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

Super Happy Handmade Art Funtime Birthday Sale!

Well, it’s that time of the year again. On Sunday I will turn another year older. I remember a few years ago on my birthday it was when I really made the decision to hit this art thing harder than I had been. And I can honestly say I have been doing that. I’m taking a long weekend off from my “regular” job to add new items to the Storenvy shop and hopefully move some art into some homes (maybe yours!) during my birthday sale. If stuff doesn’t look like it’s on sale it’s because everything has free shipping in the US. (Reduced shipping for my international patrons too!)

Here’s some of the new pieces added to the store.

The Pop Art Allusions Test Print

Pop Art Allusions Test Print

Pop Art Allusions Test Print. Image size 18 x 24 inches. Paper size 19 x 25 inches. 6-color test print on 100# Cougar

This first one isn’t super special and is the most affordable of the bunch. It’s the only remaining copy I know of that doesn’t feature the brown ink (the final color) on it. What’s more, there was a huge screw up when I started printing the second layer of yellow on the guitar (which was meant to mute the orange layer that was printed on top of the first layer). This is one of my earlier prints and even though it is technically flawed, I kind of love the texture of ripples and dried up bubbles in the too thick ink covering the surface. You can see closeups in the store. Continue reading

Progress Report: July 2016

Egads. It’s been over a month since I’ve last posted anything here. That’s not to say I haven’t been making progress. It’s been pretty quiet because I’ve been working more hours at the “regular” job. It’s a necessary evil in order to make some more cash. What’s that thing about having time or money, but not both?

Template/study for a Triumph motorcycle print

Template/study for a Triumph motorcycle print drawn over the last couple of weekends.

Continue reading

Printing Job #1

Two weeks ago on May 14 I held the first ever Neat & Keen Open Studio. It went pretty well. Most of the attendees were people I knew personally, but one family stopped by and to my surprise had a printing job for me. And here it is:

Legendary Shack Shakers poster

Legendary Shack Shakers. Art by Brett Whitacre. 3-colors 11 x 17 inches.

I was a little hesitant to take on this job. I’ve not been advertising my printing services because
A) I wasn’t sure I was going to offer printing services. I’m more interested in printing my own work.
B) I am/was just on the cusp of being comfortable enough to take on jobs for hire.

However, I think it turned out pretty decent. The artist is Brett Whitacre and he arrived at the open house with his wife Kate and their daughter. Kate runs Beets + Beats Farm in Sycamore. The Legendary Shack Shakers show (for which Brett is the drummer) happening in DeKalb tonight is part of an effort to raise funds for the farm. And part of that effort is selling these signed gig posters. Continue reading