Going large, how blowing up images changes their character and impact.

Vinyl banner print by Jon Tremlett for Soulcraftcandy.

Another project that has spent many a month in the pipeline is the continuation of an experiment I started last year, where I wanted to see what impact it would have if I blew up one of the drawings to something like life size. While I’m still very much trying to figure out a way of being able to draw at this scale, it seemed like a good idea to get something printed in order to be in the position to make some judgements about how to approach such a challenge in the future. Initially I’d enlisted the help of a good friend, an architect with a big format plotter, to run out a couple of A0 sized sheets with the sketch image of the above drawing on. Taped together, these looked pretty impressive though the paper wasn’t too keen on staying very flat for long. Follow this link to that particular post.

After some further investigation, and with one eye on the possibility that I could use such prints for other purposes, it became clear that the best thing to do was get something printed on vinyl as a kind of banner. So this is what you see above, hanging in my dining room. It’s a metre and a half square, roughly 60 inches across and high, and is a thing of beauty, even though I say so myself. Well, I would, wouldn’t I ?

Vinyl banner print detail by Jon Tremlett for Soulcraftcandy

The jump up to such a scale causes you to regard the image in a very different way. The first is that it challenges your perceptions in that one hardly ever sees a cartoon at this size, so one is confronted by a strangely proportioned interpretation of a man and his machine. Some things fit and others don’t. The other change is that the print doesn’t hold any of the information in it back. Every single mark, line and cross hatch is revealed in all its glory, and so what appears a very neat drawing at normal size takes on a looser and more sketchy feel. As the creator, this change is not unlike revealing ones inner secrets of technique and skill to the viewer. Letting them see every stroke of then pen, every guiding thought and inevitably, every mistake. All unexpectedly liberating to see everything laid bare in this fashion. The good thing is, though I may stand to be corrected by others, that the drawing doesn’t suffer for this jump up in size in my mind, it still looks like a drawing, just a very big one done with a very big pen.

I’ve resolved to have some more of these prints done, and it would be really interesting to see what happens to one or two of the colour drawings. To see how every small daub of paint is shown in minute detail. The main challenge will be choosing which one to reproduce. Some would suggest that a painting should never be enlarged beyond its original size but, we do this to photographs so why not something made by hand?

Before I go I’d just like to mention that although vinyl banner printing is a widely available service, it pays dividends to find a printer one can talk things through with before placing the order. So many companies offer a web based service and instant file upload facility, but it’s the ability to see what your final print will look like where many fall short. Luckily I found one who did, so I’ll be visiting them again. If you need to know who they are please contact me.

Setting up shop, episode 2.

King of corners sample print.

You will have read in my last post that things have started to come together for the opening of the small internet shop for Soulcraftcandy where you will be able to purchase high quality prints of some of the drawings. I thought it might be interesting to write a little bit about the journey to this point so far.

So how are things going? Well, not too bad actually. Whoever you seek advice from in these matters, like in most cases in life really, you will receive plenty of information. All advice is good, you just have to work out which bits are most relevant to your course of action and use most of it to guide your decisions rather than slavishly following one point of view or another. Such was the case with the choice for which on-line retail supplier to go with. As it turned out, once this decision had been made, loads of other stuff seemed to fall into place as adhering to a given format or template made decision making much, much easier. There were some things though that remained outside of this comfortably convenient arrangement.

I know from many years selling design ideas to clients that although a concept may be brilliant, how others perceive it can be heavily effected by how you present the idea. In a sense the beauty of the presentation must be as wonderful as the idea contained within it, in order for it to gain maximum impact. Thus I knew that the quality of any prints I would be offering would have to be very high. I’d heard about giclee printing before, in fact I bought a print by another artist last year, it’s an impressive process. the challenge was to find a giclee printer in London who would take on my work. With a bit of research I’ve found one, and I think our relationship will be a good one. I chose him for all the usual good reasons but what really swung it for me was how I felt when entering his studio for the first time, it was immaculate. No offcuts or waste anywhere and spotless equipment. If ever there was a place which strongly adhered to the adage of “ a place for everything, and everything in its place”, this was it. The part of me that likes a tidy workshop and a box of clean, well kept tools was very happy. I ordered some sample prints from him and they are lovely.

The one at the top of this post is enlarged to A2 size from the original A3 format. I wanted to see what would happen to the line work and the drawing as a whole at an increased scale. I’m more than pleased with the result and this size will be offered in the store alongside the original A3 size for all prints. It’s almost as if I drew it originally at this size and after a bit of fiddling with saturation levels and such like, the image prints beautifully. Biro ink is not unusual in that the black is actually made up of lots of other pigments. As a result, when you digitise an image it often has a hue about it which can be perhaps blue or purple in nature. This can be difficult to control if you’re printing straight off, so a bit of careful adjustment is always required to get balance right.

King of corners sample print at A3

This print at the bottom is the A3 size. I clipped a business card to the board to give some idea of relative scales. And please excuse any discolouring in the photos. Even on a bright sunny day the camera seems to make up its own mind about light levels. You can though see the door of my shed, a small but meaningful space often used for moments of creative alchemy.