Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Artists' Illustrated Book

I want you all to know that I nearly lost a thumb making this little book.

You know what's the weirdest feeling? Showering with a bandaid on your finger. Am I right?

But I digress...

this quarter one of my electives is Printmaking,

and we've had the opportunity to use some of the letter presses. At first, I was really nervous (mostly because I have a tendency in any given situation to be a klutz, hence the maimed thumb), but then warmed up to the studio. Actually, there's something really calming about setting and printing type the traditional way.

Our first project was to pitch an idea for an artists' book. Without getting too emo, I proposed exploring some of the symbolism and memories from growing up with a single (and wonderful) mother. My illustrations were based around the giant oak tree that grew in the very center of my backyard growing up.

I also wanted to explore using translucent vellum papers to convey a layering effect, mimicking the layering of emotions and the lack of "black and white" in life situations and our relationship with our childhoods.

The drawings are all done in ink (no pencil underlayer) and acrylic paint, then scanned in. The type was hand-set in the letterpress, and the stitching, binding, and covers were all handmade by me.

My professor encouraged me to submit to the Artists' Book Symposium we're having at SCAD, and so today I did just that. Here's to hoping my work will be chosen for exhibition :)

{ art & photos (c) erin mcmanness 2012 - if you repin/repost, please link back! }


  1. Wow! This looks amazing...artist's books are some of my favorite creations out there. I've always loved how vellum looks with printing on it. Well done! Good luck with the submission!

  2. The vellum was such a cool idea, and it came out lovely!

  3. Erin, yours book look so beautiful and professional, I would love to have a better look inside and see all of those tree drawings you made. hope your work will be chosen for exhibition.

    traditional printmaking is fun but it is also dangerous - and same like you i am really clumsy person and almost had an accident during workshop (although i was closer to burning myself with heatpress)

  4. Holy cow! This is gorgeous! I've never done any traditional printmaking, but I'm working with a lot of vellum now for my interior design classes. I dig it.

    Just out of curiosity, how long did this take you from start to finish? I'm in the middle of my drafting final right now, and I've clocked almost 20 hours... and have much less to show for it.

  5. This is soooo nice. I am so jealous of anyone who gets the opportunity to letterpress...I want to so bad. I hand print from a collection of large (miscellaneous) letters I've collected over the years, but it just isn't the same.


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