Oxytocin Madonna – Part 1

Howdy everybody!  I just finished up the design for a new woodcut.  This is going to be another oversized block and I’m super excited about it.  There’s a lot left to do; I still have to blow the image up, transfer it onto the block and actually carve and print the thing, but in the meantime, I wanted to share some images from the design process.

I started with this drawing of the Virgen de Guadalupe which I originally created for this print.

OXYTOCIN_leeanndicicco7For the new print, instead of standing on top of the moon and being held aloft by a tiny baby angel, Lupita here is going to be riding around town on an oxytocin molecule while breastfeeding.  So the first thing I did was erase the bottom of the original drawing and re-draw it.

Two different versions of the Virgen de Guadalupe with the oxytocin molecule. I ended up going with the one on the right. (ART SECRET: Add maximum majesty lines to all artworks all the time. )

Two different versions of the Virgen de Guadalupe with the oxytocin molecule. I ended up going with the one on the right. (ART TIP: Add maximum majesty lines to all artworks all the time. )

 

Next I needed to change her hands from their usual praying position.  So I added a transparent white layer in Illustrator, printed it out…

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…and redrew the area.

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Pencil drawing.

 

 

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The inked drawing.

 

I then added a background, pieced everything together.  and here is the final design.

 

Print

I’m planning to put this on a three foot by four foot block (same dimensions as the Periodic Table print) and I am beyond excited. Stay tuned for updates as the carving/ printing progresses.

Printmaker Gift Exchange: Part 2

Hey everybody!  So this is the second part of the 2-part print exchange I participated in back in December and posted about here.    The first half was an exchange portfolio of small little postcard sized prints.  For the second half, each participating artist printed a single t-shirt that related to the image on their postcard print.  So in the end, everyone ended up with a complete portfolio of prints, and a unique, hand-printed shirt.  It was pretty awesome.

Since my little print was of the moon, it seemed only appropriate that my shirt should bear the image of the Apollo Lunar Module. Generally I like to carve wood, but lately I’ve been really into carving stamps out of super soft linoleum.  Here’s my cute little Lunar Module linoleum stamp!

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Adorable!  As soft and pink as a mouse’s tummy.  Is that an expression?  No it is not.  But it should be. *

There are two things I really love about making these lino stamps.

1. Because the linoleum is so soft, it takes almost no pressure to get a nice, crisp impression. Just ink your stamp up real nice and apply pressure with your finger tips. How easy is that? (Super easy!)

2. You don’t have to carve out all of your negative space – you just chop it off with an Exacto knife! BOOM!

Here are a couple tests I did on newsprint before stamping onto the shirt.

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And here’s the final product.

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This project combined my love of printmaking, space exploration, and half-drop patterns in a way that no other project has before.

And finally, here are some shots from the clean-up which I’ve always felt, visually speaking, was a very underrated part of the process.  I mean look at that!  So  inky.  So beautiful.

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*It has come to my attention that mouse tummies are not pink.  That may explain why this phrase is not catching on…like, at all!

Printmaker Gift Exchange: Part 1

Back in December I participated in a really cool holiday gift exchange with some of the other printers affiliated with my local printmaking club, Print and Glory.  The exchange was in two parts. The first was an exchange portfolio for which we each printed an edition of postcard-sized prints.   For the second part we each printed a single t-shirt with an image related to our postcard print.  Everyone who participated got a cool little stack of prints and a one-of-a-kind shirt.  In today’s post I will be sharing some images of my little print. I’ll also be doing a post about the t-shirt I printed a little later on.

For my postcard print, I did a two-run stone lithograph of the moon.

Before being printed in color, the image was drawn onto the stone with black lithographic crayon.

Before being printed in color, the image was drawn onto the stone with black lithographic crayon.

Etching my stone, which means brushing a combination of gum arabic and nitric acid onto the limestone block, or as I like to call it, my beautiful baby limestone sheetcake.

Etching my stone, which means brushing a combination of gum arabic and nitric acid onto the limestone, or as I like to call it, my beautiful baby limestone sheet cake.

A big pile of the two-run lithos.  "But LeeAnn" I hear you asking "why did you print so many?"  Well, dear reader, I would love to answer you, but I cannot, becuase there are only lithotine fumes where my brain used to be. * *Lithotine is solvent used in the lithographic process.** **You should not breath in lithotine.

A big pile of the (almost complete) two-run lithos. “But LeeAnn” I hear you asking “why did you print so many?” Well, dear reader, I would love to answer you, but I cannot, because there are only lithotine fumes where my brain used to be. *
*Lithotine is solvent used in the lithographic process.**
**You should not breath in lithotine.

At this point it was looking pretty good, but just needed a few finishing touches.  First I trimmed it trimmed each print down, rounded the corners, and added a little hand-coloring. IMG_6127Then, in the tradition of the great masters like Daumier, I sewed on some sequins.*** IMG_6155 IMG_6156***Daumier never sewed sequins onto his lithographs.  He just wasn’t cool enough I guess.

 

And that’s my print: a tiny, sparkly tribute to my childhood love of space, space travel, and aerospace engineering, and my adult determination to keep that love alive.

Big Printing

Hey everybody!  Back in 2013 I posted some images of a giant woodblock I carved being steamroller printed at the Taste the Arts festival in Visalia, California.  But did you know that I also have video of this glorious printmakerly occasion!  Well I do!  And I finally posted it online! Check it out!

Did you noticed that at the end I sound really pleased and surprised that it actually turned out? Well that’s because as cool as steamroller printing is, it’s much more about making a spectacle, and not really a terribly effective way to get nice crisp prints. We only got about 3 decent prints of my block that day which was just not enough to satisfy my need to edition this sucker.  So just a couple months ago I got a hold some over-sized mulberry paper and thought I would try printing this monstrosity by hand.  And it actually came out pretty well.

Jammin' away on this giant block with my tiny spoon.

Jammin’ away on this giant block with my tiny spoon.

 

 

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IMG_4012 Close-up of the final piece.

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This wouldn’t fit on my drying rack so I stuck it on my easel.

 

The whole ordeal was pretty time consuming, but not as difficult as I thought it would be.  When I first tried hand printing this thing I only had enough paper to make two impressions.  But I just ordered a couple of new rolls of over-sized paper and am hoping to start making more of these beauties in the next few weeks. Also, the realization that hand burnishing a block this large really isn’t that difficult has definitely inspired me to keep working at this scale.   I’m already planning my next giant piece.  I’ll keep you guys posted!

From my Sketchbook: Hella Science

HellaScienceFinalHey everybody!  Here’s a little piece from my sketchbook.  This is what happens when I sketch while watching the new Cosmos series with Neil deGrasse Tyson.  Have any of your guys been watching that?  It’s so good!  Also,  is it just me or do Neil deGrasse Tyson and the Illusive Man seem to have the same interior decorator? (Give yourself a big hand if you got that joke.  You’re a huge nerd!) In other news, I recently returned from the Southern Graphics Council conference, which is an annual printmaking conference.  It was amazing and super fun and, lucky me, was held for the first time ever on the West Coast.  Ha ha!  You can see pictures of the printmakerly wonderment here.   Did anyone of you guys attend SGC this year?  If so, send me links to your pictures!

The Curie for what ails ya! – Aquatint Portrait of Marie Curie

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Today’s post is an aquatint portrait of Marie Curie. 

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Marie Sklodowska-Curie, who discovered the elements radium and polonium, and coined the term “Radioactivity,” is the only person in history to ever be awarded the Nobel Prize in two different scientific disciplines. She is truly a glowing beacon of scientific achievement. And when I say “glowing,” I do not mean it figuratively. She was exposed to A LOT of radiation.

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FUN FACT: Now would be a good time to check out my shop as this and a bunch of my other prints are are now available for purchase.

P.S. Enter the coupon code Sketchbook for free shipping.  Fun times?  Fun times!

New Print: Kepler

Scientist

Another in my series of scientist screen prints.

Johannes_Kepler ScreenPrint  LeeAnnDiCicco14

New Print: Dmitri Mendeleev

Dmitiri Mendeleev: Chemist, Periodic Table creator, beard haver.

Dmitiri Mendeleev: Chemist, periodic table creator, beard haver.

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New Prints: Copernicus

Hello reader. Are your two favorite things screen printing and heliocentricity? Well, looks like it’s your lucky day.
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Test prints.

P.S. I totally had that haircut in middle school.

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