Category Archives: Process

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 [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

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

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

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

Dough: Homer Simpson Meets Andy Warhol (And Other Thoughts)

Two weeks ago I finally finished my mash up of Homer Simpson with an Andy Warhol dollar sign. And here it is.

Homer Simpson "Dough" silkscreen print

“Dough.” 5-color hand pulled silkscreen print, 18 x 24 inches, 2016.

If you’ve been following my Facebook page you’ll know that I live broadcasted most of the printing process. I also have time lapse video drawing the full size films onto frosted mylar and may make a video of the whole process at some point. Most of the illustration was done with a black oil pastel crayon, with the large blocks of yellow and orange filled in with black ink and a brush.

Why Homer Simpson And What Does It Mean?

I was a bit apprehensive about this piece because if it doesn’t cross a line, it approaches it. Up until now I’ve prided myself on doing original concepts. It can be difficult to be successful doing that because if you look around, that is not what people want. And I enjoy a lot of pop art, but I feel so much of it is too easy by taking advantage of a well known and loved property and putting a twist on it. So if I was going to do this, it had to be for good reason and to make a statement I could stand by.

Continue reading

Art and Money (Or Lack Thereof)

Drunk Homer Warhol Dollar Mashup

Drunk Homer Simpson says, “I could do a lot of things if I had some money…”

Money spent to date on making silkscreen prints: $2848

Income from selling prints to date: $236.83

That amounts to a loss of $2611.17. If that’s all you’re interested in you can stop reading now, but I’m trying to measure gains and losses in other ways, too. Besides that, it’s only been just over a year since the first print came off my press. Most new businesses don’t turn a profit in their first year, so I guess I’m no different there. What about gains and losses that aren’t financial and where did all that money go? Continue reading

35mm Russian Zenith Camera Print

Test Print Edition of 35mm Russian Zenith

35mm Russian Zenith. Test Print edition of ten pieces. 12 x 15 inches.

This weekend I finally got around to printing two versions of this 2-color print featuring a 35mm Russian Zenith 3M camera. Some things could have gone better, but overall I’m pleased with the results. Shown above is a copy from the test print edition of ten. So how did this print come to be? Continue reading