What happens when Aviary Peacock + Adobe AIR + Painter Scripts + Watercolor Paper + Deckle Edges + Precoating + Rubber Stamps + Dr. Woohoo are mixed?
To my surprise, deckle edges on paper are extremely easy to create. All you need are: watercolor paper, glass of water, a sponge brush, exacto knife and a metal straight-edged ruler. I start by marking where I want to cut the paper. On my Epson, the maximum size is 13 x X-amount, so I’ll cut the paper about 1/2 – 1″ shorter on the width and my desired height of each sheet so that the deckle will still fit within the maximize width and height of the printer. Once the paper is marked, I paint a brushstroke of water over the line and let that soak in for a few seconds. I then place the metal straight-edged ruler over the pencil line and rip the paper in small sections at a time.
There are two tricks here: pull the border of the paper that is on the outside and not the main body of the paper; and adjust the amount of my index finger is under the paper in order to control the amount of deckle for each pull. For the former, if I pulled on the body of the paper and not the border, I tend to get a straight-edge rip and the paper tends to rotate enough to ruin a straight rip. For the latter, the more my index finger is under the paper, the more it will rip inward, and vice-versa for having the deckle rip outward.
I was precoating watercolor paper that I picked up at a local art store so that I could run it through my Epson R2400 printer and the inks would stay vibrant and not wash out and I discovered something wonderful during the process. When I brushed on the white matte precoat from Inkaide and then printed on top of it… the texture of the watercolor paper and my brushstrokes were still visible underneath the ink. The latter was a wonderful and unexpected side-effect – and highlighted one of the characteristics of printing with manufactured precoated substrates that I am not fond of – that missing dimension of depth. When I was in Zürich, I saw a Jackson Pollock painting from the side and the levels of paint on that canvas was just as exciting to see as it was from the front perspective – and here it was again.
So the question was – how can I incorporate this into a print? I knew I wanted to do something subtle and decided on an ornate type of pattern. I’m on the beta for Peacock – Pattern Maker that Quasimondo is working on for Aviary. Woohoo!
So I decided to generate a pattern in Peacock, then I exported and brought that PNG into Photoshop. In Photoshop, I copied the image into a new channel, loaded that as a selection, converted that selection to a new work path (in the Path Panel) and exported that path to Illustrator (AI) (File > Export > Paths to Illustrator). I then opened that file in AI, touched up the paths a bit and then emailed that file to a local stamp maker. Here’s where it gets good.
Within two days, the rubber stamp was ready. On my next print, after I applied the second precoat on the paper, I pressed the rubber stamp down on the paper and left an indented pattern. I repeated this step until all of the paper had an impression of the pattern on it. There’s easier ways to do this I’m sure, but for the first pass, I love the results.
I apply two precoats to the substrate because the first precoat tends to leave some gaps and any gaps in the precoat may lead to ink not sticking to the surface in that location. I wait between the 1st, 2nd precoat and the actual printing about 8 hours in-between for each precoat to dry thoroughly. In the image above to the right, I’m hang drying the procoated paper in the top row in order to avoid the curling up of the paper. If I didn’t, I would have a difficult time feeding it into the front slot of the printer.
This is the final result of the print with deckle edges, and a very subtle imprint of the pattern. The design is a style I like to call Organic Color Visualization and was generated from a color palette that was captured with the application In The Mod: Your Images Edition and a custom AIR application that I created that takes that color analytic data and generates a painting script that I run in Painter.
This unique print (1 of 1) is available for $750 (US dollars) here.