After all the sketches were done, I waited to have a baby. My hands were getting so swollen at the end of the pregnancy, that it was hard to hold a pencil to sketch, let alone try to do fine detail engraving.
We also moved into a new house right before the baby was born, and I took a month off, so we could pack and unpack our things before the baby came because I knew I wouldn't have time for it after.
As soon as I got a chance to hold an engraver in my hand, I dug back into it. Three kids and illustrating is tricky business, and I did the best I could to balance both sides of the coin. The whole process of engraving all the color layers and finishing them on the computer took from April to end of June.
If you have done printmaking before, then the process of carving a plate and printing is pretty familiar to you. If you haven't here is a brief synopsis:
I use sharp engraving tools and a thin plastic called HIPS (high impact polystyrene) to carve the images into. Once the image is carved, I roll it up with ink and print it on a piece of paper on my printing press. While the ink is drying, I took the same printing plate, and carved it some more. I then print the image a second time, on a clean sheet of paper, and then I repeat the process one more time, to get 3 variations of the same image.
See the image on the left. The printing plate is on the bottom and the three printed layers on the top.
I made a video, that shows the process more in depth: image transfer on the plate, engraving and printing process.
I hope you enjoyed that tour into my studio process. I'll add one more process post after this, showing the final steps of editing the engravings on the computer into the final illustrations.
You can see the previous posts related to this one at: