Valentine Cards 2015

stained

My hands are stained pink tonight – magenta pink.  Why? Because of my love for hand-made Valentine’s and my daughter’s blossoming creative process.

sketch

it all started with her asking me, “Mommy, when is Valentine?”  I told her it was next weekend – 7 sleeps away and her reply was, “I need Valentine’s!”  I asked her what she wanted to have on her Valentine cards and she said, “A horse with rainbow mane and tail, clouds, and standing on a rainbow.”  Wow.  It is like I was looking at my childhood self.  I will be honest, I was kind of hoping to hear robot, frog, car, or robotic frogs in cars.  I wasn’t expecting this!  It was a few hours later I realized she was inspired by a card she received – I was slow to put the two and two together.

Anyway, I got to thinking.  I realized I had enough printmaking supplies to outfit her entire class in Valentine cards, and so decided to go with it.  I have made quite a few Valentine’s Day cards myself in the printmaking media.  Printmaking is one of the easier ways to make hand-made but mass-produced artworks, if you ask me.  All you need are linoleum blocks, a cutting tool, a brayer, and ink.  This Speedball Deluxe Block Printing Kit makes it so easy to get started on printmaking!

more.carving

Here is the almost finished linoleum block.  I kept this block smaller, so from sketch to this point only took me about an hour.  The trick is to use a warm iron to soften the block – this makes for easier carving.

inkedThe next step is to make a test print, or an artist proof.  These AP prints are crucial for finding areas that were not cut in the desired way the first time around.

AP1

AP #1 shows a few areas to be improved upon.  Where is the eye?

Ap2Phew, looking better now (no pun intended).  After the AP, I always wash the linoleum block and pat it dry.  The leftover ink stains the block, making the correcting process that much easier. Oh, and it stains skin too, so be more mindful than I was during clean-up. However, this water-soluble ink cleans up easily in soap and water.

valentine

The finished (for now) print.  Greta and I will be collaborating even more on these prints tomorrow – I assumed she would add her own coloring to finish the rainbows.  I can’t wait to see how she makes these prints her own, and I am excited to show you my plans for the adult version.

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