Author Archives: jemorton

Vari-Dot Grid Research and Bullet Journal Giveaway

This is part of an on going series of posts following the variable size dot grid notebook research and development, aka Vari-Dot. For previous posts please see:

Vari-Dot Grid Research

While waiting for screens to dry and such, I’ve been working away on this Vari-Dot book. Here’s what I’m looking to make now.

(If you’re just here for the Bullet Journal Giveaway, you have to keep scrolling a bit)

Diagram 1: Dimensions of the proposed Vari-Dot Layout book

Diagram 1: Dimensions of the proposed Vari-Dot Layout book

I want a big book. Almost a sketchbook, but with more order. This is a plan for a 9 x 12 inch book with perforated pages and double wire-o binding. Not shown at this scale is the new Vari-Dot graphic that I’ve been testing. Continue reading

New Prints, Dough Giveaway, and Project Updates!

August was a great month for printmaking as I finished two print runs. Now the arduous task of publishing them online and selling them will begin. Before that happens we’re having a Dough Giveaway along with some Andy Warhol books! First, the print…

“Dough”

“Dough” was first declared done in May of 2016. Wow. Then it was a 5-color silkscreen print and I debuted it at the first ever Neat & Keen Open Studio. To my dismay (and possibly good fortune) I didn’t sell any copies then. Since it wasn’t out in the wild anywhere, I decided to print more colors on top of it this summer and here’s what we have.

"Dough." 7-color silkscreen print on 100# Cougar, 19 x 25 inches

“Dough.” 7-color silkscreen print on 100# Cougar, 19 x 25 inches

It is now a 7-color silkscreen on 19 x 25 Cougar 100# cover stock. When I first printed it over a year ago I was determined not to get carried away with the number of colors, but now that it has two additional screens I love this piece even more. Continue reading

Variable Size Dot Grid Notebook Research [Part 2]

This is part of an on going series of posts following the variable size dot grid notebook research and development. For more, please see:
Variable Size Dot Grid Notebook [Part 1]


Notebook Research

If I’m serious about the possibility of making a dot grid notebook, I had to check out some others with some notebook research. These aren’t full on reviews. I don’t need to do a pen test because I’m going to have to choose paper from the ground up. What I do have to evaluate is the construction, dimensions, and general usability. For my test I chose notebooks from Leuchtturm, Miliko, Muji, and Northbooks.


Paper Size/Color

Stack of notebooks

Top to bottom: Miliko, Northbooks, Leuchtturm1917, Muji. Digital caliper is ready for some serious notebook research.

  • Leuchtturm 1917: A5/Ivory-ish; the darkest paper of the group
  • Miliko: A5/Ivory-ish; second darkest
  • Muji: A5/Off white; lightest in the group
  • Northbooks: 5 x 8 inches/Off white, between Miliko and Muji in color

All but the Northbooks are A5, though they do make A5 versions. Honestly I didn’t realize how non-white some of the pages were until I set them all down next to a stark white college ruled notebook. Personally I kind of like notebooks/sketchbooks/etc. to be just a little bit off white. I think on a subconscious level most people do. Have you ever painted the walls of a room with white ceiling paint? Even in printmaking if I can find white cover stock that is around 96 brightness instead of 98, that’s what I prefer to use.


Ruling/Dot Size/Dot Color

Continue reading

Variable Size Dot Grid Notebook [Part 1]

This is part of an on going series of posts following the variable size dot grid notebook research and development. For more, please see: Variable Size Dot Grid Notebook Research [Part 2]


Today I’m going to share the details (and download) of my latest idea, the Variable Size Dot Grid Notebook.

I’ve always liked stationery and office supplies. With this particular idea, I asked myself if I were going to have a store and offer just one line of notebooks, what would be the best notebook line to carry? There’s lots of great notebooks out there, but eventually it led to me designing what would be the best notebook for me.

Now everyone has different needs and wants from a notebook, so there is no one perfect model or brand. One size does not fit all. Still, I’m pretty pleased with the idea I’ve come up with.

First, I like a dot grid layout. As near as I can tell it was first introduced by Rhodia in 2010. In hindsight it seems like such an obvious innovation that it’s difficult to believe it has been around for just seven years. Still, I feel like there’s room for improvement within the dot grid. Here’s what I came up with.

The Variable Size Dot Grid Explained

Zoomed in example of a square Variable Size Dot Grid layout.

Zoomed in example of a Variable Size Dot Grid layout.

The Primary Dot: It measures 0.4mm in diameter, which is a bit smaller than many others notebooks. The Primary Dot composes the standard grid on most dot grid notebooks. Continue reading

Guitars and Motorcycles and Work, Work, Work

Holy No Posting, Batman! It’s been five months since I wrote an update here. While I’ve sort of made my peace with the fact that weekly written updates are not a necessity right now, I didn’t realize it had been quite so long. Here’s what’s been happening.

All Work and No Play

Just yesterday I finished a 19 day stretch of work at my regular job without any weekends off. Working third shift is tough enough, but when 40-hour weeks turn into 58-hour weeks and those turn into 66-hour weeks, it’s enough to drive most people batty. Things may calm down, but I’ve definitely looked around for other opportunities more in the past month than I have in the past year. Continue reading

A Flatstock Screen Printer’s Wish List 2016

What’s a growing screen printer have on his or her wish list this year? Here’s a list of common and not so common items that may be useful to the flatstock screen printer.

Speedball Permanent Acrylic Screen Printing Ink ($18/quart, $59/gallon)

Speedball Ink

I’ve tried a variety of other printing inks and had success with some. Speedball still offers the most bang for the buck as far as I’m concerned. Valley Litho sells it by the quart for $17.95 and by the gallon for $58.95. Dick Blick sells it for a little bit more, but you usually get free shipping from Blick on orders over $45. A gallon of all 19 colors would only set you back about $1200…

I like to have process colors on hand (cyan, magenta, yellow), but I like to get the less common colors like Fire Red, Primrose Yellow, Ultra Blue, and even Violet because I am less likely to be able to pick those up locally in pinch.

To get even more mileage out of your ink, be sure to get a gallon of Extender Base. At about $27 for a whole gallon it is less than half of the cost of actual ink.

Also on my list is Speedball Professional Poster Black. Available in both the quart and gallon size, this stuff is still relatively new and the screen printer on your list might not have tried it yet. It’s getting high marks and I’d like to give it a go myself. Continue reading

Colored Squares!

And now introducing, Colored Squares!

Square drawing with shadow and orange background

Two-color silkscreen print on Bristol board about 9 x 12 inches

It’s been too long since I’ve printed anything. I first shared a prototype of this design back in September, and really need to print something even if it was wrong. It’s a super small edition of just ten prints, but in four different colors. Continue reading

Crane Update #4

Uncut sheet of crane prints

Sheet of uncut crane prints ready to be cut, numbered, and signed.

Woe is me! I AM SO FAR BEHIND IN SENDING THESE OUT! And not even sending them out, but far behind in allocating requests for them!

So I’m breaking some rules. I’ll totally send you more than one crane. I’ll totally send you multiple mini-crane prints. Five? Ten? Twenty? Here’s sort of kind of what happened:

Originally [see: Crane Giveaway] I hoped more people would just send me a self-addressed stamped envelope and I could throw a crane in it and send it on the way. Easy peasy. I also opened up the option for people to send me 60 cents through PayPal to cover a stamp and envelope. This worked for a while, but only got me through the first 100 or so cranes. Continue reading

New Art Supplies Day!

Over the last week I have acquired a bounty of new art supplies! They may not all be exciting as blank sketchbooks and fresh pencils, but here’s some of the interesting stuff I got and why:

Roman 880 Wallpaper Paste

Gallon of Roman 880 wallpaper pasteHazaa! I have a gallon of wallpaper paste. How’s that for art supplies? This may not seem exciting, but I was advised that this makes good screen printing ink. It is essentially methyl cellulose with a preservative (I think propylene glycol). One caveat I’ve heard about it is that it can make for a less flexible print if you plan to roll it and print several layers. However, I also understand that it is archival. The big selling for for me is that it’s cheap. At $15/gallon it’s almost a quarter of what Golden Silkscreen Medium costs me. If it dries in the screen you can simply rewet it. That can be a con as well because if your final print gets wet, it is going to be damaged. At any rate it was worth picking up to experiment with. I got mine from Sherwin Williams, but other stores carry it in a different packaging. Continue reading

Motorcycle Keyline and Stuff In Progress

Black ink motorcycle on frosted mylar, 18 x 24 inches.

Black ink on frosted mylar, 18 x 24 inches.

Wow. It is September 9 already and I haven’t posted here since the end of June. Where did July and August go? I’ll tell you: Work. At the beginning of July I transferred to a different building at work as part of a promotion. The good news is that my base pay is more than 20% greater. The bad news is that the hours are killing me. In one recent two-week period I worked 128 hours. This week looks like it’s going to be the same deal. So it’s not that I don’t want to be working on art, it’s just that I’m so spent at the end of the day that it’s hard to make a lot of progress.

Above is the keyline in progress for my motorcycle print. At one point I’d hoped to be printing this by August. It’s probably going to be difficult to sell motorcycle prints at the end of October. Maybe I’ll sit on them until spring. Continue reading