The first thing I make for each Art Together issue is the cover header. If you look on the sidebar, you’ll see that the headers match the theme. Once I decide upon a focus and begin researching (I do love the researching), making the header helps set my direction on the rest of the issue. It gets me into the mood of what the kids and I will be working on and distilling for the next month or two. I thought you might like to see how the header for the third issue, which will be out in March, came together.
The focus of the third issue is printmaking, so I had many possibilities. Art-making is a series of decisions made; I’ve no doubt I could make dozens of satisfying printmaking-based headers. I wanted to use easily accessible techniques, though, so that narrowed it down a bit. I decided I’d use a stencil process to get the letters onto the paper, so first I had to make a stencil. I traced the lettering from Issue Two onto tracing paper and rubbed the back of the paper with a graphite block so I could transfer the lines. This works like carbon paper.
I taped the tracing paper onto Bristol board and traced over the lines again, which transferred them onto Bristol board. The next step was to carefully cut on the lines with an x-acto knife.
I set that aside and found some left-over brown packing paper from some of the pre-Christmas mail orders. I crumpled it up, then flattened it out again. Then I rolled it with blue ink using a brayer.
After it dried, I rolled it in the opposite direction with yellow ink, using a plastic tube wrapped in twine to create a different print.
For the third layer, I cut triangles out of bubble wrap, painted them with red acrylic, and made prints in a star-burst sort of design.
Finally, when that was dry, it was time to use the stencil. I taped it down, including the floating bits inside letters like “A” and “R.” This isn’t the best method, but it worked. I used black acrylic paint and a sponge brush.
There is just a little bit of paint excess on the left side of the “O,” but that’s okay. One of my goals for this zine is for it to retain a bit of a zine vibe, even though it’s a digital file. I knew I wouldn’t be able to hand-write the entire thing. For practicality’s sake, much of it is typed. But I didn’t want a slick computer-produced header, and I wanted touches of someone’s hand to be found throughout. So you’ll find not just my kids’ and my own artwork, but hand-done headers and, sometimes, borders. Hand-drawn or -colored explanations. The stamp of the people who put it together, in hopes that not just the content but the entire package is inspiring (and also because we have fun doing it!).
This is the final header, cropped in Photoshop, just as you’ll see it on the cover of Issue Three. Now you’ll know how it was created!