Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Making Personalized Linocuts

I love dabbling in printmaking.  In fact, I've been considering an MFA in printmaking for quite some time.  I'm not quite ready for that, but soon.

Meanwhile, I tend to make small linocuts of hand-drawn animals or trees.  I print these onto book covers, cards, postcards, packages.  I don't create a lot of linocuts with words - letters and numbers are so small and take a lot of precision.  Letters and numbers aren't as forgiving as birds or trees.

A couple weeks ago I was asked to personalize a wedding guestbook for a customer.  I loved their idea, so readily agreed.  She had purchased a vintage covered blank book - green with gold printed title and wanted the personalization on the cover to match the gold.

First step was the design process.  What was within my skills and abilities?  I know from experience that with letters and numbers, the fewer the better.  I wouldn't be able to carve font small enough to fit their whole names and spelled out wedding date onto the cover.  She suggested initials and numerical date.  Ahhh... this I can do.

I offered three designs that I knew I could deliver on a linocut.  She chose the sweet and simple third.

I looked through the fonts on my digital imaging program, found something that closely matched the original font, and printed the personalization from my computer.

Next, I filled in the personalization with a charcoal pencil, and transferred it to the linoleum, then began cutting.

The result is the reverse of the image, which I printed in gold onto the lower corner of the book and onto the original spine (which is now a bookmark).

It was quite a successful project and I was so pleased to mail it off to the bride and groom.

When she opens her package, I hope she is pleasantly surprised to find that I also included the linocut!  Imagine a typical stamp, but instead of adhered to a little block of wood, it's adhered to a little chunk of text block.

These sorts of things are exactly what I love about being a bookbinder and artist.
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