Behind the scenes: New bminus logo

I’ve always wanted to play around with linocuts and woodblock printing {wikipedia}—so I decided to carve a new logo for bminus and apply it like a stamp.  I’m going to use it for tags in the stores I sell things in, and as a scanned digital image for Etsy and our site.

Here’s a look at how I put it together (learning as I go), and a preview of the final product.

It started on paper:

I kept the text in this step simple, because I knew the physical act of carving and inking would add the “grungy” roughness I wanted to end up with.

Next I transferred the text to a piece of tracing paper. Then I flipped the tracing paper over, since a stamped images gets reversed when pressed onto a surface. I went over the text with a sharp pen to transfer the image to my blank plate, then carved out the space around the words.

The blank plate:


The carved plate:

 

Closeup:

Here’s how it turned out:

Showing up is 99% of the struggle

One of the most difficult things about writing for me is self-doubt, and the fear that what I have to say is but a slightly modified fragment of something else’s words at best; a thoroughly unoriginal, derivative, useless hunk of junk at worst. Humans have been writing for thousands of years, what can I possibly come up with that’s the least bit original?

This issue, along with a perceived lack of time, has been plaguing a current project of mine, one I’ve been “working on” since 2004. Today I figured it out: Perhaps lots of people have an idea for a project like the one I’m working on. Maybe, like me, they’ve been “working on it” for seven years and finally gave up. They succumbed to the voice in their head complaining that it’s all been done before.

It’s not the so-called originality of the idea that matters.

The only thing separating me from other people is that I’m the one who’s actually going to do it.

Behind “Bikes are Bisexual”

The idea for my newest tee design came to me right after a bike ride. It just kind of spilled out. I said the phrase out loud, chuckled, paused, pondered and laughed again.

I’m still not sure what it means, but I like that the two words share the “bi.” And if bicycles could develop sexual preferences, I like to think they would be all inclusive.

To actually construct the design, I first cut out the letters with black paper and scissors. I laid them all out on the floor, picked the good ones and swapped out the weird ones:

Next, I scanned in all the letters and played around with different layouts in Photoshop…

I wanted the final design to look transparent, so I added a bunch of white dots to the letters using Photoshop’s pointillize filter….

The black and white image above is inverted on the actual screen: the white in the photo below allows ink to pass through; the gray part is the emulsion which holds back the ink when pulled.

Here’s a closeup of a portion of the design printed on an actual tee-shirt. Notice how you can actually see the tee-shirt through the red ink. With each pull, the dots will “hit or miss” in a completely different way. Sometimes you’ll be able to see more shirt, through the letters, sometimes less. That’s what makes it unique!

And here’s the final product!

Bikes are Bisexual on {etsy}