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 :)

4 thoughts on “Cross the Swamp :: screen print on paper

  1. This is sooo beautiful! I love the perspective/curlicue effect on the swamp. Also the colors and the tree and the little flowers! And kind of an important message.

  2. Beautiful! And I’m not just saying this because it’s you, Bonny. This is a lovely, thoughtful piece of art, and I like how the swamp sort of has a face hidden in it.

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