For as long as I can remember, I have always turned to art as a means of therapy, entertainment, expression, and an outlet for creativity. After a brief stint studying art history, I realized I missed actually doing art and enrolled and recently graduated from Art Center College of Design. I am now currently embarking on a career as an illustrator and designer.
How did you get started in printmaking?
I discovered it by accident actually. After completing a very small run of a linocut image on a Vandercook press for an assignment my final term at school, I realized that I really liked the result and sought to replicate that post-graduation without access to a letterpress. Thus, I experimented and taught myself how to achieve that result via printmaking without a letterpress.
Describe where you work.
I work on my kitchen table, at my drafting table and at my computer in my small cozy apartment....eventually taking over the whole place with prints at various stages of drying!
What's your favourite printmaking process?
Given my limited experience with more formal printmaking techniques, my favorite would have to be my self-taught method with linocut blocks in which I roll the ink on the block and transfer it to paper via burnishing with a large metal spoon.
What's your creative process for any given print? (eg. sketch first? Pre-planned or free-form?)
I usually have a vague idea beforehand of what I want to create. What I have seen, like a particular kind of bird for example, inspires what I will make. I sketch an image first, working from reference as to ensure accuracy, then scan it into Adobe Illustrator, using the sketch as a template. I then refine and simplify the shapes, play with color, then resize and print it out. I use this to transfer the image onto the linoleum block with graphite (Saral paper). I carve away! Once I'm done carving all the blocks, I mix the colors using my Illustrator printout as a guide and roll out the colors and burnish to transfer onto paper.
What do you enjoy most about printmaking?
The satisfaction of a beautiful finished print is what I may enjoy most but I really enjoy the whole process. I enjoy the patience, concentration, diligence, and often caution it requires as it forces you to slow down and think ahead yet be thoroughly involved in the moment so as to ensure a good print. It's thoroughly therapeutic, like knitting!
What's your least favorite part of the process?
What are your inspirations (other artists, people, places, events, etc.)?
I am greatly inspired by nature, specifically what I see in nature, the colors, the shapes, everything, including all kinds of animals, people and the human form. I also am inspired by artists too numerous to name all but I love Mucha, Gaudi, all Art Nouveau, Da Vinci, Poiret, Erte, fashion illustration, Hokusai, Hiroshige, Japanese wood block prints, Charley Harper and the vintage graphic aesthetic. But, honestly, anything and everything can be a source of inspiration!
How has your work changed and evolved since you started?
I think my work is always continually evolving but I've definitely become less timid with my color palette and shape design. I'm relying less on my digital skills and more on my traditional skills and letting that show through. I'm including more texture and pattern and am becoming more intentional with the placement of color and other elements.
How do you get past creative slumps?
I let it rest or "sleep on it" and work on something else or start something new, often in a non-printmaking medium. Hopefully, when I've taken enough of a break from the piece, I am able to come back to it with a fresh set of eyes and get past that slump. There are always simultaneous art and non-art projects going on.
How do you promote your work?
Networking, word-of-mouth, passing out business cards and postcards, participating in competitions as annuals are great advertising and exposure, selling my work at art fairs and Etsy, giving my work as gifts, and having a web presence with my website and blog so people interested in your work can easily find you.
Any other comments or advice for others who want to try making hand-pulled prints?
Just have patience and persevere as it's a lot of trial and error, but the end results are well worth it! And just have fun with it!