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Tag Archives: Lit Kids

Heidi Heidi Heidi Ho

Just finished doing another round of Lit Kids prints featuring a different character. These came out even better than the Anne of Green Gables one. Slowly, I’m learning this screen printing stuff.

One of the characters I have coming up is Heidi from Johanna Spyri’s novel of the same name. I designed the character first, then read the book. Interesting … more religious than I anticipated, but Spryri nicely conveys the atmosphere of a quaint, rustic Swiss village and its humble inhabitants (mostly kids and old people, oddly enough). I do think I aptly captured the impish, nature loving quality of Heidi herself in my design.

The copy of Heidi I just read is a nice “Rainbow Edition” from the 1940s with illustrations by Leonard Weisgard, much admired in artist circles for his modern approach to kid’s books. This edition also has some great binding with a pine and acorn pattern. Yeah, I can’t wait to rip this thing up for printing! That’ll have to wait for a later print run, however, since the first book I’m using is a different vintage edition published by Grossett & Dunlap. Its binding looks like it’s from about 1950, but the inside pages appear to be designed 20-30 years earlier with beautiful typography and ornaments of flowers, butterflies and the like (see the bottom three photos). Those pages laid underneath my modern-looking illustration should be a neat combination.

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Turning Over a New Leaf

After a year, I think it’s time to give a sneak peek of my new venture — one that grew out of my frustrated inability to find work as an illustrator. I’m not going to dwell too much on the negative here, but lately it has been very difficult to find any freelance work at all. Last year, I put a lot of time and effort into sending out dozens of self-promotional postcards, only to find a chorus of crickets chirping in response. It was depressing as hell, but instead of throwing myself off a cliff I decided to channel that creative energy into something that’s on my terms. I’m making my own art and will try selling it on Etsy.

The photo below is the first fruit of my efforts. It’s a drawing of Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables screen printed atop facing pages from the book that bears her name. This was an, how we say, interesting experience. Many of the prints came out off-register and with blobby looking lines, but I might be deluded enough to believe those elements add to their funky handmade charm. They’ll get more professional looking in time. Anne is the first, but I have great designs ready for five more characters. The process has been an expensive learning experience, but I’m having a lot of fun with it. Each print is completely unique, and I think there are a lot of factors involved (nostalgia for printed books, new mommies wanting something special for their kids) that might possibly resonate with the Etsy crowd. Most of all, it’s a lovingly handcrafted project that totally reflects my style, not something someone else imposed on me. As far as I’m concerned, it’s already a success.

The Etsy store is not officially open yet. I want to get another character printed up so it’s not just Anne sitting there by herself. The shop ought to be going live in a few weeks.

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