Wednesday, July 31, 2013

How to make a festival poster . . .


Once upon a time, John Bittner from Scottsville came up with the idea that Scottsville should have a local art festival.  Lana Lambert said, "Hey, that sounds like a good idea!  How can I help?"  We set about coordinating the first James River Arts Council Artisan Festival and I am in charge of designing and making the posters to advertise the whole affair.  What is a printmaker to do?  Well, here's what I did:


First, we commence with the begging of the husband to sit and pose with his manly man hands.  Since we are focusing on the hand-made for this event and since Scottsville has a lot of ceramicists, I thought a pair of hands shaping a pot would work well. 


I sketched and took photographs to record how the light fell and roughed out the general focus of the poster.  It became apparent to me that even though I set boundary lines for where the poster would be my sketching was still running over the lines.  I decided to sketch the rest of the design on another sheet of paper and add the hands sketch in later.  After all was completed, I packed up my drawing and headed to my favorite local print shop.  I was going to have them copy the sketch and invert the image so it would be a mirror image.  Even though I painstakingly crafted the text within the image by hand, if I traced it as is and carved it out it would still print backwards. Alas! They were closed! My deadline is closing in!  What is a girl to do?!!


Well, it's by no means pretty but you can scan in a large piece on a normal flat bed scanner and piece it all together in photoshop.  The problem with this is that some visual distortion can occur.  But, you know the old motto ". . . make it do or do without."  

I also don't own a lightbox.  It's amazing what two stacks of books, a piece of plexi-glass, and your swing arm lamp can do.  I scanned my image in and printed the whole off in 8"x10" sections.  Then, I lined them up on my makeshift lightbox.  Remember, there's that visual distortion that occurs.  Yeah, it's a pain but that's where the extrapolation from incomplete data skills come in handy.


Once everything is taped down atop some graphite paper, get to town tracing to your linoleum!


After you've gone mad retracing, it's time to go blind carving!  Yippee!


Now, grab yourself some particle board to mount your linoleum carving to and get to cranking on that Vandercook.  I have to say that I was a bit over the whole project by the time I was done carving the block.  I had planned multiple blocks and the time just ran out for that.  I was a little crest fallen at having to pare back.  But when it printed off, my mood changed.  Wow!  I didn't expect it to look so cool!  I can't take all the credit.  Garrett Queen helped me with what we printers call "make ready" and made sure my colors didn't look horrible and my type lined up right.


 Here's a shot of the poster next to the type form that is locked up on the press.  I hand set the type and tore all the paper for the run a few nights in advance.  Even so, there is still some proofing to make sure all the type will print okay as old type tends to show wear and damage.


Once things start rolling, it's like magic to see all your beautiful posters lining up in the tray.


Soon, these will be going up around town!  Come on down to Scottsville and see what other craftsmanship can be found here in the Piedmont!

5 comments:

Janis Doucette said...

Wow! You did a great job! It's beautiful!

Pistoles Press said...

Thanks, Janis!

Nancy Lambert Collins said...

I'm so proud of you! The poster turned out great-I think it has an industrial look to it. You nailed it with the hands. That's my girl!

Pistoles Press said...

Omg, my mom likes it! :-D

Anonymous said...

When you need to trace something and a light box isnt handy, you can always tape it to a window.