A few more Curious George’s

George getting distracted while trying to learn to meditate...

George getting distracted while trying to learn to meditate…

I had so much fun creating the illustrations for my friend, Thom’s short story, “Curious George Learns To Meditate” in 2008.  We did a First Thursday show in Portland, Oregon together with surrealist, Nicole Linde  at the Show & Tell Gallery.

The funny thing about this show was that I planned to draw all the illustrations for the story but in the weeks prior to the show I just could not get a grip on the style or way I wanted to execute the illustrations.  I started and stopped 50 times.  I was beginning to get panicky and spent hours in my studio literally banging my head against my work bench.  Then a mere 3 days before the DUE DATE (Why?  Because that’s how I roll, folks) I decided to produce them in blockprint fashion.  Okay sounds fine right?  Well, it’s not.  It’s really labor intensive and the results could be well, awful.  Which of course, is why I did it that way!! Arrhhrggh!

Brief block print steps:

1.  Sketch design.

2.  Transfer design to block with carbon paper.

3. Re-Sketch lines on block with sharpie.

4.  Decide what kind of look – negative or positive carving?  As in leaves the lines or remove the lines?  Completely different looks.

5.  Do the carving – making no mistakes because once you carve it away it is so miserable to try to fix… and really, it’s just easier to start over, I think.

Lots of the blocks used to create illustrations for "Curious George Learns To Meditate" 2008

Lots of the blocks used to create illustrations for “Curious George Learns To Meditate” 2008

6.  Print a couple of proofs along the way to figure out if you are carving out enough or too much.  Don’t forget to clean the block of ink after each go around.

7.  Printing consists of:  lightly sanding raised portion of block; removing with toothbrush any tracings and lino poo; then getting a brayer full of ink (but no too full or the print is blotchy); laying the block face up (design is facing you) and inking the block with said brayer; putting a sheet of printing paper over inked block; taking a barren or wooden spoon and rubbing the back of the entire paper in careful circular motions; praying to lino gods; pulling print carefully up; and finally, examining your results.  Oh yes, must dry for 1 hour at least for acrylic ink – must dry forever if it’s oil ink.