I realized just the other day that I'm half way thru my year long project #52weeksofprint!
I'm beginning Week 26 and what better time to take a look back on what I've learned so far....
Staying Focused - At the beginning I purposely decided my project would require a start and end date. I had previously participated in other challenges, such as #100dayproject and #30dayproject, and found the schedule constraints kept me focused creatively as well as allowed me to better manage my time. I was able to accomplish my creative goals in addition to all my "everyday stuff"
Keeping It Fresh - To keep every month interesting, back in January I googled several ideas and suggestions. I had a list of about 30 themes which I wrote down, cut out, folded each piece of paper and placed them into a metal tin. At the beginning of every month I randomly pull a new piece of paper. The monthly theme is always a surprise even though I selected the ideas originally I never know what each month will be until the actual drawing.
It's My Party, I'll Cry (Change My Mind) If I want to - So the best part about my participation in the project, is that it's my project and I can change the "rules" if I want to....I am only accountable to myself and decided not to feel guilty if I change some of my preconceptions about what/how the project should unfold. For instance....
Twice I did not "like" the monthly theme. At the time, I was just not "feeling it" so threw the piece of paper away and selected another one....Yay for being "The Boss"
I originally ordered (52) 4' x 6' carving blocks and my intention was to carve a full block each week. I realized some design print better at a smaller scale and are easier to handle. Many of my 4' x 6' blocks were cut in half and I got two weeks out of one block...Yay for saving $$. I'll have plenty of blocks left over for other side projects.
Repeating patterns....Most are but not all. Unless you are working with a very simple shape, continuous lines are hard to block print as the registration is challenging. Those blocks that did not repeat manually, I was able to digitally manipulate in Illustrator.
SoftCut carving block vs Linoleum - My biggest "complaint" is that the soft rubber medium does not allow for fine detail carving. It's very easy to carve and does a very good job holding up while printing. The blocks are solid and easy to hold. I often found I was not able to include as much detail as I originally intended and had to simplify the design to accommodate the limitation of the medium.
As the project continues to unfold, there will be new and different challenges. The project is a continuing work in progress so I expect to learn much more and will continue to expand/improve upon not only my design skills but carving technique as well. You can follow me on Instagram for more daily updates.