Around Here: September 2021
Half Circles That Make a Whole

Hooray! #PrintInktober Starts Tomorrow!

I'm so excited!  Just one more day until #PrintInktober -- the annual daily challenge to get your stamps out of storage and into play -- begins!  As a reminder, the challenge is free and open to everyone.  If you want a bit of extra direction and some helpful instruction, join me for the #PrintInktober class.  It's priced at $45 -- way below most of my other classes.  It's a steal!  :)

Speaking of theft, I stole some tips from the #PrintInktober online classroom to share with you today.  These are a few ways that you can plan ahead for the challenge to be successful:

Pick a Theme or Focus.

The general idea of using stamps is simply too big.  I encourage you to narrow it down.  You may assume that it's harder to do a challenge when you narrow the parameters.  In actuality, it's easier.  The slowest part of the creative process is the thinking part.  If you eliminate the thinking (or at least tighten it up) then you will move a lot faster and get a lot more done.

How do you narrow it down and pick a theme or focus?  Answer this one question: what's your reason for participating in this challenge? 

  • Is there something you want to get better at?  A skill you want to grow?
  • Do you want to learn and practice new skills? 
  • Is there a project you want to make collage paper for? 
  • Are you simply looking to connect with other people?
  • Do you have supplies you haven't ever used and you want to force yourself to use them?
  • Are you interested in exploring something new - printing on a new surface or with a new medium?
  • Is there a technique you are dying to perfect?

Whatever your impetus for joining, that's where your focus should be. 

  • In 2018, I was all over the place and it was a very disjointed experience. I still had fun, but I'm not sure that I grew from the experience.  It took me hours every single day and I don't even know where half of those prints are. 
  • In 2019, I decided to focus on printing on fabric.  I learned a lot that year.  And I have a huge stash of beautiful hand printed fabric that I've slowly been working my way through!
  • In 2020, I decided to use a single set of stamps for all of my prints.  Even though I quit part way through, I was really delighted with the work that I created and that narrow focus has actually informed a lot of other work I've done since then.
  • This year - 2021 - I'm focusing on creating papers to make Christmas cards.  Simple and straightforward.

Create a Kit.

Now that you have a general idea of what you're doing, it's time to put together a kit that you can easily grab every day.  You don't need a fancy container.  A shoe box or an old Tupperware container -- whatever you have on hand -- is the perfect start.  But what to put in that container?

  • Surfaces.  What will you print onto?  Fabric?  Paper?  Wood?  Whatever it is, throw it in there.
  • Ink.  You may own 150 ink pads or 75 tubes of block printing ink, but you probably don't need to use them all.  Pick a palette and throw it in the container.
  • Stamps.  Again, you don't need to throw your whole collection into the container. But are there a few go-to stamps or blocks that you tend to use a lot?  Or maybe some new stamps that you'd like to explore more fully?  I suggest choosing stamps on a weekly basis.
  • Supporting Materials. These are the things that make your print life easier -- baby wipes, a brayer, palette paper, tape, a baren, post-its...whatever is on your personal supply list. 

This kit does not limit you.  You can always grab additional materials.  Rather, it helps you to get started every day by eliminating the need to go looking for your supplies.  Personally, I'm planning to do a quick (10-15 minute) kit clean up and changeover every Friday. There are 5 Fridays in October and I think this will keep me in a productive and creative space for the whole month.

Establish Some Ground Rules.

This step is another way to simplify the challenge and eliminate thinking. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Will you create artwork every day?
  • Will you post your artwork every day?
  • If you miss a day will you try to "make it up" or simply move on?
  • How long will you spend on this project every day?
  • What time of day will you work on this project?

There are no "right" answers.  Only the ones that work for you!

Once you've established your theme and your ground rules and gathered your kit, you will be ready to rock-and-roll.  Let me know if you have any questions!

Thanks for stopping by!