Jane hancock Letterpress Calendar for 2012

My friends over at Jane hancock paper produce a fabulous Letterpress calendar each year. I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in the 2012 edition.

The call for entries was in May and I chose September as my month from the selections left since that was my Dad’s birthday month. Little did I know that by the time I finished my calendar illustration, my dad would no longer be with us. He passed away about 2 weeks after I signed on to do the calendar.

When the reminder for artwork came out in July, I was still in a haze from his passing. But I couldn’t not do it. Especially now. So I tried to force my sluggish mind and creative juices to start flowing in the midst of my grief. I did my research. I did sketches. I took breaks because I was just so tired.

And then it came to me…Forget-Me-Nots, the flowers the symbolize September, would be the perfect subject. Especially since they are typically blue, dad’s favorite color. So I worked on some sketches. The trick was, I only had one color to work with, how would I convey the texture and beauty I wanted to express? I found my solution once I had started building my files in Illustrator: intricate linework inside each petal of the flowers. I used my good ol’ Wacom tablet to create freeflowing lines that added just the extra texture and dimension I was looking for.

Here’s what the finished Illustrator file looked like:

I spec’d a dark blue for the final color, and since I hadn’t ever printed letterpress before, I was wondering how the the linework would appear on the final. My friend RJ at Jane hancock papers assured me that it would turn out very nice.

I know she is an excellent letterpress printer and she did a beautiful job not only on the fine lines of my piece, but also tying together all the beautiful and disparate styles of all the other great designers who contributed to this year’s calendar.

The final printed calendar page:

This calendar truly is a work of art! You can purchase them at Jane hancock’s Etsy store. Only 30 are available and when they are gone, they are gone!