Fireweed pen & ink drawing
Animals printing

How We Make ’em

I thought some viewers might like to know a little more about how our cards are made.

Fireweed_Hugs_BlogWe start by making pen and ink drawings of our subject, usually several of them. All of our designs feature an animal or critter, so we create a pen and ink drawing of our creature friend as well. Then we scan our drawings, and use the computer to simulate the colors we intend to use on the press. We cut, splice, and otherwise arrange the drawings using design software, and separate our composite image according to color, so we can make a plate for each color.

This picture shows how we used the pen and ink drawing above to compose our new fireweed card.

Once we have the plates, we carefully choose the final colors, hand mix the ink, and ink the press. The cards are printed on our Heidelberg windmill, like all letterpresses, an antique from a different era. It is a beautiful piece of mechanical might and precision.

In letterpress, printers can only use one color at a time, which means that additional colors on the card can make it too costly to produce and still sell at a price most of our fans can accept. Our Heidelberg is so precise, it allows us to layer two colors to create a third. Considering that the pen and ink lines can be as thin as a strand of hair, we find this remarkable indeed!

The picture below shows our Heidelberg in action, printing our primrose card.