A little walkthrough our process, from drawing conception to finished letterpress printed product! Panda overload!
1: Draw the Pandas! Julie tends to doodle pandas all day long, but when drawing the characters for Happy Panda Jolly Pig, she likes to use the app Paper by FiftyThree on her iPad.
2: Vectorize and Clean Up: Taking the image, Chavelli traces it in Adobe Illustrator to clean up the lines and create a vector drawing.
3: Get Printing Plates Made: Once the design is finalized, we send it out to have photopolymer plates made for printing. We use Boxcar Press and their awesome services.
4: Makeready: Once we get our plates back and have the paper we want to use, Chavelli gets the press set up to print. This process can be time consuming and tedious, but on a good day may be pretty quick. Basically we want to tinker with all the possible settings, colors, ink coverage, positioning, etc until everything is just right and ready to print.
5: Start Printing: Part of the makeready process involves a lot of trial and error getting the print looking just right.
6: Keep Printing! Each color is done separately, in different runs. A two-color piece basically takes twice as long to print as a one-color piece because we run each and every piece of paper through the press a second time. Yes, that means a three-color piece takes three times as long.
7: Photograph the Finished Piece: Using some lighting (daylight or special white lamps) and a DSLR camera, we snap away to document the evidence of a new letterpress printed piece.
8: Upload and Post!