Pattern a Day January

In January I created daily patterns using stamps that I carved during the month. This was the first time I made stamps, and I was surprised and pleased by how easy it was.

Starting out the month I used the two block printing inks that I had on hand: black and hot pink. They were well over a year old (and truthfully probably closer to two or three years old!), so their consistency was sticky. Watering them down helped, and I worked with them for several days. Despite the limitations of using only two colors of imperfect ink, I achieved some interesting results by layering and working with different consistencies of ink.

Day 4 Pattern a Day January

Day 8 Pattern a Day January

Day 11 Pattern a Day January

After several days, I was itching to try some other colors! I hadn’t had a chance to go to the art supply store to get actually block printing ink, so luckily I had the idea to use what I had on hand: gouache. The consistency was probably not ideal for “official” block printing, but I liked it! I had to make sure that the layer of paint I spread out was very thin, but more often than not the results were good!

Day 18 Pattern a Day January

day 22 pattern a day january

Day 17 Pattern a Day January

day 23 pattern a day january

As you can see in the images above, I explored several different techniques for printing including repeats, overlapping layers, and what I call “painting” with the block.

Creating blocks for printing and working with them throughout the month was a great introduction to the medium. I even used the stamps I created for my 2013 Sketchbook Project which I’ve already written about. Since January I haven’t done too much more with stamps, although they did make an appearance in one of my patterns in February. In the long run I’m sure it will be a great new tool to incorporate into my creative practice!

See the rest of the patterns I created in January, including sever “extras” on flickr.

Sketchbook Project 2013

For the first time I had a sketchbook project without a theme. When I signed up the themes were very generic such as “sketchbook,” “chap book,” or “travelogue”. I assumed “sketchbook” would be the most fitting, but since it was an option, I chose, “undecided” so I could decide later. Before I sent off my book, I noticed that they added several more options for themes that were more like the themes they’ve offered in the past. Some of these are “dwellings,” “creatures,” and “lists”. Of the options offered, “diagrams” felt like it would fit the most as an after-the-fact choice, but it also didn’t feel quite right. I wonder if they’ll let me keep it as undecided?

As with the Sketchbook Project Limited Edition that I completed in 24 hours, I was down to just a couple of days until the deadline before I had a chance to start my 2013 submission. As luck would have it, I decided to use block printing as my technique for January’s daily patterns, so the choice to use the same stamps in the sketchbook was an easy one! This technique was even faster than the collages I created for the Sketchbook Project LE, and over the course of 2 days, I leisurely filled my empty book with lots of color, pattern and texture.

The cover was created bit by bit as I worked with various colors on the main pages of the book. I feel lucky that the composition turned out as balanced as it did!

Sketchbook Project 2012 Cover

The inside front and back covers were embellished with paint marker since I didn’t have time to carve stamps with all the letters or words I would have needed!

Sketchbook Project 2013 Inside Front Cover

Sketchbook Project 2013 Inside Back Cover

I named the project “Block & Print” to match up with the title pattern that started with “Lines & Grids” and “Cut & Create” of my last two Sketchbook Projects.

The inside back cover shares a hint of things to come. Notice I direct people to check out anikastarmer.com. There isn’t actually anything there at the moment, but there will be! More news to come about that soon!

Most of the pages feature several colors and two or three different stamps, with printing on both sides of the spread. Often I printed the stamps quickly and then smooshed the pages together to make secondary impressions on the opposite page. Sometimes those secondary marks were pretty subtle, but they lend another layer of texture to the overall composition.

Pages 3-4

Pages 7-8

A few pages seemed “just right” after I finished up using one stamp with one color.

Pages 15-16

Pages 13-14

There was really only one spread that I felt was a little less than successful, and yet it is also one of my favorites in some ways!

Pages 11-12

I really love the way the pattern on the right of the stacked triangles turned out, and the bolder yellow print on the left would have been a good fit as its pair, but oh how I wish I hadn’t smooshed the wet yellow paint onto the triangles. The yellow smudges are a visual distraction that muddies up the bright pattern, and it would have been stronger without that extra element. That said, I recognize that this entire sketchbook really was a collection of printed sketches and experiments, and although in my mind this isn’t exactly “perfect” I can still appreciate it for the overall experience!

Take a look at the video of the entire book, with a little explanation of my process and some of the stamps!

Art House Co-op is restructuring the way they are going to do the next installations of the Sketchbook Project, focusing on specific tours with a certain number of spots available for each. I’m not sure if I will participate again or not. Maybe if a tour title “speaks to me” or something.

Have you participated in this or other Sketchbook Projects? Do you think you’ll participate in the future? If you have your 2013 book online, I would love for you to share a link in the comments!

Change in Plans for Pattern a Day January

In my last post I wrote that I planned to create my January patterns using watercolor backgrounds with paint marker details. For some reason, once it got down to it, I wasn’t really feeling the watercolor. Maybe I just needed more of a change from using water based media last month. When I saw that Tricia from Daring Hue was doing hand carved stamps this month, it seemed like too much of a coincidence since it’s one of the ideas I’d initially considered for January.

When I saw Tricia’s first January pattern, I mentioned that I’d been thinking about doing block prints too, and Tricia encouraged me, so I dug out the block printing supplies I bought a while ago. I only have one block and 2 colors of ink, but I made the most of what I had to get me started.

I cut a 2×2 inch piece off the block and cut that into 3 triangles, then carved some detail lines on the two smaller triangles.

carving a block for printing/stamping

pink ink on black palette

I used these to create my first 2 patterns for January today.

Day 1 Pattern a Day January

Day 2 Pattern a Day January

I had to play catch up today because Otto gave me a scare on the 1st, and I spent the evening at the emergency vet instead of at home making patterns. I’m happy to say that he is doing very well now. His back was out which was causing him a lot of pain. He got some pain meds from the vet, and after a visit to the chiropractor today, he should be good as new. Phew!

Otto is on the mend.