*CAUTION – enter at own risk*

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After a lot of fobbling, I managed to get my head together (quite well in fact!) and scrounge together my character designs.

After I had done that I returned to the brief and read it all over again, now with a different mind-set and new objectives for the next stage of my project. I realised that it was now time to focus on the ‘Reproduction’ aspect of my project. As I mentioned before we were required to choose either working with Amelia on her shadow puppet show, work with Tom with animation, or use print to reproduce your work, and I chose print.

So now it was up to me to have a little think about the forms of printing that are available to me, which would suit my project, and which is more appropriate for my project and the time that I have left. Instinctively I wanted to use screen printing, this was due to me being able to use colour quite efficiently which would obviously benefit me (and Norman) greatly as colour has been quite important to me so far. When I went for a little print induction with Chris, it then became very apparent that I wasn’t the only one wishing to use screen printing for the project, and he commented on how impossible it just might become (small studios + lack of screens = !!!!!!!) With not long left for the project I became frightened and worried and found myself eating a lot more Oreo biscuits than when I’m usually stressed.

I sat with Chris and I described to him how I envisioned my project: very clean and crisp drawings lifted from my story, strong and precise colour but also working closely with negative space. What other print techniques can I use that can give me these effects? Bless that poor mans’ head, he sat with me and reeled off endless amounts of advice and wouldn’t send me packing until he had helped me as much as he could. He mentioned a few printing techniques to me that I could use, however they were all very long-winded and wouldn’t get me the final outcome I was hoping for. But that is a something we have to expect in the big wide world of illustration, isn’t it? He sent me on my way up to the product design department (..spooky unfamiliar grounds) where I met MIKE, to enquire about Laser Cutting.

He was a grand old chap. I flapped at him and told him all my troubles and that I would maybe like to use laser cutting as my reproduction process. He took me to the machine and talked me through the process, it all seemed very exciting at the time, but once we had an example printed I realised this again was not the technique for my project.

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Here’s the example we made. He showed me all the different settings: ‘Mike2’ is a demonstration showing the difference of the pressure used the more pressure of the laser then the darker the lines come out. As you can also see with the more pressure it creates a sort of burr effect there is a spillage of heat, so this obviously wouldn’t give me the clean and crisp drawings I was hoping for. Also to point out the obvious, the lines are brown and not black, which has an overall effect on my final prints… I would prefer black lines.

So after figuring out that like screen printing, laser cutting wasn’t for me, I turned to another technique Chris suggested to me. Drypoint. I have done drypoint before on my foundation course, and I remember really enjoying it, however I also recall the long process it requires to make the plates and also print from them. But at this time it was my only choice left.

Drypoint is one of the intaglio print-making techniques, where you etch an image into a ‘plate’ using a sharp-pointed object.

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Here is a drypoint print by John Degnan.

Seeing as my work had to be reproduced, I decided to just go straight for drypoint as I really needed to get on. It wasn’t long until I realised how little time I had left for this project, as I spent the most part worrying and searching for the right technique. I went back to my story and began to plan how many and which images and scenes I was going to have to lift from my story and drypoint for the final piece. I soon realised that I did not have anywhere near enough time to lift every page of the children’s book, so after talking to Amelia, we decided it was a good idea to treat my end pieces like a ‘Pitch’. Working like this made it much more relaxed for me as I didn’t feel pressured to get all of it done, which could have led to mistakes due to rushing and so on. So the way I decided to look at my project was to lift out 4 of the main images from my story. I chose:

1: The description of little Norman himself holding his prediction.

2: Norman planting his predictions under the oak tree.

3: Norman hearing a knock at the door and reaching out for the handle.

4: The description of his future self.

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After sketching out the plans for my dry point’s that have been scaled to fit my sheet of plastic (which will become my plates) I can start to scratch in my designs using the appropriate tools!

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I wasn’t until I was this far in to my project that I finally thought of the name for my little boy, and obviously I chose Norman. I don’t know what it was, but it just seemed right. I also felt the need to write down some little get-to-know-me facts about him, as you can see in the image above.

Now to get etching!

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