My Octopedestrians Kickstarter project closes Thursday.
The photograph I’m holding above is the image that got me started drawing the series of octopuses that became the Octopedestrian letterpress print. It’s from page 43 of the book, Spineless, by Susan Middleton. Her book is a lovely collection of photographs of all kinds of invertebrates—up close and smiling for the camera.
Looking over my shoulder. I don’t know if anyone is interested in behind-the-scenes details about how I make stuff. Maybe you want to save $60 and make your own. If you were here watching me work, this is what you’d see me doing.
How Don draws an octopus.
1. Sketch the character in pencil. Try not to exceed eight tentacles.
2. Ink the main contours. Add suckers to one side of each tentacle. I like to use my fat Faber Castell Pitt brush pen for these strong lines.
3. Soften the inside edge of all the strokes with a pattern of white dots. Hit the suckers with an extra big white dot. I use a Sharpie white brush pen for this job.
4. Stipple the interior with anguishingly beautiful strokes. Several different brush pens can be used for this effort. My all-time favorite is the Kuratake extra fine from Japan. Bend these strokes slightly to suggest the curved contours of the octopus body and tentacles. Stop the stippling near the edges to create a white edge highlight.
5. Add a hat if needed to enhance the octopus’s fashion sense. Then drink some coffee and start another drawing. Repeat until it’s dinner time.
If you are a fan of drawing tools, you might enjoy my interview for Jet Pens from October. I talk about some of my favorite drawing tools. Nerdy.
Jump start. Because support for this project was strong from the start, I went ahead and gave production a green light. The paper has been ordered. I already have most of the packaging materials. The printing plate has been made. As soon as the project closes, the press can roll. There are still a lot of steps to come (inspecting, numbering, signing, certifying, and packing), but there’s a good chance I can finish earlier than May, as I originally planned.
Bonus. All supporters of my Octopedestrian Letterpress Print will receive a mystery bonus gift. I'm not going to tell you what it is, yet, but you are going to think I'm wonderful.