Saturday, December 19

Print Gocco and Holiday Cards 2

Now that the printing of the holiday cards actually seemed real and within reach, we moved swiftly on the next steps: printing the color background.

Most of the cards we're working with are of white cardstock, which is an easy and generous canvas on which to paint. All colors will show true and with some clever negative-space design, you don't need to use any white ink at all. I used that concept for the snow-covered tree in my holiday cards of a few years ago. But as Rebecca showed me, it pays to experiment with different colors of paper... to be seen shortly.

Photoshop goes a long way towards covering the bulk of the work that's required to create a template. I freehanded a prototype card and kept every element of the illustration separate in its own layer. I knew that for printing the card I would want to do the black outline last, so ultimately the sky, monkey's fur, and monkey's lips would go on one stencil. Three different colors, but the ink couldn't be allowed to run, which it assuredly would if I didn't set up any barriers.

The Gocco comes with foam pads that you cut up into narrow strips. One side has an adhesive that mounts onto the stencil, so you can create little walls to hold areas of ink separate from each other. I'd never played with this before and was looking forward to trying it out. It was easier than I'd thought, as the foam was very forgiving, bending in all directions or trimming easily for sharp corners. The adhesive formed a strong bond but, upon pressing, you had a short grace period in which to reapply the barrier if it didn't go where you wanted. It was pretty much an ideal substance to work with.

As seen in the second photo, I walled off the sock monkey's head from the sky (the large dark blob surrounding him) and sealed off a little chamber for the red mouth. It was important to think of this image in two forms: the detailed black lines and the large geometric shapes behind it. Photoshop allowed me to reveal or hide any aspect of the image so, in the course of drawing, I could also plan how much room would be needed by the foam barriers--or, in other words, how close areas of color would be allowed to lie next to each other.

I could have narrowed the space between the colored shapes, of course, by giving each color its own stencil, but that would have been two extra stencils and four more flash bulbs (part of the stencil-making process) down the drain. I'm trying to conserve Gocco resources because it's a deadstock item and no one's making more/new supplies for it anymore. That forces me to get creative with how I'm going to print.

No comments: