Monday, November 24, 2008

Portraits in the Paint Presale Ending Soon!

If you're interested in buying a copy of my book, Portraits in the Paint, the presale period has been extended to November 30th. Buy your copy for yourself or as a gift by that day to guarantee it arrives before Christmas.

I will be placing an order for the books on December 1st. The book is limited to an edition of 100, so place your orders today!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Look at the Etching Process

I headed to the print lab recently to print the etchings that I am including with copies of my book, Portraits in the Paint. Here are some photos to give you a better idea as to how it is done.

After trimming the paper, each sheet for every individual print is soaked in a large tub of water. I use a metal tweezer type tool to lift the paper out of the water without dirtying it with black, inky hands and to drip off the excess water. The paper is then placed between blotting paper to soak up some more water.

This is where the ink is applied to the plate then scraped off with small pieces of cardboard and buffed with cheesecloth. The ink is meant to sink into the lines I've carved in the plates. The excess ink is wiped off with the cheesecloth.

Here I am mixing the ink around on the table before applying it to the second plate. Wearing a smock is very important for staying clean!

Above is the etching of "The Cage." It has been inked and is ready to go through the printing press.

The paper, dripped and blotted, is now placed on the press and held in place by two magnets to prevent it from moving while the plate is placed in the proper place. Once the paper is covering the plate the magnets are removed and we're ready to crank out a print.

The inked plate, covered by the paper, is also covered by some heavy blankets to soften everything up while going through the printing press. With a few rotations of the wheel the press moves under the heavy roller to impress the inked plate onto the paper.

After throwing back the blankets and lifting the paper away from the plate you can see the finished print - a bit wet and ready to be placed under a heavy board to keep it from buckling. The press is then wiped cleaned of any ink residue and the process begins again.

And there it is, the process for each Limited Edition print that comes with my new book, Portraits in the Paint. Pre-orders are being taken until November 26th, so get your orders in today!

[Photos by Chantal Bennett]

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Poster Illustrations

The first time I drove through Brooklyn was when I was visiting from Ottawa. We arrived after dark and subsequently got lost in a neighborhood completely populated by Hasidic Jewish people. It was my first experience with the Hasidim, seeing people all dressed up in long black jackets, black pants and black hats.

I now live about three blocks north of the largest Hasidic community outside of Israel. I often venture down there and it seems like I've been transported to another time and place.

The neighborhood is always full of posters, old and peeling off the sides of buildings. New posters are stapled to the sides of construction sites or wrapped around light posts. Recently I came across a couple of fallen posters and decided to take them home to use as drawing surface. The bold, black lettering works well with ink on the thick, glossy paper. Here are the results.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Society of Illustrators: Original Art Show

Until November 26th you can catch the Original Art show at the Society of Illustrators in New York. The show is a collection of original art from children's books published in the last year.

There are some really impressive pieces in the show, with my favorite being an illustration (above) by Kadir Nelson from his new book, We Are the Ship (which he wrote and illustrated). It's just one incredible painting from his book about Negro League baseball.

I love his work, and all his books are going on my wishlist. And all his prints, and one day, an original.

Check out the show at the Society if you're in New York to see two pieces by Kadir (including one piece from another new book, Abe's Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln), work by Leo and Diane Dillon, Pat Cummings, and more.