d know. Heeeeee…

Here’s how it was put together:

1) The original sketch I got the idea from one of my marker drawings that I do daily. The color combination had some kind of Bob Marley flavor to it. Hmm.

From Afar marker drawing

From Afar marker drawing

2) Designing it Illustrator I redesigned it in Illustrator. The final font chosen was Orator Std Slanted.

Designing the print in Illustrator

Designing the print in Illustrator

3) Making the stencils for each layer I separated out each color and shape, printed it onto a piece of paper from a printer to help cutting the stencils from contact paper.

the stencil print out

the stencil print out

Cutting the stencils

Cutting the stencils

Cutting the stencils

Cutting the stencils

Cutting the stencils

Cutting the stencils

 4) Printing the first layer One circle, quite easy!

printing the first layer

printing the first layer

5) Printing the second layer I had to tweak the color of the pink a little to match the tint of the yellow circle.

tweaking the pink color

tweaking the pink color

printing the second layer

printing the second layer

6) Printing the third layer Because all the circles are pretty small that it didn’t make sense to use up all the contact paper to cover the whole screen. So I just taped some extra paper to cover the rest of the screen up so the ink wouldn’t leak. For this layer I used a fun metallic colored ink.

stencil of the third layer

stencil of the third layer

 

printing of the third layer

printing of the third layer

close up of the third layer

close up of the third layer

 7) Printing the fourth layer I used some left over ink and added a bit of different colored ink here and there to achieve the dark green color. As long as you have basic colors such as black and white, yellow, blue and red, you can mix any color. It may not be as bright or pure as store bought ones but it is often times more interesting.

mixing the dark green

mixing the dark green

printing the fourth layer

printing the fourth layer

8) Printing the fifth layer or rather…NOT printing it! I experimented with a scrap paper and found it too distracting for the whole composition, so this layer was scratched. Again, printmaking is all about the experimentation process.

the layer that never was

the layer that never was

9) Printing the fifth and sixth layer yes with the previous layer scratched all that’s left are the highlight dots. They were pretty straight forward and I took the colors right out of the can. For the yellow color, I had to change it to more of an orange for it to show on top of the yellow circle better.

testing the colors of the dots

testing the colors of the dots

10) Okie Doke sit and look at them from afar. No, from very close!

all the circles

all the circles

From Afar silk screen print on paper

From Afar silk screen print on paper

Yes, that’s it for now. I love you, thank you for stopping by. Again, thank you Larry for teaching me how to print. As with all things in the universe, ask, believe and receive. If you want this, let me know.

Ciao Ciao!

Cross the Swamp :: screen print on paper

cross the swamp screen print

cross the swamp screen print

Dear fans,

Oh my god, I made another screen print! Cross the Swamp is a screen print on paper with 5 layers of colors using contact paper as stencils.

I’m totally addicted to the process of interacting with ink, paper, stencils, my hands, water, the wind that blows through the curtain in my room, the sun that shines through the window, and my own breathing while laying down the screen. And most importantly, in the end of all this, I get to hand them out to people who I love and care about. What in the world is better than this!? Hmm…sex? But that’s something else entirely :)

So what does “Cross the Swamp” mean? What is this swamp? I recently read the book Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown, who is a love and joy researcher, but before that she was a shame and fear researcher. She said,

In Jungian circles, shame is often referred to as the swampland of the soul. I’m not suggesting that we wade out into the swamp and set up camp. I’ve done that and I can tell you that the swampland of the soul is an important place to visit, but you would not want to live there.

What I’m proposing is that we learn how to wade through it. We need to see that standing on the shore and catastrophisizing about what could happen if we talked honestly about our fears is actually more painful than grabbing the hand of a trusted companion and crossing the swamp. And, most important, we need to learn why constantly trying to maintain our footing on the shifting shore as we gaze across to the other side of the swamp–where our worthiness waits for us–is much harder work than trudging across.

So yes, it’s the swamp of shame! How dark. well, we’ve all got it, you’ve got one too. Have you tried crossing it? Or have you crossed it many times? It fracking sucks!

Here’s how I put it all together.

1) Pencil sketch and creating shapes in Illustrator

pencil sketch and creating shapes in illustrator

pencil sketch and creating shapes in illustrator

2) Designing in Illustrator

The final font selected is Kabel LT Standard. It is such a thin, beautiful and elegant font with a nice contrast with big blocks of color.

designing in illustrator

designing in illustrator

3) Layers sequence

Since there are multiple colors which will layer on top or overlap each other, it is important to decide which layer to print first. Usually you’d want to print the lighter color first, then finish off with the darkest color to make sure everything shows through nicely.

layers sequence

layers sequence

4) Cutting stencils

I use contact paper to cut out stencils for each layer.

stencil for the swamp

stencil for the swamp

stencil for the flowers

stencil for the flowers

5) Printing the first layer

The first layer is usually the easiest and really no big deal.

printing the first layer

printing the first layer

6) Printing the second layer

The second layer was a bit trickier. Since I was using the leftover semi-transparent ink from the last print Twin Heart, I had to tweak the colors and transparency several times to get the right shade. For multiple color layers, registration, which is lining up of each layer, becomes very important and can go wrong a lot of times.

experimenting with colors for the second layer

experimenting with colors for the second layer

7) Printing the third layer

The third layer, the flowers, was the easier layer since they pretty much just floats on top and doesn’t matter if they line up with anything.

close up of the third layer

close up of the third layer

 

printing the third layer

printing the third layer

 8) Printing the 4th layer

This layer was easier too since it only involves the tree trunk and the text that is kind of far away.

printing the 4th/text layer

printing the 4th/text layer

 9) Printing the swamp

The swamp is decidedly the main element in the whole composition. The dark color and swirly outline anchors down the whole image.

On the top right area of the swamp there are two white reflections. For this kind of “white out” or “donut hole” you need to cut out those particular shapes and stick it back on the screen to block out the ink.

It is also why on my prints, the O, the A, the R and the P of the text layer all have a black out style, because I was too lazy to put the hole back to the donut you know what I mean :)

the white out area in the swamp layer

the white out area in the swamp layer

testing the swamp layer

testing the swamp layer

printing the swamp layer

printing the swamp layer

On registration 

One of the toughest things to get right on a multi-colored or multi-layered print is to line up all layers correctly. Here I’m showing the mistakes that I made before I could get them right. For every good print in your hand a number of prints died because of registration or other mistakes. Even more regular printing paper also died for experimentation. They sacrificed bravely for the collective (collectable) good—the limited edition.

registration mistakes

registration mistakes

cross the swamp screen print

cross the swamp screen print

Voila, that’s it for now. Thank you for visiting and I hope you found it useful or entertaining either way. Again thanks to Larry who taught me how to print, and the universe who provides all that’s necessary for this to happen.

Talking about the universe, ask and you shall receive! If you’d like a print from this edition, just let me know :)

Twin Heart screen print on paper

Twin Heart :: screen print on paper

Twin Heart screen print on paper

Twin Heart

Dear fans,

New screen print, so excited! Thank you so much for being here with me. This is a screen print using contact paper as stencils and ink with translucent effect for layering using an ink extender base.

This is a limited editioned print of 30. If you’d like one, let me know and I’ll see if I’ve got an extra for you ;)

What is Twin Heart? It is a heart condition that can develop in the human body. According to WebMD (not really), it is a growth of extra heart material and tissues as a physical representation of your lover in your body.

If you’ve ever really loved someone or be in a long term relationship, chances are that you’ve had a twin heart at some point or even now, like me. Twin heart can stay symptomless indefinitely. During times of crises, extreme heart ache. Yup damn relationship issues.

1) Design The image was inspired by one of my daily marker drawings. I redesigned it a little bit to prepare for the print.

Twin Heart screen print: redesigning the original drawing in Illustrator

Redesigning the original drawing in Illustrator

Sorry, but I have to brag about my new acquisition, the Speedball screen print kit! I finally plunked down some money for it. Totally worth it if you’re trying to set up a home printing environment. The hinges make it really easy to flip the screen up and down for fast printing. Yes you can build a screen yourself, yes you can get a base board yourself and get the hinges from the hardware store. But you can also get a part time job and buy these things in a kit on your way home.

Speedball printing kit

Speedball printing kit

The hinges of Speedball printing kit

The hinges of Speedball printing kit

2) Creating stencils from contact paper The heart shapes are made from stencils from Contact paper, which is what your landlord uses to line the kitchen drawers. You can get a roll for $3 from local hardware store and it lasts forever…unless you are really lining drawers ;p

Using print out and contact paper for creating the stencils

Using print out and contact paper for creating the stencils

The first heart stencil

The first heart stencil

Stencil for the text

Stencil for the text

3) Printing the first layer I also used the print out as a registration technique to help me put paper in the right place to print for different layers.

Printing the first heart

Printing the first heart

First heart layer

First heart layer

4) Mixing the transparency ink For the slightly transparent/translucent green heart layer, I recommend using a transparent extender base like this one.

Speedball screenprinting ink transparency extender

Speedball screenprinting ink transparency extender

But the art store was out of this, so I used the Permaset transparent white ink instead. The white color tinted the green a bit, which was okay with me.

Permaset transparent white screenprinting ink

Permaset transparent white screenprinting ink

On mixing a transparent layer, always, always use more base, then add the light color, then gradually add in the darker color. Otherwise, you’re going to run out of extender base because of too much colored ink.

Mixing transparency ink by gradually adding colors

Mixing transparency ink by gradually adding colors

Test test test! Use a spare paper to test the transparency and color for the desired color. The color you see in the tub can look very different on paper!

Testing transparency and colors on spare paper

Testing transparency and colors on spare paper

Testing also on proofs of the first layer to see how it comes out when it’s layered on top.

More testing on spare paper, layering with first layer

More testing on spare paper, layering with first layer

5) Printing the second layer

Printing on nice paper after many testing

Printing on nice paper after many testing

Close up of the layers

Close up of the layers

6) Printing text layer Finally, print the text layer. Again, lots of testing on spare paper before printing on nice paper.

Testing text on lots of spare paper

Testing text on lots of spare paper

7) Sit and look at them Et Voila!

Printed all layers!

Printed all layers!

Twin Heart screen print on paper

Twin Heart

I hope this record of process was helpful for you!

Again, as with all my prints, this is dedicated to Larry who taught me almost everything about printmaking. Okay, fine, the professors taught some, but nothing he didn’t already know. Hmm, I think Larry is now having a nice French meal with a beautiful French lady in a very French corner in heaven!

quite_explosion_screen_print_yachinyou

Quiet Explosion :: screenprint

quite_explosion_screen_print_yachinyou

Quiet Explosion Screen Print

Dear fans,

It’s Friday! Today I made this editioned screenprint using a gradient background with two colors and grunge effect text with talc powder/body powder. The paper is Utrecht American Masters 90lb printmaking paper that has a slight cream tone and holds the ink very well. If I were a goat I’d eat it, it’s nice.

So what is “Quiet Explosion“? Well, I’m referring to those moments when you encounter something so beautiful that your eyes widen, your heart hurts, you hold your breath and there seems to be an explosion in your brain and you think pieces of your skull must be scattered all over the place. All this happens in absolute silence in a split second, yet you are a different person now. Prepare to accept. It’s hard to accept, but you’re different now.

It could be a blooming flower on the road side, it could be realization of some kind of knowledge, it could be a mysterious stranger who passes you by on the street. It could be anything, anything that blows your mind yes yes yes.

Anyhow, here’s the total steps break down of how I screen printed this.

1) Sketch: I rolled out of bed and sketched out my idea on my sketch book.

quiet_explosion_screenprint_tutorial_image0

Quiet Explosion screenprint sketch

2) Design: I did my design in Illustrator, testing out fonts and making the shape of the explosion. As you can see the explosion is made of several circles and many long triangles.

quiet_explosion_screenprint_tutorial_font_test

quiet_explosion_screenprint_tutorial_font_test

quiet_explosion_screenprint_tutorial_explosion_shape

quiet_explosion_screenprint_explosion_shape

quiet_explosion_screenprint_tutorial_final_design

quiet_explosion_screenprint_final_design

3) Make contact paper stencil for 1st layer: I printed the design flipped, then use it as a guide to cut out the contact paper stencil to affix on the screen.

quiet_explosion_screenprint_contact_paper_stencil

quiet_explosion_screenprint_contact_paper_stencil

quiet_explosion_screenprint_background_stencil

quiet_explosion_screenprint_background_stencil

4) Mix and print gradient colored ink: As you can see from the design above, I wanted to have a gradient effect on my background from red to orange/yellow. Once I have my orange color mixed, I put the two color together side by side on the screen. This is how you make a gradient shape. At first it will appear to be two clear cut colors, but after a couple of pulls they get mixed better and became a nice gradient.

quiet_explosion_screenprint_mixing_orange_color

quiet_explosion_screenprint_mixing orange color

quiet_explosion_screenprint_two_colors_side_by_side

quiet_explosion_screenprint_two_colors_side_by_side

quiet_explosion_screenprint_two_colors_mixing

quiet_explosion_screenprint_two_colors_mixing

quiet_explosion_screenprint_mixed_ink_on_screen

quiet_explosion_screenprint_mixed_ink_on_screen

quiet_explosion_screenprint_background_layer

quiet_explosion_screenprint_background_layer

5) Make text layer stencil: while the bottom layer is drying, I went ahead and made my text layer stencil on the contact paper.

quiet_explosion_screenprint_text_layer_stencil

quiet_explosion_screenprint_text_layer_stencil

6) Grunge effect with talc/body powder: To create the distressed, grunge effect on the text, I used talc powder, also known as talcum powder, which is basically body powder which you can buy from Walgreens. I have no idea why someone would want to put this stuff on their body. What the powder does is that after you sprinkle some on the screen, the powder goes into the surface of the screen and clogs the pores of the screen, creating stencils of those shapes. Now maybe that’s why people put on this stuff because they want to clog their pores!?

quiet_explosion_screenprint_grunge_effect_body_powder

quiet_explosion_screenprint_grunge_effect_body_powder

quiet_explosion_screenprint_grunge_text_effect

quiet_explosion_screenprint_grunge_text_effect

6) Print text layer and viola!

quiet_explosion_screenprint_text_layer

quiet_explosion_screenprint_text_layer

Done done!! It too me all day and fortunately I had turntable.fm with DJs spinning sick dance tracks to tie me over. Ate a bowl of rice noodles and 2 sweet potatoes. You know how we roll :)

Greatest Printmaking technician and teacher in the world Larry Sommers

What do I do, Larry?

I’m sure there are a couple of teachers who influenced your life in a big way, wether it is in a good way or a bad way. Teachers have incredible power and I have very good luck to have had a handful of great teachers in my life. One of them is Mr. Larry Sommers, the greatest printmaking technician and teacher in the world, who I miss so much.

Today when I was making the print “It is like a question mark,” my background layer just didn’t come out right. It was blotchy in some spots. I was annoyed and suddenly I had this urge to whine and call out “What do I do, Larry? What’s wrong? Help me Larry!” I envisioned myself taking my print and walking over to his small office attached to the studio. I would walk pass the wall of prints and pictures and ignore them, I would see what he is currently doing and ignore it, and stick my failed print in his face with a frown without even greeting him, “Look, Larry, help!”

Freshmen do this, grad students do this and even the professors do this. “Larry, look, it didn’t come out right.” “Larry, something is missing.” “Larry, something is dirty.” “Larry, where is xyz?” “Larry, I made out with a boy.” “Larry, my boyfriend dumped me.” Larry can fix anything. “Larry, I think god is punishing me. God is putting a line across my image every time I print.” Larry would ask, “Well, what paper are you printing on? How long did you soak your plate? What ink are you using? What pressure are you using on the press? Did you have breakfast? You can’t print right without energy.” Larry figures everything out for everyone.

Larry loves France and whenever he goes on vacation, he goes to France to visit all the art museums and see all the beautiful French ladies. Once, before he left for France, he handed me a set of keys. “Bonny, when I’m away you’ll be in charge of the ink closet. Only you can take out new ink and these other supplies when you notice that something is low.” I felt like I was knighted by the king of the world.

I’ve hated Larry too once. One day I told him, “Larry, I’m going to move to San Francisco and join this artists’ warehouse thing I found on Craig’s List and live and work with all kinds of artists.” Larry asked me, “well, do they have walls set up even?” “No.” “How’s the bills split up? Are you going to pay the photo guy’s water bill and the ceramic guy’s electric bill?” “I don’t know.” Larry said, “Look, go find a decent apartment.” I hated Larry so much at that moment and I thank him for life.

The last time I heard Larry’s voice was on the phone. I just moved to San Francisco and was working in San Francisco design center for a showroom, my first job. I gave him a call in the small dark back room, beside me were boxes of silk and chiffon fabric samples piled up to the ceiling. “Larry!” “Bonny! How are you!?” “I’m on my lunch break!” I said with a hushed voice. “What are you doing now?” Larry asked. “I’m selling furnitures!” He was laughing. “Oh good, don’t get fired!” “Okay, see you!” The conversation was so short. It was too short.

It’s been about 2 years since Larry passed away from this world. I feel sad but I don’t feel so sad when I decide that he must be pulling some amazing prints and chatting with Joan of Arc at the same time. It must be this way yes it must be. And I will always remember him when I pull a print.

Greatest Printmaking technician and teacher in the world Larry Sommers

Greatest Printmaking technician and teacher in the world Larry Sommers

It is like a question mark screen print by artist yachin bonny you art process

“It is like a question mark” screen print :: art process

Dear fans, (warning: long post)

Remember I said that if you have any request, you can ask me? See what I made for K, who asked me to turn the post It is like a question mark into a T-shirt and I made it into a limited edition print. Ask and you’ll receive…something :)

I’d like to dedicate this edition to two people. One is the martial arts teacher Brent who said “It is like a question mark” and inspired me, and the other is the teacher who taught me everything that was required to make these prints–Larry Sommers–who passed away about 2 years ago. I miss him very much and I will think of him every time I pull a print.

Screen printing is something quite popular among artists right now, especially street artists because of its ease of reproduction. Besides screen printing, I also know block printing, etching and monotype as other printmaking techniques. Do you know I got a degree in these things *chuckle* but seriously, I got a college degree in reproducing images with antiquated techniques. These days I’m in bed with Photoshop every night, but still there’s nothing like seeing how the ink, the screen, the paper, my fingers, my sweat all interact with each other in one image. It is something Photoshop can emulate but never reproduce.

I first designed the main image in Illustrator and printed it out. I made a somewhat organic drawing with silkscreen drawing fluid to create a subtle background for the question mark. It just so happened that it turned into heart shaped <3

It is like a question mark screen print by artist yachin bonny you art process

The first layer drawn on the screen with drawing fluid

After the drawing fluid is dry, it was time to coat the screen with screen filler. Basically the screen filler fill up the pores of the screen except where the drawing fluid lies. Then the drawing fluid is washed out with water, and you’re left with a nice stencil on the screen.

coating the silkscreen with screen filler by artist yachin bonny you art process

coating the silkscreen with screen filler

Wash out drawing fluid and you have a stencil on the screen art process

Wash out drawing fluid and you have a stencil on the screen

I used a metallic ink for the bottom layer. It is subtle against the cream-colored paper and has a shine against light.

The first layer with metallic ink screen printing art process

The first layer with metallic ink

The first layer with metallic ink screen printing art process

The first layer with metallic ink

For the top layer I chose to use the contact paper technique to create the stencil on the screen. Contact paper is the sticky stuff your landlord uses to line the kitchen drawers which you can get in most hardware stores. They are great for creating stencils because they are sticky and it’s easy it cut any shape out of it. After the shape is cut out, the contact paper is then stuck onto the screen.

Cutting out the shape on contact paper screen printing art process

Cutting out the shape on contact paper

Due to my stupidity, I made my stencil the wrong way and it came out flipped! I had to make another one. Forgive me Larry, it’s been a long time.

flipped print screen printing art process

flipped print

Printing the top layer.

inking the screen screen printing art process

inking the screen

inking the screen screen printing art process

inking the screen

This is a limited edition of 30 prints. 30 good prints. Which means that I wasted about 20 copy paper for tests and another 18 good paper with sub par stuff. Each of the editioned print is signed and numbered. The sub par/test stuff was signed as artist proof. Sign prints with pencil because pen and ink will fade over time. You don’t want this because the print is more valuable after you die, and your name gotta stay up there for a awhile.

Signing the print screen printing art process

Signing the prints

The edition screen printing art process

The completed edition

Do you like? Do you want? Remember, just ask, and you’ll receive…something :)