Category Archives: Zish and Argo

Website changes and Zish!

As you may see, I have been doing some house-keeping on the blog. Most especially this includes a new banner. I’ve been doing so many posts about science and artists that a banner about book-binding seemed awfully limiting. So now the tagline is “sci-fi, art, and science”. I have also updated the about page and streamlined the pages bar at the top of the screen.

I hope this makes the blog easier to view. Plus, I think the new banner is super cute, which is tough for a picture that includes a rocket ship, a robot and a squid. Any feedback is very welcome.

In other progress news, I am making headway on Zish & Argo book II. In book II, Zish and Argo travel to a planet where the native species has a very unusual kind of pet. More to come!

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Making Lovely Books

As my blog might reflect, I have a tendency to lurch from one area of interest to the next. Last week, my interests moved again to bookbinding. The pile of lovely paper and fabric sitting in my office called out. (hollanders.com has some lovely stuff.) So I tried a few new things.

The book below is covered with Japanese linen. I used an exposed stitch on the spine, and exposed linen tape. This is the first time I’ve cut a hole in the cover. Appropriately (see last week), I found a Hiroshige painting in the creative commons to use in the hole.

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Next I made a book that closes in the front with a bone clasp. The cover is black imitation suede.

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Finally I did a more formal binding of my Zish and Argo story. It’s a pretty simple binding with only a single 7 page signature, but I’m really pleased with the way it turned out. In the second picture below, you can see one of the spreads. All of the illustrations are digitized watercolor paintings.

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Zish and Argo Artwork

My biggest goal over the holidays was to complete painting for the Zish and Argo book. Last night I finished the last painting! Hooray! Champagne! Zish and Argo has 13+ full size color illustrations, painted in water colors. The picture below shows the ones I finished during the holidays. For reference, they are about 8 inches tall. In the next couple of weeks, I will pull together the art and put up book details. The featured image shows the tentative cover that I just finished as well.

Tomorrow I head back north to new projects and adventures.

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A little on watercoloring

This week I am spending most of my time painting the line-art from The Galactic Adventures of Zish and Argo. One of the things I really like about watercolors is that they travel well. I’m on the road for the next couple of weeks, but it is just as easy to paint here as it is at home. A major reason for the portability is the type of materials I use. I bought a Windsor-Newton field box set several years ago, pictured below. At $50, you might experience a bit of sticker shock. I’ve only recently had to start replacing pans; it lasts and lasts.

I have used the liquid watercolors as well. I find I enjoy the quick set up of the solid colors. There is no need to dole out paint as you go, and you only use what you need. Plus it’s easier to travel with. The solid paints can still deliver good intensity and brightness. I roll all my brushes up in a bamboo case like this one, and then I’m ready to go anywhere and paint anything. If you have a pigment-ink printer, you can economize on your watercolor paper by selectively choosing what you print. I discuss that more in an old entry, here.

I read a watercolor book a few years ago that I found helpful as well: Watercolor Tricks and Techniques, by Johnson. If you are curious, it is worth a look.

So there are 13 paintings for the core of the Zish and Argo book. I have 7.5 paintings done, so I’m over halfway! The Robotoids say hello!!robot

Xmas from Zish and Argo

I began printing and painting the line work for The Galactic Adventures of Zish & Argo. Now that painting has begun, I hope to have the first book pulled together in a month or two. In the meantime, this project has been a source of great joy.

I have become fond of the characters, so I find myself doodling the pair engaging in a variety of activities. Happy holidays from Zish and Argo!

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Getting creative with a printer

Last year I got a medium format pigment printer (epson r2000). With research, you can get a decent deal on these kinds of printers. I purchased mine for $300 (with rebate) while it now lists for $550 (but remember, the ink is always a swindle). If you know how to use color profiles and tune your screen’s color, these printers can be a ton of fun. Printing photos was the main motivation for my purchase, but the other less expected uses have been equally exciting.

Watercolor painting and pigment printing

Pigment inks are waterproof after they dry. Long ago I learned the hard way that normal ink jets are not waterproof. This feature of pigment inks has helped my watercolor process immensely. Now I can do line art on low quality paper. Then I scan the line art in and I can digitally fix it. This can mean a number of things: I can remove a badly placed stroke, or I can rearranged items in space. For the Zish and Argo stories, I did preliminary line art, and moved things to satisfy the needs of the page layout.

Once the line art is optimized, then I can print to the expensive watercolor paper. I probably only use half of my preliminary line art, which is an awful waste of premium watercolor paper. But now I can be efficient. Printing line art is additionally attractive because it uses little ink. Additionally, I can print several copies, and have several chances to get my work just right. I did the featured image art using this procedure.

Printing on fun materials

The printer can also print to some fun surfaces. It can print to basically anything you feed through it, like poster board, wood, foam board, canvas, or other sufficiently heavy fabric. Obviously, it can also print to any sturdy paper as well (I print frequently to drawing and watercolor paper).

I recently did my first project printing to canvas. I then used this canvas to cover a book, shown below. This canvas is also designed to stretch over a frame like any canvas.

Any additional ideas on creative printing? There’s nothing better than using a tool on hand in a different way.

Current work: Zish and Argo

Earlier this week I finished the line work for my next project, “The Galactic Adventures of Zish and Argo“.  Zish and Argo is about a little girl named Zish who steals a spaceship named Argo. They travel deep into space and encounter many strange and wonderful situations. Along their adventures, scientific concepts relevant to the story are touched upon.

You can find ongoing updates about this project under the current projects tab, or through the link. I expect to complete painting early next year. The first Zish and Argo book introduces their situation and their first adventure. The illustrations will be water-color paintings, like the one below: