Suddenly Smitten

Golden Fairy Lantern painting yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

Hi Everyone!  Early Spring I came across the Golden Fairy Lantern wildflower and was instantly smitten by it.  Photographing these little flowers took me on an unexpected creative journey.  I painted them, made block prints, and hand bound books. Along the way I learned a lot about trying new ways when things do not work out as expected.  I love to experiment and play, so I was completely in my element.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

 

The Golden Fairy Lantern is a flower that is endemic to Northern California.  These flowers are no larger than 0.5″.  I had to play with the camera settings a LOT before I could capture a few sharp photos of this beautiful little flower.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern drawing yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

 

There are little green butterflies that I also see on the trail, the same kind that flutter around in our garden as well.  They are so sweet, I love watching them.  After coming home, I drew this picture of a butterfly with two Fairy Lantern flowers and set to painting it.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern painting yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

 

Then I ran into a little problem.  I could not paint them to my satisfaction using watercolours.   There was nothing wrong with them per se, but I was looking for something different than what I got on paper.  After painting a few flowers with unsatisfactory results, it was time to change course. 

I pulled out my markers, Inktense pencils and my FW acrylic inks.  I painted little areas on this sketch with each kind first to observe the behaviour.  I really liked the markers, but unfortunately the colours bled to the back of the paper.  So, I used the the FW inks instead.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern painting yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

 

This was one of the unsuccessful paintings.  Instead of throwing it away, I cut the part out that was alright and tried a few new things on it. It was great not to have to worry about lines and shapes here, but simply play with paint.  Then I pasted it on to one of my scrap book binding covers and it became a bookmark.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern painting yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

 

The FW inks worked a lot better for the painting, but there was something still missing.  Then I realised that I was trying very hard to copy the shadows from my reference photo and making a mess in the process. 

With “Let go, Luke” from Star Wars in my head, I put the photo away and started painting following my instincts.  It worked.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern painting yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

 

Once everything dried, I used watercolour pencils to add the details and shadows to the butterfly, and the painting was done.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern drawing yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

 

However, the idea for a block carving was already stirring in my head.  I made another line drawing in my larger sketchbook.  I spent a lot of time smoothing out those curves in the drawing.  I decided not to ink the master copy in case an accidental nudge of the hand derailed the pen from the line.  I apologise for the faded photo, I draw with a light hand.

 

 

 

Handmade Everyday Journals with Fairy Lanterns Lino Print @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

You know the rest.  The block was carved.  

Since I didn’t purchase sharpening supplies early,  one of my old tools had gone dull beyond sharpening and also got notched.   I decided to recreate the edge of the tool. 

I had never done this before, so of course I mucked up a few times and had to restart from the grinding-down step.  I finally found the right angle, and it clicked.  It was a long process. 

 

 

 

Lino print on Japanese rice paper @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

During the printing process my roller bid me adieu and applied ink unevenly on the board.  Get new roller, clean block, wait till it dries, repeat printing.

I played with printing on different kinds of paper,  both heavy paper and Japanese rice paper. 

 

 

 

Handmade Everyday Journals @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

I made bullet journals with the print on the cover.   I am using the blue journal for my Japanese studies.  A few of the others have also found new homes.  The journals are available in my shop.

 

 

Printing And Bookbinding – A Perfect Pair

You can read about the carving and book binding here. 

 

 

 

 

 

As I get bored very easily when working on repetitive things, I very rarely work on multiple things with the  exact same picture.   However, I was smitten by these little flowers and I delved more and more into the world of creativity centering around them.  Each one was different enough and they tossed me a few challenges along the way.  It was fun to play along.

I hope you will also find something that piques your interest, and try something new and fun!

Until next time,
-Soma

 

I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.   They are always a source of new inspirations.  Please pay them a visit.

 

 

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Printing And Bookbinding – A Perfect Pair

Handmade Everyday Journals @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

Hello Everyone! I hope this post finds you in good health and spirits.  My email is working reliably again, which is a relief.  During the unexpected break that I had to take,  I  worked steadily on my play-list.  Today I would love to share a few tips along with a couple of prints and journals I made during the break.

 

 

Handmade Everyday Journals with Fairy Lanterns Lino Print @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

A few weeks ago, my husband got me a few wonderful carving tools so I could do detail work.  After making a quick and small sample piece to learn the tools, I started on a larger carving.

 

 

 

Lino Print Tool Reshaping @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

That was when I realised that one of my old tools had gone dull beyond sharpening and also got notched.   That’s because I didn’t purchase the sharpening supplies in time.  Instead of throwing it away, I decided to recreate the edge of the tool.  I started grinding the tip of the tool down using our large knife sharpening stone.  Once that was done, I started reshaping the tool.

I had never done this before, so of course I mucked up a few times and had to restart from the grinding-down step.  Finally I found the right angle, and it clicked.  It was a long process.  I wish I had taken a few “before” photos.  Now the tool is good as new again.

 

Lesson learned for me and a tip for you – if you get into carving, get the sharpening tools along with your carving tools, at least a strop and a good compound.  If you use the strop regularly, your tools will stay sharp for a very long time.

 

 

 

Handmade Everyday Journals with Fairy Lanterns Lino Print @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

After reshaping the tool, I got to carving.  Because lino blocks are completely grey, it is sometimes hard to see the already carved lines.  I applied a layer of ink to the surface of the lino block before drawing or transferring the design.  On the above photo, I could easily tell what the carved block looked like due to the black ink I applied to the surface beforehand.

 

Carving Pro Tip – Apply ink to the surface of the lino block before carving.  That way you can see the carved lines much easier and avoid mistakes.

 

 

 

Handmade Everyday Journals with Fairy Lanterns Northern California Wildflowers Lino Print @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

I forgot to take photos during the printing process.  I often get carried away, and only remember after I have finished printing.  With this one, I tested different kinds of paper.

 

 

 

Lino print on Japanese rice paper @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

I was also curious to see what prints would look like on Japanese rice paper.  So,  I pulled a couple of prints on that too.

 

 

Please click on the image thumbnails to see the photos –

 

 

 

While I like the crisp prints I get on the heavy paper, I fell in love with the prints on the rice paper.  The texture of the paper gives the print a beautiful organic look.  I love the way the blue looks on it.

 

 

 

 

Handmade Everyday Journals with Sailing After The Storm Lino Print @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

I also printed an old block that I had carved a while back.  I went the traditional route of black and white print for this one and could not be happier.

 

 

 

Handmade Everyday Journals @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

 

These prints made perfect covers for the Everyday Journals I started making.  I use them for note taking and light sketching.    It took a few trials before I got the binding and the look just the way I wanted it.  

Please click on the image thumbnails to see the detail photos –

 

 

Purchase Journals

 

I am smitten by the little Fairy Lantern wildflowers that dot the spring landscape here in northern California and the little fluttering butterflies that hover around them.  Now I get to see this print of the flowers every time I use my journal.

 

 

A little about the books –

 

Please click on the image thumbnails to see the photos –

 

 

 

As you know, I am really persnickety about paper.   I use high quality paper which is great for pencil, pen, and ink, as well as being very well suited for my fountain pens.

The pages have a subtle printed dot grid.  That way they are not intrusive, and I can use the journals for both drawing and writing.

Unlike other books on the market, these are NOT stapled. They are hand stitched using strong thread and have a reinforced spine for stability. 

The stitches are also not visible on the spine. They are hidden using my special method of binding.

My logo is on the back for authenticity.

 

 

Please click on the image thumbnails to see the photos –

 

 

Purchase Journals

 

I also made a set of  Sailing After The Storm Everyday Journals.  Visiting a marina and watching the sailboats always fills me with childlike happiness.  I am glad that this print is now a  journal cover too.

 

 

At 5.5″ x 7.5″,  these journals are the perfect size to carry around everywhere.   I use them for all kinds of notes such as gardening, travel, nature, or anything else. Specially with the dot grid printed pages, I can even use them for bullet journaling and calendar planning.

The journals are now available in my shopAs usual, you get the exact journals that I make for myself.   This way, I can share the joy of using traditionally-made journals filled with wonderful paper with you.  

 

A NOTE – I love writing code ( software engineer by trade ).   During the break, I added “My Account” and “Wishlist” to the shop.  You can now create an account to keep track of all of your orders and save items to your wishlist.

 

 

Handmade Everyday Journals @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

Many thanks to all of you who not only purchased journals from my shop, but also wrote back with happy words about how much you love the handmade journals.  You encouraged me to move forward and continue to create.

These are the first two journals I made, both of which are already in use by myself and my husband.  I hope you like the journals as much as I do and that you can use the carving tips I shared.  Let me know which colour and/or print is your favourite.   What would you use an Everyday Journal for?

Until next time,
-Soma

 

I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.  Please pay a visit to some of them.

 

 

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