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Napkin Art Studio + Letterpress

Friends, it was high time I brough back the the old 'soda jerk/diner guy' logo to start a new chapter for Napkin Art Studio. I'm sure you saw the updated home page. I really liked the logo and the various ways I could use it. I don't know why I changed the logo design so much over the years. I guess I like to think the name 'Napkin Art Studio' stands on its own, and no matter what the logo looked like, the name would be recognizeable. But, the mascot logo is too good to keep in the drawer, so here he is, back for business. And would you believe 2019 marks 15 Years of Napkin Art Studio?!? Damn...where did the time go???

I made a few little tweaks to the logo, rounding out some previously sharp corners and updating the bowtie a bit. But overall, it's the same smiling guy who has happily served up 'tasty print and design since 2004.' Notice the new tagline" "Always Fresh, Never Stale." I think it works well for what I'm trying to do here. I even made new stickers, too!

I've got a lot of fun, quirky projects going on for Napkin Art (more ont hat later), but one aspect I'm really excited about is finally getting to work with letterpress printing. I've been a fan of letterpress for a long time, and I'm getting my first hands-on taste. Wood blocks, metal types, ink, etc...the process is amazing, not to mention the antique presses that I have access to. Old analog technology, in my opinion, is much more fascinating than modern day digital technology. The tactile experience is half the allure for me, and the preservationist in me wants to do my part to help keep print alive.

Antique wood type.

Color overlay and lots of great texture/distress.

More color overlay experimentation.

I've always wanted to obtain the same kind of distressed printed look in my silk screen printing that I get in letterpress, without having to purposely design a distressed look, but the nature of the printing methods are different. I also exclusively work with water-based inks for screen printing, but letterpress requires oil-based inks, a lot of patience and a lot of drying time. Letterpress forces me to slow down a little and not rush things. And since this isn't a service I'm offering (yet), I have time to play and experiment. I need to do better about wearing gloves when I print, though.

I have access to a really great print lab (for both etterpress and silk screen printing), but of course, I'm on the hunt for my own press. A manual large format Vandercook press would be ideal, but I think I should start small and try to find a really good tabletop press that will allow me to print at least 12" x 18" size paper. These 'C' and 'V' test prints were printed on a large Nolan proofing press, which works like a breeze. Who knows, I may get lucky and find both for a great price!

In the meantime, I'm going to continue having fun with letterpress printing and beef up my printing skills. I would love to have a working print studio that is open to the public, sometime down the road, but need the space and equipment to do so. May take a few years and unloading my record collection (for funds and space) but I think it can be done.

I'll share more letterpress goodies soon when I have more to share. :)

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