in progress – Masks – Color Thoughts, etc.

fox - sketch - 1st color
Fox mask - 1st color sketch in progress

I’ve been working on a series of paper masks for the last week, and yesterday I finished up sketching the four animals, exploring ink and paper color combinations and burned 5 of the 8 screens for printing. You can see some in-progress sketches and color combinations after the jump as well as a few notes on process, for anyone who’s interested. There are even more images in the related flickr set here. I have almost all of today set aside for printing this (and some new art-o-mat Hankie Pankie boxes – much needed, I’ve had the hankies printed for months!), can’t wait to get my paws dirty!

This time around I’m working with my existing paper stash, using some great 12″ x 12″ Carnival Vellum cover stock in bright colors, so even though I’m only printing 2 colors, I’ll have an additional color in the mix to think about. After working through my color thoughts using tracing paper, pencil sketching and a highlighter to block out large areas of my 2nd color (working at 1/2 size), I scanned in the sketches, cleaned them up in photoshop and created vector layers in Illustrator.

fox - sketch - 2nd color
Fox mask sketch - adding 2nd color lines to sketch on a 2nd layer of tracing paper
bird - sketch - 2nd color
Bird mask sketch - both color negatives sketched onto tracing paper

Once the artwork is converted into vector layers, I can start playing with the color ideas I had in my mind test them out on the paper colors virtually to make sure there aren’t any big problems. You can see just a few color options I tried below.

color_options-02
Exploring color options digitally, once sketches are scanned into the computer and cleaned up in Illustrator as vector layers.
color_options-01
Some more ink / paper color explorations

A long process, but I’ve learned the hard way that skipping it can sometimes leave me with a pile of prints I’m not completely happy with. And life is too short / printing is too much work / there is too much stuff in the work already to be generating work that’s not making me all-the-way happy.

(I had to take the word perfect out of that last sentence, because that’s not my goal in printing. I like the happy accidents. Making sure that I’ve done everything I can to lose the unhappy accidents is more of the goal, here. Sometimes I still go into ink selection by the seat of my pants, but not this time around, my deadlines are too tight.

Anyway, I’m really liking how this prints are shaping up. The exposure/printing process always brings a new level of texture/realness that the computer sketches can’t fake and I’m looking forward to seeing how these evolve.

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