Coloring a Print

The Playful Fabric Print-Along has been a boon and a learning experience for me. Today I share my work, here on my blog and also in our Facebook community page, Playful Fabric Printing.  I encourage you to join our community page to see what we have been up to! The Coupon Codes are to be found in this group and you still have time to use them!

Anyway, back to the ‘boon and learning experience’.

Above you see the background layer of the NYC MTA Subway multicolor set with a thin layer of two shades of thickened blue dye. This application of the two colors, in gradation-Light to Pale, adds visual interest to the sky in the design. It is as if the sky is depicted at dusk, at least that is how I like to think of it.

But really. Printing this background layer in this manner breaks up the background, which really colors a large portion of the design.

A greater learning experience for me, was in printing the carved rubber layer in Dark, Color #10, what appears brilliant green above. This green is a lighter value of Dark than many of the colors in the color triangle (Playful Fabric Printing, page 48). 

This fact made me think about and use color a bit differently than I normally would. I did not want to overpower the green or obliterate the carved detail of that layer. And this criteria encouraged me to print closely related values, Light with Pale, Light with Medium and so on. 

Thus far, I have printed 10 NYC MTA Subway prints, and I think I have just about figured out a methodical approach to both coloring and printing it, which is especially helpful when Speed Printing. 

In printing each one, I applied color judiciously. I began by coloring the subway itself, which was an easy choice, grey. I pulled a Pale and a Light grey from my mixed dyes. Knowing I would be overprinting the shading in the City Hall tunnel area of the print, I made the decision to print that layer one shade darker than the subway. It quickly became important to me that the MTA logo be colored blue.

And then the coloring of the word ‘love’ became a challenge. So, I worked and reworked the layers pertaining to the word and figured out how to color it to my liking. Putting words into a design is interesting and difficult. I am unsure I nailed this aspect of the design, but I cannot remove it either, so I am learning to color it to my liking. In my imagination this is graffiti, it also alludes to the 1970’s I love New York ad campaign. And I do enjoy riding the subway, so it fits.

It was great fun to combine the Printed Village NYC MTA Challenge with the Playful Fabric Print-Along. And please join our Facebook community! Folks are sharing great work in this group! Come see. 

I do hope my design wins the challenge, though, I may delete my current designs and upload better! Haha! 

Printing-Along Progress and the benefits in printing a Strike Off

I am creatively bamboozled by the Printed Village challenge at the same time as Carol Soderlund and I are hosting a Playful Fabric Print-Along. The two goals have collided. Really, I couldn’t be happier! Working in this manner is exactly how I was taught to design when I attended F.I.T.

Stylists would gather a presentation of ideas and we were asked to interpret them. Then we worked together to make the artwork stronger, with the best use of color for each motif. 

The graffiti element I spoke about in my last post? I decided to use the StencilGirl Scroll Y100rev as a graffiti like element in my NYC MTA Subway carved rubber layer. You see above, I traced out a few of the scrolls from the stencil to fill the ‘negative space’ with a graffiti like spray of scrolls. At least this is my hope.

(Check out this post about using negative space and stencils in a journal).

Drinking coffee while carving is the height of relaxation for me. So I got to work. 

This is a first printing or strike off (Playful Fabric Printing, page 29). Strike off‘s are very important to the design of multicolor sets (especially when designing in repeat). It can get confusing to think through the best use of color, without the use of this step. Strike off’s reveal and highlight the carved (all techniques really)design in the printed format. This information is an education to applying dye color and using the Playful Fabric Printing techniques.

This particular strike off revealed a several things.

1. I found a mistake in the repeat. Because I hadn’t carved another area of the design, and was able to fix the mistake.

2. I had left the uncarved area for inspection in this strike off, just to be able to ponder whether a textural element might be called for. Because of this printing, I decided against. 

3. Revealed detail possibilities, like the roof of the subway train, and the lone tree in the bend of the tracks. 

4. I had been thinking my lines were to heavy while I was carving, but this printing is pleasing and thus acceptable to me.

So I applied my fix and completed the carving.

This will be a fun print to color. I am working on this now. 🙂