Behind the Scenes: How We Build a Print

When our work leaves the studio I always wonder about what life it's going to have. Is this card getting mailed to an old friend? Is this print going to be hung in the bathroom right next to where a woman washes her makeup off every evening? It's a fun guessing game to play. And maybe, someone somewhere wonders what life the print they see everyday had before it arrived on their doorstep. Well, it's a longer journey than what I'm showing here, but this is at least a little snippet of how one of our prints comes to be.

Each illustration begins as a pencil or pen drawing. From there it gets scanned and brought into the computer for me to make minor adjustments and get color separated. Each color gets moved into a new layer on one file. This color separated file then gets made into a plate from a wonderful company in Syracuse, New York called Boxcar Press. They send the plate back to me and mom & I get to work. When we are working in the "computer phase" I do play around with colors, but it isn't until we get everything set up on the press that the illustration really comes alive. Each color gets its own run through the press. The plate has to be registered, ink has to be mixed, and then finally the paper goes through the letterpress. This happens for each new color, and the new color is mixed and chosen based on the color that went before it. The images above show how the print slowly builds up color by color. I'm such a dork, but this whole process gets me so excited each time we do it. It never gets old, and I can't imagine it ever will. Feel free to ask questions in the comments about any part of our process!




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