We’ve gotten a lot of questions over the past few weeks about how we work, so we thought that for this week’s blog post, we would talk about our work process, namely, how we work on our Los Angeles greeting cards.
First we start off with an idea. It can be a tiny little glimmer of an idea (freeways, hmmm…), or it can be a clear plan striking like lightning (this neon sign HAS to be our next card!). Then we discuss the idea, in the interest of full disclosure sometimes that discussion can seem more like a heated argument, but eventually it turns into a plan, what are we looking to explore, how do we want to approach it, how do we each see the end result…
From there we set out to photograph and explore. Working from the photograph, we sketch out our idea more fully, figure out our framing, decide on a size, play with it in Photoshop, work on it until it seems right to both of us.
Next, we transfer our image onto a linoleum block, we work with mounted and un-mounted linoleum depending on what the individual image calls for. For the most part, we stick with the grey linoleum, but every once in a while we’ll sketch out an idea on one of the white or pink rubber blocks.
Once the image is transferred, we’ll often go back in and finesse the image, making sure it’s exactly how we want it because once you start cutting, there’s no going back! One of our favorite steps in carving the block. It’s really fun to see the image taking shape. Sometimes we split the images up between us, and sometimes we switch off at different steps. Robin has very steady hands and does a fantastic job with tiny, finicky or intricate images.
After the block has been carved, we’ll start proofing the print, often this just means printing it on a sheet of newsprint. We do this to see if the lines are clean and to see if there are any parts of the block that still need work. Frequently we’ll print a number of proofs, going in to clean up the block in between. Often, Robin will proof the print and Rosemary will go in and methodically clean up the block, taking great pains not to let the blade slip and gouge out the design by accident.
During the proofing process, we usually print one or two on the actual paper we’re going to use just to see how well the image transfers. It’s better to learn now rather than later on when you’re trying to meet a deadline!
Sometimes we dive right in and start printing the cards on the same day as the proofing, but usually we’ll wait for the proofs to fully dry, giving us an opportunity to discuss the results so we know how we want to proceed with the actual printing or what we would do differently.
After the cards are printed and dry we photograph them, list them in the Etsy shop and do our best to promote them before we cross our fingers and hope you all like what we came up with!
We don’t have a set time frame for our projects; some can go on for weeks (or sometimes even months) while others can be ready to list within the week. Since so much of what we work on comes from the things we see and do in our everyday lives, it’s not unusual for us to be working on a longer-term project then suddenly be struck with inspiration and switch our focus. It’s always more interesting to have a few projects going at once to keep things interesting.
We hope you liked this little peek into our process, there are lots of exciting things coming up in the next few weeks, and we can’t wait to share them with you!
Hope you’re all having a very happy March, spring is just around the corner!