Nosmo King, Q. Cassetti, 2010 (a No Smoking sign from Grassroots)Hot summer day. We were up and going to get Kitty to her job and Alex to practice with his friends. Jacob and I did a little shopping. Rob hungout and then went to the Fairgrounds in anticipation of the big week ahead in prep for GrassRoots, our little holiday here in Trumansburg. The bright yellow dance tent was erected yesterday with many of the ancillary tents and structures arriving today. The volunteers are gathering. Gimme Coffee is looking more like a clubhouse than just a coffeehouse and the buzz begins. I have threatened to do a photoshoot of all the walls of beer that will be erected by Tuesday. The Walls of Beer are an architectural feature that happen here…and are to be admired as they dwindle over the course of the weekend along with every ice cube in the county.

My stuff came for the Art Barn. I ordered two big pix (a skull and a big mouth of hell illo from my moment with the rapture) along with a portrait of Jeb Puryear that hopefully they will let me show. I sent to the ever fabulous and very impressive, Picture Salon, who never, ever disappoint!  Big is Better re my work. Big is bold and on our red walls here at the Headquarters, the black and white JUMPS. I am having ideas about physically painting these big black and whites? What do you think? Could be cool if I use a sheer acrylic so I do not need to worry about perfection with the painting….and let the big bold black lines do the work. Just a thought. Need to get a new topic to work with. Thinking of surfacing the wild Pennsylvania German book of folk medicine. Just thinking.

Got a lot done and out yesterday from the big client work to a teeshirt finalized for Wide Awake to getting our Luckystone holiday card out to the printer. I am feeling a bit proud as I think I have licked the file issues with my cheap cheap printer ( and am no  longer spending hours resaving files to have them spit back out at me. Great! Brilliant red envelopes winging their way here. Holiday will be stuffed and labelled by Labor Day so we can roll into the Fall without that extra detail hanging over us. You know what happens…come November when one should feel like doing this stuff, the big crush happens with our clients and so, the pressure is on in the world of work and other…making things not cool. Doing this stuff early creates a very smug me, but someone that is a bit more pleasant to be around in November/December.

Big trip to the store today. I have bags of chicken marinating and a mess of things for our two boys to eat (jeez louise, they can eat!). Next Tuesday and Wednesday, in addition to the tribe that is working here (Erich, Nigel, me, Mandy, Tucker, Kitty , Alex and Jacob) we will have Jacobs band and roadies here as they are recording an album. So plan on lunch for 20. No kidding. I can hear the culinary vacuum cleaner running. Whirrrrrrrr. All things that can be eaten will be sucked down—everything else, we will  need to tie down! ….But I delight in it…and the interesting brains that are attached to the masticating jaws.

I am listening to the jump up and praise tune, “The Great I AM” by Donnie McClurkin. Love it. AMEN.

Dark already!

From the Sketchbook 11/2010, Q. Cassetti, prismcolor and sharpieSent a bunch of ideas to Edible Finger Lakes for their Winter Issue. I sent them a bee, a home sweet home and a valentine for them to pick from. If there isnt anything that will float their boat, there there is more to pick from.

I spent an hour or so with Joe Sepi at Pioneer Printing in Lodi. Heaven. Joe knows what I like and was pulling out all these wonderful european papers (Gmund and James Cropper) as well as funky bone industrial paper that they do hangtags for the local parks…but could make an amazing postcard etc. He walked me through the foil stamp and finish book pointing out woodgrain, sparkly snowball patterns, holographic, metallics and flats. He showed me this great foil that acts on a rub off card…which makes another opportunity to offer my clients. I asked about press kit folders— and Joe wandered over to his shelf of magic samples handing me Hmmmmm one more interesting shape after the next. Over- stimulation without caffeine or sugar. He didn’t blink or flinch when I brought up my valentine up…and perhaps chipboard and matte silver foil… didn’t make him shake or guffaw. And the papers from woodgrains, to a silky suede, to almost a japanese-y thin, laid finish feeling almost antique…were lovely. There were uncoated papers with matte and gloss stripes (!) in rich chocolate browns or heavenly pebbled tarnished silver finishes. Joe suggested I share a sheet with him if I design his business card to highlight his company…! What opportunities. Cornell Cards await. My holiday envelopes and my valentine with the tattoo (I need to design). I was reeling until the phone rang.

My client has us creating an eyewash coffee break slide show for a presentation next week before a session on Communication. The trick is finding the right music. I had Erich looking for it and Alex too. I went to iTunes and gathered up a ton of techno, remixes and digital stuff. Its a taste decision…ouch…I generally miss…not tasteless but cannot often climb into my client’s head exactly. So, we will see. I am moving as fast as I can to find images that speak to information, communication, passage, connection and the devices along with “digital” style images. I shouldnt lose sleep over this one…it is only for a coffee break…and a 2 minute loop…but its not my strong suit.

Current status of my sketchbook is up (from 10/28 to date)>> And did a bunch of new links on the Hartford MFA Illustration Squint Blog (some of my stuff in Behance spurred by a classmate’s pleasure in being selected) here> and here>. I posted the same stuff to the Hartford MFA Facebook Page too. I got some new folks logged into the Squint site so that they can add their respective class stuff versus all of it on my shoulders. I am doing 2009, 2008 and 2007 news…with help from the classes ahead. I hope this works out. I posted some of my sketchbook work to the Moleskine, “my Moleskine”  site>>. Nice thing about the Moleskine page is it makes it easy to twitter these illustrations along with posting to the bookmarks networking site, page.

I am lubok crazed again. Guess I will need to draw it out of my system. Magical Cats, Flying Cats, cranky cats.

Gotta go. Dinner awaits.


whirling dervish

Highly productive yesterday. Made an appt. with a friend who is a buyer at the Museum who has her finger on the pulse of what folks are buying and pricepoint at the GlassMarket, a huge glass emporium at the Museum of Glass. Plans are to develop a series of products (illustration based) to be sandblasted on stock blanks (a la Steuben) or on glass hurricane candle enclosures, bottles etc. and do limited run products to start with. Focused, illustration base, potential for breaking even/profit....certainly worth the toe in the water. Also have a few calls out to see who can help me with this on the production side. People are out there looking for stuff to hey, might as well tap the resources.

Also contacted Boxcar Press (Syracuse), Pressed 55 (Philadelphia) and our little Pioneer Printing (in Interlaken) to have them quote some basic jobs in letterpress. I am learning about how this process works (do you want to buy the plate from one company and give to another? or buy the plate and use your own press (not where I want to go), or quote the entire job?)> I am curious about how much black density they can hold (have sent them a valentine in black for reference) and now do we specify depth of the imprint. More today on that. Surprisingly, I found that Briar Press (on my resource list) was a phenomenal source for boutique and not so boutique letterpress shops. More to learn on that front. In the same vein, I need to relink up with the independant engravers that are local (Meaning Buffalo to Albany and points south) as this is another instrument I want to be able to play in the future. Have done engraving jobs for business cards and the like, but how bout a gorgeous spot illustration engraved or embossed with 28kt gold leaf? Ooooooh.

I started a mini business plan for a music project I have been enlisted to help out with and used Google Docs for the writing. Nice! Not only was I working on the document, but so was the other author and Erich all at the same time--a bit disconcerting as it felt and seemed like there were ghosts in the machine as the cursor jumped around unbidden, filling in paragraphs, correcting spelling, adding names--an electronic ouiji board. The plan has become more focused with prices and detail that many piece could be peeled out of the entirety. However, Great tool, easy to use and it lives in the electronic cloud so its accessible everywhere and the aspect of collaborative projects are just that much easier. Kitty has even done slide shows on it to great success.

I am joining the Society of Illustrators LA as it will allow me to save a little dough on the entry fees, allow me some promotional space on their site and to support illustration in another venue. Need to finalize the paperwork and the check for the entry fees and for the membership today.

Also, hopefully Don Hair, the tree man, will arrive for a walk down Camp Street to talk about the dead trees by the side of the road and how he can help us take them down and possibly turn them into firewood. There are three enormous piles of sticks, wood, debris that need to be chipped (thanks to Kitty, Alex and Nigel's huge efforts around clearing miles of privet in various forms of development, tree limbing up, and the picking up of wood in all ranges of sizes). So, Don has a lot of topline work to do before we get into the more indepth stuff that is so worth doing. But, just maintaining the topline is good as it proves the import when we get these torrential downpours with wind shears and in the last snow of the season which is warm enough to really pile on the trees and wires and break them. Now when we have these sorts of natural events, we get a few branches...but not a few trees. All good.

So, moving the needle a bit. We are doing a round trip to a college on Friday and then Mon>Wed another go round of schools. Need to wrap my head around that too.

The fair has opened in Tburg. Last night was the Demolition Derby prelims and Thursday is the local music night which we all have penciled in. Hank Roberts and Hubcap are also playing at the Pourhouse Thursday p.m.. The choices are wide and varied. Trumansburg Farmer's Market tonight--so we'll see if we can cruise by.

More later


It's 2:24 a.m. Something screwed up in the paper feed and lost us a ton of instead of bedtime at midnight, we are looking at 3:30 a.m. and I am not the most charitable right now. I have been going since 5:30 a.m. and then some. I am a bit freaked out that I will not sleep and need to drive home as a living zombie (jacked up on coffee). However, I have been pulling examples for the Jean Tuttle paper I am doing along with blabbing on about this and that with the text. I did enjoy learning about her influences as it points up cool stuff about her work...and becomes something for me to reflect on. I have 80% of the revisions to the Business Plan completed, so at least this is forward movement.

I really would like some time to decompress. Its been solid since I came back. I still am coiled up like a spring...and it doesn't feel that good.

Alice and Martin Provensen, The Golden Bible for Children: The New Testament., 1953

Inky Lips Press

About Inky Lips Press

A Texas original, Inky Lips Letterpress is owned and operated by Casey McGarr; steeped in design and love for the smell of ink and the sound of a flatbed letterpress turning over and over. No other press in the Dallas area offers what Inky Lips Press can which is original work hand-carved and cranked out on flatbed letterpresses and spun on the Windmill. Inky Lips Press has been working hard at creating invitations, announcements and posters, but welcome any projects that will keep the dust off the type and the press in motion.

These guys run beautiful split font work. They will carve original lino blocks and they are some of the guys that do printing for the fabulous Hatch Show Prints. Check em out if you are wanting to do something letterpress and funky. Seems they have a handle on that.Hatch Show Print Book at Amazon>>
Blurbism has pictures of Hatch that send shivers down my spine>>

more pumpkins

2 color job...pms 130 and black with screentints of the black and the goldenrod. Still working on it...but its almost cooked for now.

I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion. I would rather ride on earth in an ox cart, with a free circulation, than go to heaven in the fancy car of an excursion train and breathe a malaria all the way.

Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862),
in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, p. 41, Houghton Mifflin (1906).

looks like rain

Nice big downpour last night. Baseball game with the "prep team" was great. Perfect field, wonderful coaching, the boys all in good spirits but very serious about the job they were doing...However, we lost. But, losing is a good incentive to move forward, so there is much to gain with practice.

Starting a bunch of Christmas images for a client. New tactic from last year. One, do a bunch of images that are appropriate. Meaning: tasteful, non-denominational, and seasonal. If some things are red and green or if snow or pine trees are in it--that qualifies as seasonal. I will present 8 ideas. If none will be acceptable to the group, they will need to lob a direction this way (maybe something a little more friendly than "global" and with no religious, sect, geographic region orientation) to take it further. If we start out with all the no-s on the table, nothing will happpen. I have to make a stab at it and truly consult. We'll see.

The Baker Institute Annual Report samples delivered yesterday. Nice! We used a really nice #3 paper (which means not the premium) for price--and it is a lovely silk finish we then put a matte coating on. All the color pops, copy is legible and the final looks better than the comps (except the epson puts down a matchless matte black that really cannot (or I havent seen it) be printed on a printing press. This publication should work for the folks at the Baker...and we now have to start thinking of topping this one. I have ideas. But how can you miss when the images one can show is of horses, dogs, cats, llamas or camelids (goats, sheep and camels are in that group), wild cats and foxes? Plus, the Baker does phenomenal work, so why not show it off?

The peonies have popped. Hosta are expanding. Bought a bunch of big (and inexpensive) salmon pink zinnias yesterday and plan on socking them in today along with 3 dicentra (bleeding hearts), and 2 hellebore. Will also plant some additional peonies that I think I will try and naturalize with other wild plants as the deer truly do not (or havent been tempted to) devour them. What with the 500 daffodils and 50 allium we put in last fall, it made for a very happy spring with vases filled with a diversity of color and shape that hopefully will continue to revisit us every year.

Maybe now is the time to get the snowtires off the wonderbus?


There is nothing quite like it. Big machinery. The heavy smell of washes and thinners. The din of the big presses, clicking and humming and counting off the sheets. The magic of the color moves when the subtle shift of CMYK can take you from your starting point on the chromalin to the fulsome, buxom color that blooms while it’s wet and tacky from the press Running up the color, more, more, more with the color deepening and sharpening as you go…and then its too far. A little less, a little less…Done! And the roseate fleshtones balancing with the red in a tiger or a border collie. Which wins, which takes the fall for the bigger horizon. Cah-Click, hmmmmmmm, cah- click,cah-click. Hmmmm. The press is the heartbeat of the plant with men on both ends, feeding wasteand good paper into one end, and the master on the other, tuning and sharpening, checking for fit, spots, scratches and the panoply of evil that can overtake you. The evil is far less, but it still lurks in the guise of humidity, flawed paper, mechanical failure or error in type, content, image. Hold your breath, get ready to go.

R. always is impressed when a finished piece looks as good as the comp, but what with where computers have taken us from the man in the dark room, massaging the dots, burning and dodging and “stoning them” off the plate—it truly is a miracle what extrodinary quality we get without knowing the hair-raising opportunities that were posed in the past with every pressrun, every form and sheet running through the press. In the past, the magical man in the color room has the status of a rockstar to those of us who cared—often our taking business wherever “Manfred” or the Manfred of the day went. He just knew how to tweak the colors from the transparencies and reflective art to ink on paper that we now supplement with scans etc. and the magic man is no longer. Manfred would cut the silhouettes, match backgrounds and all that we do without thinking much today.

Today at Cohber, we were working with a new8 color Heidelberg that runs 18,000 impressions an hour and has mechanized plate changing—so the time between sheets has been running about an hour and a half from the signoff of the first to the approval of the next form. We have (its around 8:30 p.m.) since 9 a.m. seen 7 forms and will finish up the printing of this whole job (7,000 books @ 64 pp (cover included)). Then off to the bindery and first samples early next week. No paper problems, no scratches, no pulling of plates…none of the usual histrionics that often accompany this sort of fun.

On the topic of printing, but more "insider"--Eric Weber, President of Cohber and I were talking about digital printing (I saw samples first hand) and he pointed me to this site, Kodak Creative Network,a place for the SOHO (Small Office, Home Office)--sounds like me. They have cool thin, square or regular sized business cards (100 pieces for $2. as a come on), postcards (as few as 25 cards for $8) etc. Might give them a try. They have calendars (you can make as few as one..or five).

Wow. Smaller world. How is anyone making any money?