The Lab Philosophy

Artists are emerging as authors and entrepreneurs in a variety of new markets and media. Methods such as print-on-demand book, the wave of self-publication, prototyping, high-end output devices and laser-cutters intersect with new creative directions. Bodyware imagery, instructional and socially inspired projects, web-based critique, archives, games, animation, and literary works are a few of the directions being taken to create content and express ideas.



Tuesday, September 29


Our guest today was Jaime Zollars who talked to the class about online marketing, DIY festivals/events, resources for making prints, shirts and card and much, much more. Jaime brought in a collection of shirts, wrapping paper, cards, and prints. She shared her enormous wealth of information and offered to answer more questions if you contact her. Her hand-outs are keepers. If you missed this class, pls see me to photocopy my set of her hand-outs. And to read more about Jaime, go to this interview in Communication Arts.

I also did a quick demo on the button-maker. An 8.5x11" Adobe Illustrator file is available with a copy line for your name and copyright info on it. It's easy to do. You can use the 1" button-maker in the IL Office. Check with friends and classmates to see if someone wants to split the cost of supplies and save money. You can buy supplies at Button Biz or American Button Machines.

HOMEWORK : Everyone should have had their negatives done for this week but most of you didn't. IMPORTANT : Please get you negatives done and drop them off to Erin in the IL Office BEFORE Friday Oct 2. Kyle needs to burn the polymer plates ahead of time so we can all print next Tuesday. Bring to class next week, materials to test out your letterpress demo on. Keep working on your project!! Also bring in work-in-progress for the afternoon review.


Elena Johnston did a presentation of her work since graduating including her Paper Kingdom book. Her collection of zines and indy published books was a great example of what's happening in the field today. Thanks to Elena for giving so much of her time to the discussion on indy publishing and for her insightful reviews of each students projects!

HOMEWORK : Create digital file 300dpi as a PDF or in Illustrator. MAKE SURE ALL LINE WORK IS 100% black! Email file to Alpha Graphics at production[at] asking for a negative of the art. IMPORTANT: ask for RREU [right reading emulsion up]. Gang your 4x5 with another students to save money! The minimum size negative you can order is 8.5x11”. You’ll need to pay with credit card or cash when you pick it up. See their site for more info

Wednesday, September 16


Assessment of the student's digital skills revealed some students needed an InDesign workshop. Students had alot of really great questions during the workshop and all were encouraged to ask questions in the future. 

The analysis of the selected entrepreneur was turned in. After the workshop, I asked everyone to lay their preliminary image ideas out for student and  faculty feedback. Everyone had to describe their project succinctly [and were reminded this practice will help everyone craft their verbal presentation as time goes on].

Feedback was really great from everyone, lots of perceptive suggestions and thoughtful criticism. We were engaged in the discussion enough to miss going to xpedx paper company to get paper samples. All students are urged to visit their showroom to get paper ideas and pick up samples. Check out for their location and hours.

I talked about Gocco [the Japanese craft print system verging on distinction] and how I adapt the printing aspect of it to get better results. Here are samples of Gocco printing on several blank journals and a onesy.

This is the B&W drawing I started with. Per instructions, it needs to be dome with a carbon based ink or a toner based copy [which has adequate carbon in it]. Note the detail in linework and compare it to the samples. Fine line doesn't render well [tends to fill in] but the result on the samples is nonetheless pleasing. Smooth surfaces give the best detail, printing on knits will show the texture of the cloth. Consider this when creating your drawing.

This is a screenprint frame made of chipboard and tape. This one is set up for printing on a small Muji blank journal [see the middle journal in the sample pic above]. I've removed the acetate cover normally on the screen and have taped the screen in a position that situates the image where I want it on the journal cover. I will use a piece of chip board cut to the width of the screen. Ink is put on the top of the screen and each print is pulled until the coverage is good. 

NOTE: The ink dries fast so you have to work fast to keep the image clean. Have a clean space nearby to place your multiples. Working with a partner can speed up the process. Standard Gocco inks can be blended to make new colors. Mix enough for your project and save it in a small Tupperware-type container.

HOMEWORK : For the in-class Gocco demo - revamp your images based on the feedback; bring in a B&W 4x5 image on paper; bring in materials to print on. Attend the Exhibiting your Work Workshop, Wednesday Sept 16th, 5-6pm in the Career Development Center, Gateway, 2nd flr. Review guest artist sites and the paperkingdom blog. Bring all work-in-progress to class. Keep working on your project.

Wednesday, September 9


Assessment sheets were filled out and used to make formal project proposals. The proposals were turned in this week, after which we took a field trip to Squidfire to talk with entrepreneurs Kevin Sherry and Jean-Baptiste Regnard, co-owners of the firm. After an informal interview and demo, each student was allowed to pull a one color screen onto an article of clothing they brought, learning how much labor goes into making fine handscreened shirts. Thanks Kevin and Jean for hosting us in their Union Street facility!

Lunch break at Dizzy Izzy's was loads of fun as we filled the entire 2nd floor.

On returning to MICA, we watched Mark Murphy's dvd Scribble:08, a set of interviews with California illustrators who are breaking ground in new lines of expression and new places they see their work appearing. It features Joe Sorren, Martha Rich, Jeff Soto, Camille Rose Gracia, The Broken Wrist Project, Tim Biskup and the Clayton Brothers

HOMEWORK: Bring in an image related to your project [B&W, 4x5 max]. It can be a preliminary image of something pretty well worked out. Keep working on your project. And research on of the following entrepreneurs/collectives, then write a 2 page analysis concerning one of more of them. You can cover one or use several to make a comparison paper. Please use the following links as a starting point for your research:

Mitch Nash  Jessie Hartland  Mike Mills

Little Paper Planes  Berkley Illustration  1973

Paul Budnitz / KidRobot  INK Illustration  Tara McPherson

SPECIAL NOTE: Check out the BRANDS chapter on pg 50 in Lupton's Design It Yourself for tips on how to be thinking about your project identity.