Flexographic Wallpaper Printing. May 18 2017

It's been a while since I did a behind the scenes on wallpaper printing so here a few pictures to show you what happens after the wallpaper rollers are engraved. 
The first step is to mix the paint for the pad or background colour. 
This is the rich purple for Beetlenut. Looks a bit messy doesn't it? 
ink mixing
The background colour is then applied with a blank roller. The image below is the gorgeous teal green which is one of my all time favourite colours. 
wallpaper printing
Then, the exciting bit! The engraved roller is used to apply the design. In this case, glorious metallic gold.
metallic bug wallpaper
I'm so in awe of this wonderful traditional process. The detail is absolutely phenomenal. Due to the nature of my work and the tiny dots I was concerned some of the finer parts would be lost or smudged or blurred in some way. I am pleased to say the outcome was just as I had hoped. 
As much as I love digital printing for the scope it gives me (far more colours, shorter print runs and smaller minimum orders etc) flexographic printing will always be very special to me.
It's a little bit magic. 

My Thoughts on Interior Trends. February 29 2016

I find the subject of trends so interesting, especially interior trends.

The fact that colours come in and out of fashion is very strange to me, considering how most people have favourite colours and shades, which surely remain in the midst of whatever is in Vogue. It’s a mysterious process, almost like osmosis. Subliminal messaging in advertising is very real, and very effective, working through repetition.

Trends are predicted by forecasters who gather tons of information, images and research of things that are floating in the ether.

Of course it’s in part a self fulfilling prophecy because once something is announced as up and coming everyone wants to be a part of it. The collective consciousness is a weird thing, and it snowballs. There are always people who can style a room so beautifully that you want to live there yourself, it’s unsurprising that the rest of the world takes their cue from those who make interior design look so effortless. (Of course it usually isn’t!)

We are all looking at the same images on the internet, magazines, television and shops. It drives me mad if there is a huge trend I’m not keen on as you see it everywhere, and it’s that much harder to find what you really want. On the other side of the coin is getting over exposed to something you used to like before every other person in the world seemed to have it.

Fads do always come to an end at some point, even if they are reborn in another decade. There usually comes a saturation point where the style becomes passe. At this point the backlash starts and suddenly people that thought an abundance of teak furniture and a dark olive kitchen were incredibly stylish can start feeling embarrassed with their decorating choices, especially when the cutting remarks start and you realise you’re living in the middle of what is now deeply unfashionable. As long as you still like your home it shouldn’t matter if it’s no longer the in thing. (If you wait long enough it will be again!)

The constant updating of what is desirable appeals to modern humans rather short attention spans, but it is also a good way to get people to keep spending.

It’s a bit like Christmas every year. All through November and December (and before) we are bombarded with ‘eat this!’ ‘drink that!’ sugar, alcohol, extravagant dinners and spend spend spend! Only to be told in January we’re too fat and everyone needs to stop drinking immediately and hit the gym whilst also saving money (after the sales, naturally)

We’re blasted with particular images, colours and styles and a few months later a bunch of smug ‘in the know’ people are laughing at you for being stupid enough to fall for the fad.

If you want to escape this trap the key is to make sure you are choosing items you really love, and not ones that are just fashionable at the moment.

Nothing dates a room more than going all in on a certain theme. It’s not to say this can’t look bold and stunning, but it’s easier to live with a variety of style choices that can be kept or updated according to your preference. Overall I’m not really one for decorating or fashion rules, go with what makes you happy.

I wish I could say I was immune to trends, but of course I’m not. It’s hard to track your inspiration as an artist but none of us live in a vacuum and influences are everywhere. This is where you have to make sure that something about your designs is unique. It also means adapting and evolving, which is actually very good motivation to push yourself creatively and get better at what you do.

Roller Engraving - Part 1 November 24 2014

I'm halfway through the journey of printing my first batch of wallpapers. Allow me to invite you into my brain and see what's been happening this week!

As I may have mentioned before I have decided to print my wallpapers flexographically. Screen printing wouldn't capture the level of detail in my inky drawings and digital, well, it's just not quite as satisfying as the traditional methods.

I sent my digital files off to the engravers and they sent me back some proofs in the post. This was a great way for me to see my designs in the correct scale and play around with a few colour options.

There were a few changes to be made straight away.

Detail from 'Beetlenut'


The scale of 'Beetlenut' has now been halved and the horizontal gap closed. I added more beetles and flowers to 'The Froghoppers Reflection' which meant going back to the drawing board a few times.


Detail from 'The Froghoppers Reflection'


"The Tangled Hawkmoth' was originally the one I was least pleased with, but it turns out it was also the one I didn't have to change anything on.


Detail from 'The Tangled Hawkmoth'


I chose to print my designs flexographically because it best suited my style of drawing. Screen printing would have inevitably missed some of the finer details. Digital is a great, modern way to print with many advantages. One being that you can often mix and match designs and have very low minimum order quantities. I may still use digital printing for custom orders. This means I will still be able to offer people other colour ways in addition to my main range.

However, I also chose flexographic printing for the colour options. Specifically, metallics. I wanted those rich gold, silver, copper and brass hues that I just couldn't get with digital printing. I was also really pleased that I could keep the manufacturing in the UK and support our local economy whilst reducing the need for sending my products overseas which only adds to a company's carbon footprint.

Next week I'll show you the step by step process of my rollers being engraved. I still have to finalise colours, then the printing begins!