Making Christmas Cards

Hi pals, This update is going to take you behind the scenes at Paper Trails Design Co! There's so much that goes into making each card, and I hope you find it as interesting as I do!

Step One: Design

I start off by coming up with manymany (mostly terrible) ideas and designs that I sketch out in my notebook, or go through random sketches I've done in the past to see if there's anything good there. Once I have a solid base, I go through it all and narrow down the ones I have a 'good feeling' about. Not a lot of science here!

A lot of the cards I've created have been design patterns in a shape. I create a template of the shape, and this is when my good friend tracing paper comes out! I use tracing paper on top of the templates so I can freely create different designs without having to redraw the initial shape.

Now comes the tricky part! When screenprinting cards, only one colour can be printed at a time. So I have to plan out the designs for each colour ahead of time, and I use tracing paper to separate the design into two (or more) colours.

Once the design seems to be ready to go, I usually scan my traced designs into photoshop to clean it up and ensure there aren't any holes in my colouring! Also, I should mention that the design needs to be black in this stage- the colour comes later, with the paint!

Step 2: Prep the Screen

The next step is one I complete at Open Studio. I transfer the designs onto my screen using emulsion, a dark room, and a huge UV light machine. Once that's done, I take my screens back home and set it up to print!

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Step 3: Print!

Mixing inks can be sofun and sofrustrating at the same time. But once I've got a colour ready,I'm good to go! I use newsprint for rough drafts, to test ink, etc. Once I figure out where my card needs to be positioned, I hold it's place with tape so that each card can go in the same spot.

The cards dry pretty quickly, so the process doesn't take too long if I have to apply a layer or two of different colours.

Step 4: Package and Send!

I really look forward to the packaging part of the process! Those who know me can attest to my pretty strong love for wrapping gifts. And that's how I think of every sale- I try to make every order a pretty little package that folks will be delighted to receive in the mail.

Thanks for reading about my process! If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below, I would be happy to answer them! I did run through step 2 pretty fast (prepping my screen), but I felt it was too much info! I think I'll leave it for another blog post on a rainy day. :)

If you haven't checked out my Etsy shop yet, please do! My cards will be on sale up until the week before Christmas, but I recommend ordering by the first week of December to receive them on time!

xo and have a great rest of the week!

Pri

 

Living out a hobby

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  I'm finally back to the blog, and so much to share! I've just added this year's screenprinted christmas cards to my Etsy shop, and there will be  a post on my process of creating these cards soon!

Letterpress letters

I've been feeling fortunate lately. Every action I'm taking with my business seems to involve a huge creative and technical learning curve so that even a year into the business, everything is still feeling so new and unchartered!

There's been a LOT of learning in the past two months- I've taken a letterpress workshop at Open Studio, which was a fantastic introduction to using the Vandercook press. I recently also took 'gilding' and 'zentangles' workshops  through the Calligraphic Arts Guild of Toronto, both of which were so inspiring and fun, I'm itching to add these learnings to everything I'm working on! It's kind of wonderful that the things that inspire and excite me are also very helpful in growing my business and my level of skill.

So now that my cards are printed, I'm settling back into creative and marketing mode. There's so much that happened this summer that I have to update my portfolio...which is all good news. And speaking of good news!... I'm superexcited to announce that I'll be joining the Etsy team at the Spring 2016 One of a Kind Show in Toronto! Eeek! It's a BIGDEAL for my little business (which means for me!), and I have SO MUCH creating to do for it! I can't wait!

In the meantime, lots of things to cross off that to do list...and so it continues. With the intermittent bursts of creative energy, and thrill of being my own boss. Yay!

xo

Pri

reflecting on printmaking

Edvard Munch's The Scream, 1895 (Lithograph) Since I started on my printmaking journey almost two years ago, I've been constantly learning and appreciating the art, artists and medium.I remember being surprised to learn how prevalent it has been over hundreds of years (Picasso! Andy Warhol! Edvard Munch!).

Over this course of time, I have also been asked many, many questions about this new trail I've started on- How did I get into this/Why printmaking/What's printmaking? :) I will be talking about my printmaking journey on this blog, but if you're itching to know more about this super cool art form, you can check out Open Studio's website (I've talked more about them below).

There are a few reasons that printmaking is personally rewarding and fun.....

1. It's a source of constant inspiration and learning. I have only just scratched the surface (pun intended) with linocuts, woodcuts and screenprints- there is so much more to learn, and so many awesome ways to create an image- it's going to keep my entertained for years :) Not to mention the variety of gorgeous handmade paper I get to experiment with! A linocut/woodcut/screenprint adds a new element to the process of drawing and painting, and has it's own effect to the image (the way you carve, the amount of paint you push through the screen...etc)- it's so exciting to see!!

2. As a small business owner, it provided me a way of reproducing my work but also staying true to selling genuine handmade products. This was a big struggle of mine, when I knew I wanted to make greeting cards or art that I could sell. The idea of scanning and digitally printing the work just didn't seem to fit. I love that I can be a part of the process from beginning to end.

3. It's a wonderful community. I've been primarily involved with the awesome community at Open Studio. This amazing not for profit studio was where I first took my introductory classes in printmaking, and now I'm hooked! I use the studio occassionally, and volunteer on their board as treasurer. If you're ever in Toronto (at Richmond St. and Spadina Ave, to be exact), I highly recommend a visit to this beautiful place- they have galleries that showcase exhibitions from print artists, and a huge studio space in the 401 Richmond building. You can also peruse their print sales gallery, which has some amazing (and affordable!) artworks.

Printmaking and calligraphy is a funny art combo, but I love switching gears between carving tools and nibs. :) I'm working on getting my first linocut print up in my shop, as well as a bunch of screenprinted cards-- stay tuned!

Here's a peek into my process of creating a linocut print at home.....

 

Have a wonderful rest of the week!

xx

Priyanka