Monday, December 8, 2008

Adding To The Shop

After a bit of research on archival quality printing, I've decided to add a couple more items to my shop today. I chose to go with a few of the more interesting Ttv photos and an unframed print of the Wishful Thinking illustration.

I wanted to make sure that any prints that were purchased from me would resist fading and look nice and sharp. I'm looking mostly for prints that are guaranteed for 70+ years. From the bit that I've read, it's important to print on acid free paper to prevent yellowing, and use pigmented/archival ink to resist fading. I found a few online options that look promising. It took me a bit of time to sniff out these printers, so I thought I'd share them here to save anyone conducting a similar search some time. Here are my findings:

I have yet to use any of these printers so I can't vouch for them. If you have used any of these printers, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

I would really love to find a local printer to work with, I just am not sure where to start, especially if I'm not printing in bulk. If you're in the Indianapolis area, and you have any suggestions I'd love to hear them.

I'll be sure to post any findings and reviews once I've discovered a printer I like! Yay for learning about print! It's a wide wide world and it's SO not dead.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Results Are In!

My first attempt at printing with the gocco DEFINITELY didn't turn out as perfectly as I'd imagined it would, but isn't that the way with most first attempts? I set out to produce a set of prints to send out as Christmas cards and the experiment was full of lessons learned and questions I need to ask. Even though the prints didn't turn out as beautifully as I'd hoped they would, it was still fun to make. Here's a quick look at my process and my result.

First, I sketched up the initial design, scanned it in, then cleaned it up and played with colors in the computer. After a bit of playing, I finally ended up with this.I wish we had one of those little guys to take care of our shoveling for us! Least he has friends to make the work more fun.

Next I split the colors into 3 separate black and white compositions to use to burn the screens for the 3 different colors I wanted to print. I needed to take the compositions and have them printed on the laserjet printers at Kinkos because I needed carbon in the ink. Laserjet prints contain carbon, but my home inkjet printer does not. The first printout is what I used to burn the screen for the light blue color, the second for the light green, and the third to burn the screen for the dark green. I wasn't sure if there was too much detail in my illustration or not, so I was very curious to see if the detail of the shingles and the texture on the wall of the house would show up. I was pretty impressed by the results.

Insert blue filter then screen. The blue filter keeps the print from fusing to the screen when you burn it.Screw bulbs into housing then fit into top of the unit.Press down firmly on the front of the unit which will cause bulbs to flash and burn the screen. (I added a little flare to this photo for fun, cheesy I know, but hey this photo just didn't do the flash bulbing step justic)Here's a closeup of the middle screen. Check out the detail of the thin windowpanes and the ironwork. Pretty cool that the mesh is fine enough to pick all that up.

Once the screens were all burned it was time to print. I didn't have the color blue that I wanted, so I decided to mix my own. First lesson, I should have started with white, then added the blue. It was impossible to get it light enough once I had all that blue on my screen. Even after I printed all of my papers I still had TONS of ink left on the screen. All the ink was good for a nice even print though.Once you ink the screen, you lower the plastic sheet attached to the screen and fit the screen back into the unit facing the same way as when you burned it originally. Next step, place your paper on the rubber base, lower the lid and press. Then just lift the lid, the paper will stick to the screen, then you just peel it down gently and admire your print!
So, the colors couldn't really be further from what I'd originally envisioned. I decided to just roll with it though and deal with the brightness. Honestly, I dont mind the saturation, that crazy fluorescent green is kinda fun. I think if the blue was just a bit lighter and the dark green just a bit darker I would have been more ok with the overall look of the print.

I also learned that registering 3 colors with this model gocco is super difficult. Lots of mess-ups for sure.

The final point of frustration I had was knowing how much ink to flood the screen with. It seems to vary from color to color. I dont know if maybe the inks I have are different ages or if it has something to do with the pigment, but the dark green gave me ALL SORTS of agitation. Whenever I'd peel it off the screen I'd end up with certain areas with a heavier ink buildup than others. I was running low on the dark green ink, so I wasn't quite as generous with it as I was with the other two colors, and I wonder if that might be the culprit? If anyone has had similar experience with this kind of trouble, please share! Once I ran out I threw some black ink on the screen and it didn't give me that trouble... or maybe it did, but wasn't as noticeable because black is more opaque.

Does anyone have any tips on cleaning the screens? It seems impossible!

Overall, the experience was fun, and I cant WAIT to get more supplies for another project. I'm still unsure if I want to send these prints out as Christmas cards, or if I should just get the original illustration printed at kinkos or something to send out. I feel like the quality of this first run isn't necessarily what I want it to be to share with others, but then again is part of the charm in it's flaws? You can CERTAINLY tell they're hand-made. I'll have to live with them a bit longer to make my final decision.

So that's my first gocco experience in a nutshell! Hopefully there will be more to come.PS: I'd also recommend having furry helpers near by to give second opinions on the prints. Mylo was super helpful, especially when he laid on my feet to keep them extra warm.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Printing with the Gocco!!!

Oh Gocco! I knew we'd be a good fit together. Why did I discover you so late?!!!

I've been having so much fun playing with my new toy! After finally finishing a 3 color print design for our Christmas cards this year I've begun the printing process. I don't want to give too much away til it's finished. I just wanted to share a quick progress shot that Alex took.

This thing the Gocco and I have, it's love. So simple, such quality. I'm desperate to continue our love affair! Why has Riso stopped making supplies?! If anyone out there knows of alternative gocco supplies PLEASE let me know. If not, maybe you knows of a similar printing setup that ISN'T going extinct. That would be great too.

I guess the only thing to do, for now, is just to enjoy the time I have left with my beloved Gocco.

I cant wait to see how this first print project turns out with all 3 inks! I'll post when they're finished.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My Etsy shop, La Grisette, is up and running!

I'm trying a little experiment. I've purchased many a hand crafted item off Etsy over the past couple of years, and I always thought to myself, "Someday, I should post a couple items for sale and see if there's any interest". Well, today was that someday. I've opened an Etsy shop online and listed my first item for sale. Sure it needs finesse (the look, the wording, the information), sure I need to add more items to sell (photography prints, illustrations, gocco prints, tshirts), but for now, it's a start. So without further ado, I present 'La Grisette' my little shop on the web. Just one framed illustration for sale now. More items to come.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

New Basement Tees

The design and motion company I work for, The Basement, is in need of some company tees, so I put together this 3 color design. We wanted something other than just our logo slapped on a shirt, so I tried to integrate a bit of movement in the design to associate with all the motion work that we do. The plan is to print them on Alternative Apparel shirts (the perfect crew for men and organic scoop neck for women). We're hoping to get these printed and sent out to clients as holiday gifts, as well as for ourselves of course. I can't wait to see them finished, hopefully we can get them printed soon. Happy Wednesday!