Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Digitalizing the woodblock design

Digital?! It seems to go against the handmade goods mentality, but I'm not one to make things more difficult for myself.  So for this stage of the project, I've scanned in my sketch, and traced it in Adobe Illustrator.  This is not a necessary step so I'll provide non-digital alternatives. Digitizing allows me to:

  1. Mirror the image automatically.  Drawing in the negative is really hard (remember, you must carve the reverse of your image onto the block for it to print properly), so this is very useful.  If you don't have the programs, just turn your picture over onto a bright window or light box, then trace over onto tracing paper.  
  2. Work with type without it looking like a doodle on my 7th grade math notebook.  If you don't like your fonts, there are plenty of free ones online at sites like dafont.com.  Alternatively you can print the type out, cut it up, and glue it onto the sketch, use stencils, or hand letter.
  3. Play with how to separate the color plates, since I'll need one for each color.  Again, you could trace your drawing several times to make a bunch of "plates" to test color, or even take it to Staples and make a handful of photocopies.  
  4. Preserve your original drawing.  That way you can mess up as many times as you want.  It also tends to get messy or destroyed when transferred to the block, which I'll explain during the transfer process.

I was hesitant to put this up before it was finished, but I always found it useful and interesting to learn about the artists process. There's still plenty of work to be done, fixing the colors, the line overlaps, adding some more suction cups and maybe some bubbles or ornamentation in the background.  Here's the half finished composition:

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