Archive | Printmaking

Experiments

Moth printed on goat parchment

Moth printed on goat parchment

I’ve had to cut back a bit on work for the past week in order to give the inflamed tendon in my left hand a rest. The process of diagnosis irritated the tendon enough that it went from being a weird sensation to a painful one. The pain mellowed out after a couple days, but I’ve been paying close attention to what actions irritate it, and adjusting accordingly.

Thankfully my left hand is not my dominant hand, so I’ve been sketching, researching, scheming, and continuing to carve at about half my normal rate. Aside from working on the project which shall remain nameless, I’ve been exploring the notion of screen printing on alternate materials. During one of the wood veneer printing sessions, I tested a piece of goatskin parchment to see how well the ink would work with it.

I bungled my first pass but flipped the piece over and managed to get a good crisp print on the 2nd try. Since the ink has dried, I’ve been handling the piece to see how well it is set in — bending, scratching, rubbing the surface — and I’m pleased with the result. Now the question is, what to do with it? In the past when I have printed my woodcuts on parchment, I’ve offered them much the same as I offer prints on paper. The purchaser chooses whether to frame them, tack them up on the wall, collect them in an album, etc. etc. etc. Paper has some limitations with regards to durability. So does parchment, but it also has different properties and potential uses. It could potentially be stretched over a frame, used in book binding, or sewn in to a larger piece of some sort. If stretched over an open frame, it could potentially be illuminated from behind — mind you, I’m not looking to start a lampshade empire, but the possibility of incorporating light into my art is an interesting one.

Now that I know I can print on parchment, I’m keen to experiment with leather as well. I have a fair amount on hand due to my past bookbinding coursework, so I’ve been pulling out my supplies and finding test pieces to print on. You can see a bit of it behind the parchment in the image above. I’ve got a few blues, greens, and reds to work with. and some white and gold screen print ink so I’m not limited to printing only black on light color surfaces.

There’s a bit more prep work to do, but I’m looking forward to an experimental printing day soon!

First Friday at Bite Studio

Woodcut in progress inspired by The VVitch

Woodcut in progress inspired by The VVitch

For those not in the know, Bite Studio is the group studio where I pull all of my prints. It is home to a wide variety of printmakers and we’re only open to the public on First Fridays from 6pm-10pm. Join us if you can! I’m not doing many shows right now in order to focus on my large project (not the piece shown above, though I am working on it as well), but I will be in attendance.

Bite Studio
2000 SE 7th Ave.
Portland, OR 97214

Can’t be there in person? Here’s what will be available framed and unframed at Bite: Signum Advenit and Summoning. Mind you, they always look better in person!

Freshly screen printed Tsathogguas on 8 x 10 wood veneer.

Freshly screen printed Tsathogguas on 8 x 10 wood veneer.

Also on Friday, I’ll be picking up the newest screenprints ahead of the party so April Patreon rewards may be shipped as promptly as possible! If you’d like to be part of April’s subscription shipment, today, March 31st, is the last chance to sign up! If you wait until April to subscribe at the Card of the Month level or above, your first physical rewards will ship in early May.

Thanks to my existing patrons, I’ve been able to add to my screen printing supplies and create the new Tsathoggua on 8 x 10 wood veneer! It, and the King in Yellow, will soon be available to all.

Norwescon

On another note, if you’re wondering what the artwork above is, it was carved during my two Art in Action demos at Norwescon. Sunday’s carving demo was done on little sleep so I probably didn’t get as far as I could have. (I worked with an abundance of caution.) On Friday, my first day of carving, I was placed next to a face painter, so my table was swarmed with kids for quite a bit. It was surprisingly not bad considering I was working with sharp knives.

Small children are actually often more respectful than adults about not grabbing artist tools. One of the girls complemented my goat depiction, told me about their herd of goats, and then asked, “Are those hares? They look more like hares than rabbits.” No idea what she wants to be when she grows up, but her observational skills can surely take her far in life. I’m seriously impressed she picked up on that detail.

Incidentally, I didn’t chose to depict the witches as hares because I knew I’d be carving this on Easter. That was just a nice coincidence. Mostly, I really liked that The VVitch incorporated the hare form of witches into the plot. Carving in my studio may be more productive, but sharing the process with folks who may otherwise never see woodcut in action. Thanks to Norwescon for the opportunity!

Where you can find me at Norwescon

Live life deliciously and come see this woodblock carved during my Art in Action times.

Live life deliciously and come see this woodblock carved during my Art in Action times.

Are you as excited about Norwescon 39 as I am? Norwescon will be held in SeaTac March 24th – 27th, and this year’s theme is “Remembering the Future.” As always, there will be plenty of programming designed to appeal to all interests and appetites, including scheduled gaming, midnight movies, dancing, and workshops. You can even learn how to make a movie with some of the creative team from Hellbender Media. There will also be four guests of honor, all distinguished in their respective fields of art, writing, science and publishing, as well as a plethora of professional guests.

As one of the professional guests, I’ll be participating in the following panels and demonstrations in addition to having a display  in the art show and unframed prints available in the print bins.

Art in Action
Table F
Friday, 9:30 AM -12:30 PM

I’ll be demonstrating my carving technique on the new woodcut seen above and will also have a small selection of magnets, cards, and small prints available. You’re welcome to stop by for as little or long as you like. Questions are welcome!

Monster Mash for Mature Mad Scientists
Cascade 12
Friday, 1:30 – 3:30 PM

In this workshop, I’ll help to facilitate the dissection and suturing together of stuffed animals to create the plushy chimeras of your dreams. There will be a $5 materials fee. Not for young children or the easily distressed.

Creativity & Disabilities
Cascade 10
Friday, 6:00 – 7:00 PM

We will discuss and share the ways in which disabilities and limitations inform our creative disciplines. I participated in this panel last year and it ended up being a great group discussion with many resources and tips shared. All are welcome and topics are likely to cover managing mental challenges as well as physical.

Handling Your Online Image As An Artist
Cascade 9
Friday, 8:00 – 9:00 PM

This workshop will explore how to create an effective online presence to better market your art, develop a fan base, and deepen your relationship with them through social media.

How Big a Fish Do You Need to Be?
Cascade 7 & 8
Saturday, 2:00 – 3:00 PM

Independent creatives will explore what it takes to make a sustainable living as an artist/writer/musician/[insert other creative path here].

Art in Action
Table D
Sunday, 10:30AM – 12:30 PM

I’ll be continuing to carve the new woodcut seen above and as on Friday, will also have a small selection of magnets, cards, and small prints available. You’re welcome to stop by for as little or long as you like. Questions are welcome!

Selling Your Art as Prints & Reproductions
Cascade 2
Sunday, 1:00 – 2:00 PM

Have a question about making or selling prints? Then this is the workshop for you. I’ll be discussing Oregon’s fine print laws, and the other panelists and I will be fielding questions about fine prints, giclee, and digital art. Includingthe advantages of DIY vs. fulfillment services, among other topics.

The Business of Art
Cascade 12
Sunday, 2:00 – 3:00 PM

This one will cover the not-so-fun but nevertheless indispensable aspects of making a living as an artist: health insurance, taxes, self-promotion, marketing, work/life balance, and more.

Aside from the above scheduled events, you’ll also be likely to find me around the art show — it’s a big show and I like to take my time exploring it. Please don’t hesitate to stop and say “hi” if you see me about!

Other News:

A book I contributed to, A Rose Veiled in Black, has begun shipping! I’ll be unveiling the artwork made for it online after my return from Norwescon.

I’ve been updating my Patreon blog regularly. If you’ve not checked it out yet, there are both public posts and special Patron’s Only posts to be found there. You can also use Patreon to subscribe for monthly art shipments starting as low as $8 a month! Subscriptions are charged and shipped on the first of every month, so if you’d like to be part of April’s shipment, you need to join before the end of March.

That’s all for now. I hope Spring is treating you well!

Announcing Patreon Art Subscriptions

Salamander cherry wood card

Salamander cherry wood card

Greetings, fellow Xylographiles!

The 17th was my birthday, and I celebrated by continuing to unpack from my Pantheacon trip, which was both incredibly fun and exhausting! I’ve also just launched something I’ve been quietly working on since last year: a Patreon page!

For those of you not already in the know, Patreon is a crowdfunding resource oriented toward ongoing financial support for independent creators. Whereas traditional crowdfunding websites aim to raise a set dollar amount in a limited timeframe, Patreon allows sponsors to make ongoing contributions to the artists of their choice. It also allows creators to blog easily, and offer both public and patrons-only posts. You can pledge as much or as little per month as you like, and receive different rewards (both digital and physical) depending on your level of sponsorship. It’s an incredible, symbiotic way for creators of all stripes to develop and maintain an ongoing relationship with their supporters, and to give back to those supporters in tangible ways. In some ways, it’s reminiscent of the old-school tradition of artistic patronage (think the Medici family) that used to be artists’ main source of income.

Stag on Cedar wood

Stag on Cedar wood

When I launched my Patreon a few short days ago, my most immediate goal was to raise enough money to purchase more screenprinting equipment. This would allow me to expand the selection of wood veneer postcards and 8 x 10 screenprints I unveiled at PantheaCon last week. At this time I’m offering four different screenprint designs and three new wood cards, and I’d love to be able to make more. I had high hopes yesterday when I launched the Patreon, but I was nevertheless floored when several new supporters helped me reach my first goal in only a few hours. The instant positive response has been hugely encouraging, and I’m already hard at work setting new goals and brainstorming more rewards for new patrons.

Speaking of which, let’s talk a little about what kinds of rewards are on offer. As with other crowdfunding sites, Patreon is based on a system of contribution and reward. Depending on the dollar amount you pledge each month, you’ll receive one or more rewards to thank you for your patronage. At the $1 level, you’ll receive my thanks. $2 will earn you access to my patrons-only Patreon feed, as well as early ordering privileges for new prints. Higher reward levels are a variety of subscription services: a wood card of the month, a monthly print from my Zodiac series, a grab-bag of surprises that may include early and experimental woodcut prints as well as other items, and more. (And given the very positive feedback I’ve gotten in under 24 hours, it’s clear that I’ll need to diversify the range of rewards even more.) How much you contribute each month is up to you, and every single pledge helps assure a steady flow of new art!

Figure VII on Bullseye Maple

Figure VII on Bullseye Maple

Before I sign off, let me take a moment to remind you that I’ll be in Seattle, Washington for Norwescon 39 next month. I hope to see many familiar faces there and make a few new friends as well. Until then, I hope February is treating you kindly.

PantheaCon 2016

Guess who learned how to screenprint?

Guess who learned how to screenprint?

Soon I’ll be boarding a plane to San Jose for PantheaCon 2016, my first event of the year, and one of the few I’m attending as I work on my big project. This annual conference of Pagans and heathens coinciding with President’s Day weekend boasts more than 200 presentations and attracts over 2000 guests every year. This year, its 22nd year running, PantheaCon’s theme will be “Change Makers,” inviting attendees to ask ourselves how we bring change into our lives and the Pagan world. (If you’re interested in learning more about the history of PantheaCon and what it’s like to attend, check out Heather Greene’s blog post about last year’s conference.

Krampus approved!

Krampus approved!

I’m happy to be returning to PantheaCon for my second year, and looking forward to reconnecting with a couple of old friends and fellow artists: Catamara Rosarium of Rosarium Blends, and Laura Tempest Zakroff of Owlkeyme Arts. I’ll also be bringing with me a sizable selection of new items. I understand that not everybody has the resources to buy an original woodcut print, and since enthusiasts of my work continue to express interest in lower-priced items, I’ve been happy to oblige with a selection of silkscreened graphic T-shirts, and now some new 8×10 screen-prints. Each of these pieces is created by hand, and like my popular assortment of wood cards they are all printed on real wood veneer.

This PantheaCon, I’ll be debuting the first of said screen-prints including the Salamander seen above at left. Additionally, I’ll be offering a variety of silkscreened graphic T-shirts featuring my art produced in collaboration with my friends at Sigh Co. Graphics. (More on my relationship with Sigh Co. in this previous blog post.) But while new work and new products are always exciting, I must admit that it’ll be hard to top the thrill—not to mention the sheer romance—of meeting Krampus in the flesh (the fur?) last year on Valentine’s Day. Here we are together at right, and as you can see he was awfully pleased with my portrait of him. At least, I think he was pleased. The glistening fangs make him a little hard to read.

A Stag screenprint is born!

A Stag screenprint is born!

Remembering how eager conference attendees were to collect badge ribbons at last year’s PantheaCon, I’ll be sure to bring along some Xylographile ribbons you can use to broadcast your love of woodcut, and identify your fellow xylographiles! Maybe if we’re feeling really ambitious we can form a marauding band of woodcut aficionados.

PantheaCon 2016 will run February 12 – 15 at the Doubletree Hotel in San Jose, California. Pre-registration has closed, but if you haven’t done so already you can still register onsite. For a more comprehensive picture of this year’s offerings, check out the PantheaCon 2016 program guide, peruse the full list of vendors, and visit PantheaCon’s Facebook group for news and updates.

Also, stay tuned for more about my upcoming trip to the 2016 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in San Pedro, an event I’ve only just added to this year’s events schedule. It should be a creepy/maddening/delightful old time!

Sigh Co. Graphics and Xylographilia shirts

Krampus shirt at Wells & Verne in Portland, OR

Krampus shirt at Wells & Verne in Portland, OR

A part of my artistic life that I haven’t discussed much so far but take a tremendous amount of pride in is my creative partnership with Portland’s own Sigh Co. Graphics. These are the talented folks who make it possible for me to offer hand-silkscreened shirts and tote bags featuring my art. If you’ve attended any of my recent sales events, it’s very likely that they were vending at a nearby table piled high with Xylographilia shirts, as well as shirts featuring their own original graphic designs. Sigh Co.’s work is inspired by the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft, horror film and literature, the occult, and other influences, and includes an eclectic range of items from clothing to glassware and beyond.

Roger D. Bones modeling a Cthulhu shirt.

Roger D. Bones modeling a Cthulhu shirt.

Sigh Co. was founded in New Orleans, Louisiana by Brian and Gwen Callahan. After eight years in business, they pulled up stakes and relocated to Portland, Oregon where they have made their home ever since. True to the artisanal spirit associated with Portland, Sigh Co. is a small, locally owned operation specializing in handmade goods that help to support self-employed artists. Of the many reasons I value my partnership with them, at the top of list is the knowledge that together we’re offering high-quality products printed in the USA. The closest attention is paid to ensure that each silkscreened design is a crisp, faithful reproduction of the original woodcut print: a testament to Sigh Co.’s pride in their craftsmanship.

TshirtsThe current collection of Xylographilia shirts features my Raven, Wyrm, and Phoenix, as well as a Shub-Niggurath work shirt with my Ram on the front pocket, and a newly redesigned Cthulhu work shirt with the addition of a Lovecraftian “Eye of Providence” that I designed especially for Sigh Co. There’s also that year-round favorite, the Krampus shirt.

We’re considering adding new designs to the inventory, so if there’s a particular woodcut you’d like to see made available as a shirt or tote bag, drop us a line! It may just turn up in the future.

The Making of Signum Advenit

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The design for “Signum Advenit” sketched onto the block.

As you may already know from my most recent post, I’m in the process of creating a new edition specifically for the Kickstarter campaign supporting the 20th annual H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival. This print is inspired by this year’s festival theme—Expedition to R’lyeh—based on the concept of Miskatonic University professors Henry Armitage and William Dyer journeying to the South Pacific in search of the enigmatic island.

Those of you acquainted with Lovecraft mythos will recognize Henry Armitage as the librarian who first appeared in The Dunwich Horror. In this short story, a frighteningly disfigured social pariah named Wilbur Whateley harbors an unearthly presence in his home. Over the years it grows and grows until it fills the entire house, killing Wilbur’s mother, grandfather, and a number of cows in the process. Desperate to rid himself of the ghastly entity, Wilbur travels to Miskatonic University to obtain a copy of the Necronomicon, seeking instructions for summoning the Great Old One Yog-Sothoth. There he encounters university librarian Dr. Henry Armitage, who refuses to lend him the book.

Likewise, geology professor William Dyer makes his first appearance in The Mountain of Madness, in which he leads a catastrophic expedition to Antarctica. Later, in The Shadow Out of Time, he accompanies an expedition to Australia’s Great Sandy Desert. (Given how horror has a way of finding him wherever he goes, one wonders whether Dyer is really the best choice of a traveling companion.)

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A detail of the flaming key/comet mid-carving.

This year’s H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival theme is based on the idea of Armitage and Dyer joining forces and mounting an expedition to Lovecraft’s famous island of R’lyeh. With documents pulled straight from the Miskatonic University library archives they’ve calculated the date of the island’s next sighting, and participants in this year’s festival have the opportunity to experience the excitement firsthand through our Kickstarter exclusives. These rewards include an expedition log book, a map of R’lyeh, a box of artifacts, and more. For just this occasion, I’ve designed an original hand-pulled woodcut print based on the sort of imagery one might find in the Miskatonic University rare book rooms. The finished piece, Signum Advenit, is an example of the type of illustration Armitage and Dyer would have used to calculate their journey to the lost city of R’lyeh.

In this woodcut, we see a seated figure with a book at her feet burning incense in an upturned human skull: an offering to those whose return she seeks. The figure, though apparently human from the waist up, has a mermaid-like tail evocative of the siren: a denizen of the deep notorious for luring unsuspecting fishermen to a watery death. (Indeed, a shipwreck can be seen vanishing into the waves behind her.) In the background we see R’lyeh depicted as a walled medieval city, a staple of the 15th-century woodcuts on which this piece is based. Above, a comet containing a key descends from the sky while a cosmic eye keeps watch. This is the sign that “the stars are right” to raise R’lyeh from the sea. Attentive observers will notice that the sky contains twenty stars, a nod to the 20th anniversary of the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival.

Another process photo.

Another process photo.

While the Kickstarter campaign has already been fully funded, it isn’t too late to get your hands on one of these limited edition commemorative prints. Contributing toward stretch goals at the Cryptic Design, VIP Yog-Sothoth, Traveler from Beyond the Stars, and All Access levels and above will entitle backers to a rewards package including an original hand-pulled print of their very own. You also have the option of adding Signum Advenit to your rewards at any level for an additional $70.

Finally, if you’re interested in a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Signum Advenit, check out this video to see its very first inking!

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Omens & Portents, and other approaching delights

“Balance” coming off the block.

If I’ve been quiet recently it’s because most of my waking hours have been absorbed by the creation of multiple new editions, and the beginning of another very exciting project I can’t discuss publicly at this time. All I can say for the moment is that I’ve signed a contract that has rendered my art time solidly booked through June 2016, which give you some idea of the scale of this new endeavor. More details will be forthcoming in time, but in the interim check out the rundown of my next upcoming events!

First, on July 17th I’m happy to be returning to Seattle, Washington’s Gargoyles Statuary for my new solo show Omens & Portents. This show will feature some of the new works mentioned above and some older favorites, too, primarily inspired by Hermetic magic and alchemy. (You can see a close-up of one of the aforementioned new prints, Balance, coming off its block at left.) An opening night reception will take place from 6 – 9 PM on July 17th, and I’ll be in attendance, so I hope you’ll all stop by to enjoy some wine, cheese, and art! Omens & Portents is a part of the U-District Art Walk, so if you’re in the Seattle area you’ll have the opportunity to join us throughout the month of July. If you can’t be there in person, then you’ll definitely want to check out Gargoyles’ online store and browse the incredible selection of statues, candle holders, birdbaths, incense burners, and other beautiful, functional pieces of art they have to offer.

“Direction” drying in the rack.

The following month I’ll be traveling to Providence, Rhode Island for my second NecronomiCon, August 20th – 23rd. This biennial celebration of all things Lovecraft is organized by the Lovecraft Arts & Sciences Council (yes, that’s a real thing, and a federally recognized 501c3 to boot), dedicated to studying Lovecraft’s influence on the modern world of art and literature. Convention-goers will enjoy films, games, art, guest panels of Lovecraftian luminaries, and much more, and it’s not too late to buy tickets, either! Guest passes and single-day tickets can be purchased here while supplies last, but you’ll want to act quickly: the Golden and Silver Key passes have already sold out, and only a limited number of General Pilgrimage passes remain. Why wait? The stars are right!

If you’re a newcomer to NecronomiCon or the world of Lovecraft mythos, I encourage you to check out the NecronomiCon website and read up on the Lovecraft Arts & Sciences Council. In addition to sponsoring historic tours, art exhibits, film screenings, and other Lovecraft-oriented events, they’ve also recently opened a brick-and-mortar storefront in Providence: your one-stop shop for all manner of Lovecraftian curiosities. Check out the pictures here!

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A shot of the interior of the new store. Photo from the NecronomiCon Providence Facebook album.

Then in September, a couple of my prints will be in Port Townsend, Washington for The Printmaker’s Hand III. This juried show is especially unique because it consists entirely of hand-pulled woodcut prints, so those of you interested in this somewhat arcane art will have plenty to feast your eyes on. The Printmaker’s Hand III runs September 4th – 27th at Northwind Arts Center. For more information, visit their homepage here. I’m not yet certain whether I will be in attendance at the opening reception, but I hope to be able to make the journey.

Also in September, I’ll be heading to Seattle again for the seventh annual Esoteric Book Conference. This multi-disciplined conference brings together artists, authors, bookmakers, publishers, and scholars of esotericism for a weekend of presentations, book-signings, and performance. This year’s lineup will include presentations by Jeff Lavoie, Emily Pothast, Amy Hale, Stephanie Spoto, and others; the work of artists including Valerie Herron, Ezra Sandzer-Bell, Travis Lawrence, Raven Ebner, and Troy Chambers; and a panel of six hosts that includes yours truly. More information including a complete lineup, location and lodging info, and a list of this year’s book fair vendors can be found at the EBC website.

Lastly, if you’d like to take home some Lovecraft treasures of your very own, you should definitely back the Trip to R’lyeh Kickstarter helping to finance the 20th annual H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival. Supporters will receive rewards ranging in value from $1 to $5000+ dollars, and those who contribute at the Cryptic Design, VIP Yog-Sothoth, Traveler from Beyond the Stars, All Access, and above levels will receive an original hand-pulled limited edition woodcut print made by me expressly for this Kickstarter. What are you waiting for? Get yours before they’re gone!

That’s all for now. Until next time, I leave you with this video of Direction being inked and proofed.

CthulhuCon San Pedro wrap-up & Tsathoggua exclusive pre-order

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The site of the 2015 San Pedro CthulhuCon: the historic Warner Grande Theater. Photo courtesy Todd Chicoine

What can I say about CthulhuCon San Pedro? It was a different climate from the Portland conference by far, but no less fun, and with no shortage of Lovecraftian delights in which to partake. The attractions included (but were not limited to) short film screenings, burlesque, gaming demos, pub trivia, live author readings, and live radio theatre. Plenty of entertainment to really put the wgah’nagl in your fhtagn!

San Pedro luminaries included Leslie S. Klinger, world-renowned scholar of the Victorian literary figures Sherlock Holmes and Dracula, and New York Times-bestselling editor of The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, The New Annotated Dracula, The New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft, and Annotated Sandman. For more information about his books and upcoming appearances, check out his blog! Also present was director Richard Stanley (Hardware, Fields of the Nephilim, Dust Devil) and Cody Goodfellow: novelist, short fiction author, and editor in chief of Perilous Press, a micropublisher of cosmic horror. For an unabridged list of  HPLFF San Pedro guests, visit this page.

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Mike Dubisch’s Tsathoggua changing a tire. Photo courtesy Todd Chicoine

And luckily for us, the entire conference was chronicled by photographer Todd Chicoine, whose photos you see here, with his kind permission. I highly recommend you check out his webpage here.

Once again I had the pleasure of competing in the Pickman’s Apprentice Live Drawing Competition, with a brand new prompt and a talented fellow artist and seasoned veteran of the Lovecraft scene. Our task? To complete an original artwork of Tsathoggua changing a tire. (A rather odd activity for such a lazy Mythos character.) I’m pleased to say that we both reacted to the subject with a moment of “What does a car look like?

This time my competitor was illustrator Mike Dubisch. In addition to creating Star Wars and Dungeons & Dragons toys, designing DVD covers for WWF, and animating characters for MTV, Mike has published the Lovecraftian graphic novel Weirdling, and has a number of works on permanent display at New York’s Museum of Cartoon and Comic Art. ” Check out his magnificent interpretation of the prompt at right.

Photo courtesy Todd Chicoine Toddcphoto.wix.com/toddchicoinephoto

Inking “Worst AAAA Service Ever!” Photo courtesy Todd Chicoine

My competition piece proved a bit troublesome in the making. Though I love working in wood due it its unique qualities, sometimes particular pieces are problematic. The wood may be too soft, or the grain too wide to yield a solid black print. In this case, the block was prone to chipping, perhaps due to uneven gluing between the layers of the plywood. I quickly learned to be extremely cautious with my larger cuts in order to not lose large pieces of the work! Fortunately the block inked and printed well. Given the subject matter, it has been dubbbed, “Worst AAAA Service Ever!” (You are of course familiar with the quadruple A company: Anomalous Arcane Automobile A———- and their famous slogan, “Do not speak the forbidden name, simply scream AAAA for service.”)

Worst AAAA Service Ever! woodblock and print

Worst AAAA Service Ever! woodblock and print

Sadly the print pulled during the competition did not survive the trip home. Fortunately the woodblock did, and since there have been requests, for the first time ever I’m offering a Pickman’s Apprentice edition. In the spirit of the 90-minute art challenge, I will not be making any alterations to the block before printing. I’ll be accepting orders through June 25th 2015 and then printing only as many “Worst AAAA Service Ever!” as have been ordered. Each print will be signed, numbered, and shipped as soon as they are dry (approximately June 20th). Block size is 9 x 12″, paper will be 11 x 14″ cotton rag in my preferred cream color. Shipping via First Class Domestic or International Air Mail. Shipping is included in the price; simply chose the appropriate option below.

Pre-order Worst AAAA Service Ever!


Oh, and I should probably mention, I was declared the winner of Pickman’s Apprentice!

Last but not least, the good folks from Everyone Question covered the the festival with excellent photos and interviews. You can find my own interview here, in which I discuss woodcut, nightmares, and why I enjoy H.P. Lovecraft.

There will be more to come soon, including a solo show at Gargoyles Statuary in July, the Esoteric Book Conference, NecronomiCon Providence, and the 20th Anniversary H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland, Oregon.

Supplication & San Pedro

Supplication

Supplication

Last weekend at PDX CthulhuCon I debuted my new print Supplication. This print—the first installment in a new series inspired by the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft and the medieval tradition of manuscript illumination—depicts a supplicant making a ritual sacrifice to Shub-Niggurath, Lovecraft’s “black goat of the woods with a thousand young.” The central figures are enclosed by a thick, detailed border of uncannily tentacle-like flora. This first edition of thirteen signed and numbered original woodcut prints is available on Etsy. Additionally, those of you attending HPLFF San Pedro this weekend will have the opportunity to purchase your own Supplication onsite from yours truly! The festivities began yesterday at the Warner Grand Theatre, but you still have today and tomorrow to get in on the fun.

Supplication woodblock  just before inking

Supplication woodblock just before inking

It is possible that the image of the Baphomet goat was Lovecraft’s inspiration for Shub-Niggurath, who first appeared in the short story “The Last Test” (1928). While she is never described, leaving ample room for varied artistic representation, she is frequently called upon in incantations and rites like the one illustrated here. Her influence has also crept into pop culture, leading to references in horror fiction including Stephen King’s short story “Crouch End.”

If you’re interested in a behind-the-scenes look at the woodcut printmaking process, then take a gander at this short video of my very first proofing of Supplication. Here you can watch me apply the first application of ink to the newly carved woodblock, thoroughly coating it in preparation for printing. Then, in this video, I drop a fresh piece of cotton rag paper on the freshly inked block and pull it through the etching press, leaving an inky impression behind. Typical of first proofs, the resulting print is a little hazy. The pigment becomes darker and bolder with each application of ink, giving us clearer, bolder prints later in the session.

That’s all for now, folks! I hope to see some of you in San Pedro this weekend. Until next time, may the Great Old Ones smile upon you.