Bats? Bats!

design process

bats helloI started drawing these little charmers last night, and I worked on them intermittently today. I absolutely love my new brush set that I got from Creative Market. The set was $39 and made by Roman Melentyev. It has made a big difference in the effects I’m able to get with my Wacom tablet (Intuos Pro small). I’m able to draw in a way almost identical to what I do with a dip pen with various nibs, but in my less time because I can erase.

I really like having multi purpose cards. If a card is just for one thing, that’s ok, but cards should exist for any sort of correspondence, even if it’s just to reach out to someone and say “Hi, I’m here. I care about you. How are things?”. Don’t get me wrong, I love my phone and the ability to chat with anyone with any instant messaging app, but I still appreciate getting mail from my friends. Tangible things can be really special.

This card is for all the weirdos out there who want to give a little black and silver batty shout out to another weirdo, or maybe you want to use it for a Halloween card.

[A random observation: Bat heads kind of look like goblins dressed up in lion costumes.]



New Card Design

design process

tortoise happy bdayWith Maker Faire coming up on September 12th, I figured I needed to get my butt into gear. Between my other job and grad school, I’ve had enough time to fulfill wedding and other custom stationery orders, but not enough for my own R & D. I like to think my proud and sassy lady tortoise helps make up for lost time. Tortoises don’t give a shit about wrinkles, and neither should you :D The Aldabra Giant Tortoise is also a conservation success story, which in the midst of all the African elephant and White rhino sadness, is a glimmer of hope: a reminder that we can save species from the absolute brink of extinction.

Aggieville Mini Maker Faire


Two Crow Press will have a booth at the Mini Maker Faire in Aggieville this Saturday, September 20th. The Maker Faire is only part of the festivities being held in honor of Aggieville’s 125th Birthday. I will be in Booth #4, near The Dusty Bookshelf.

Maker Map

Similar to my demo at Art Happens 2013 at the Manhattan Arts Center, I will be printing various items, showing how to set up and clean up the press, and allowing people to pull prints for free. I will also be selling Two Crow Press paper goods and taking custom orders.
In addition to the Mini Maker Faire on Moro Street, there will be:
  • Entertainment stage, scheduled with acts throughout the day
  • Ferris wheel
  • Kid’s carnival
  • History in Triangle Park
  • Craft beer tasting
  • Car Show
  • Street Dance
  • Giant Birthday Donut
  • Midnight “Happy Birthday” song and toast

Konza Postcards: perhaps abstract is better…

design process

I’ve been trying out a lot of different ways of drawing these animals. I think I might have to go back to traditional media to do it quicker, but trying to figure out this tablet and photoshop brushes has been really useful, so I might keep using it, just to gain experience with that.

Tympanuchus cupido, the Love Drummer. This one is definitely more the woodcut/linocut style that I’m used to. I’m not a painter. I’ll illustrate things with gouache and ink, but I’m drawing with it and filling in colors, instead of treating it like paint and blocking out areas of color, doing washes, blending, etc.

prarie chicken konza mockI don’t know which I like better, so that means I need to do even more sketches. I’ve done a lot more permutations of the bison and prairie chicken than I’ve posted. I’ve probably only done about 15 different sketches total, not nearly enough. If anyone out there is going into graphic design or art, you need to draw all the time. Are you drawing right now? If not, you should get on that! I’ve spent about 7 hours today on the chickens, and when it’s all said and done I’ll probably have put in 3-4 times that. Also, don’t look at his feet, I didn’t even try on the feet. The feet will be so much better on the finished plate.


Konza Postcards

design process

This is something I’ve had churning around in my head for awhile. I’ve wanted to make a set of postcards/prints celebrating our native wildlife. In addition to the American bison, I’m planning to definitely make one of the Greater prairie chicken. Other possibilities are White-tailed Deer, Bobcat, Coyote, Red Fox, Great Blue Heron, Northern Bobwhite, Killdeer, Eastern Screech-Owl, Belted Kingfisher, Northern Flicker, American Crow, Loggerhead Shrike, Red-Winged Blackbird, Common Nighthawk, Poor-Will, Tiger Salamander, Ornate Box Turle, the list goes on. We have a lots of great indigenous species.

Birds on the Konza Prairie

Mammals on the Konza Prairie

Amphibians and Reptiles on the Konza Prairie

Plants on the Konza Prairie

If you have any favorites, I’m definitely open to suggestions.

UPDATE: Refining the sketch and playing with brushes. This is my first time working with a Wacom tablet. It is able to capture my mark making really well, the result looks very close to what a sketch with a dip pen and ink looks like. The bison will continue to get better as I get to know the tablet.

american bison konza card mock 2Josefin Slab is a mighty fine typeface.

Printing Again!

finished product, printing process

20140706-164209-60129110.jpgIt’s been a long while since I printed last. Between family illness, grad school, and my work with the Manhattan Experimental Theater Workshop I was swamped. I printed a new set of business cards this morning and had enough ink on the press to try out a new plate. It’s my largest plate. In fact, it’s the largest my press can print. The plate is a larger version if the Ryokan poem card.

Our life in this world –
to what shall I compare it?
It’s like an echo
Resounding through the mountains
and off into the empty sky.

It’s one of my favorite poems, and one that I want to share with people by making a beautiful letterpress print. I’ll have them for sale on my Etsy site shortly, and will be contacting the local shops I sell at to see if they want to stock them.

They are printed in a purplish-black color I call sumi black, because it reminds me of thick, freshly-ground sumi. I printed on four different colors of paper: Mohawk Loop in Antique Vellum finish in Milkweed (160#C), Husk (160#C), and Thai Gold (130#C); and French Paper Co. Construction in Pure White (140#C). The finished prints will be approximately 7.25″ x 9.25″. 20140706-164258-60178898.jpg

Mock Invitations: Part 3

design process

Now you can see how changing the colors and motif completely changes the mood while keeping the text block intact.

This would be great for a traditional and refined outdoor wedding. Classy and rustic. I’d probably use GMUND’s Savanna paper for the enclosures or envelopes. Embossed woodgrain paper really complements the texture of letterpress and would highlight the oak leaf motif.


Mock Wedding Invitations

design process

Part of building up a wedding portfolio besides doing jobs for real couples is designing mock-invitations. I usually use the details from my own wedding so I’m not stepping on anyone’s toes. The nice part about this design, besides the amazing typeface (Erotica, by Argentinian designer Maximiliano Sproviero), is that the left design can be anything the couple wants (Brandon and I had crows for our theme), or the type block can be moved to the center and swash or another narrow element (trees, lace, etc.) can frame it on either side.    two crow wedding mock 01    UPDATE The other good thing about them: they allow you to quickly try out new colors. Definitely can’t do that with a letterpress…