My First Letterpress Project

One of the perks to being an apprentice at the Painted Tongue Press is being able to work on personal projects under the guidance of experienced mentors. During Sunday workshops I have started working on my first personal project, a holiday card. The process begins with planning out the project and visualizing the end product. After some brainstorming I decided I wanted to do a three color card of a snowman in a field with snowflakes falling.

Design is the next step, and this sounds like a simple step, its also very crucial. There are so many considerations in the design process that affect how your printing will go. For example if you create a design that requires very tight registration between colors, it won’t print as consistently on the Vandercook.  Once I finished the design, I had to learn how to turn my digital design into a polymer plate that can be used to print. The first thing to this is color separations of the artwork and then setting up a file to be made into a film negative. Depending on the complexity of your design, this step would be very simple or very time consuming. Now that I have my film, I can make my printing plates. At this point I am close to printing, but there are still many things I need to prepare, including cutting paper and mixing ink.

When working on your first personal project, everything can seem very intimidating. There are so many things to remember and even more things to do. But as I went through each step of the process it gradually became easier and felt more natural. I have also gained great appreciation for Kim and the other apprentices who can manage multiple projects at once, something I am sure comes with experience.

Peter Pham
Letterpress Apprentice

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