Design-A-Day SpoonChallenge: Day 4

Design-A-Day SpoonChallenge: Day 3 - Abstract
Today's #SFDesignADay is block prints! Rochelle New (known as Rochelle_new in the Spoonflower Marketplace) will show you all you need to know to delve into this rewarding design process. Be sure to follow along on the blog and in your inbox until March 15 as we feature a new Design-A-Day technique, presented to you by members of our talented community of designers!
Rochelle New - block prints
Rochelle: If you love bold shapes, simple color schemes, and a handcrafted look, then Block Printing is definitely for you. It's also a great choice for budding designers who don't have editing programs like Photoshop or Illustrator. You can carve your design, print it, scan it into the computer, and then decide on your design layout and color scheme with Spoonflower's own editing tools. The option to step away from my laptop and add a more handcrafted element to my work is really what drew me to block printing in the first place.
Rochelle New - block print
If you're brand new to this, it's best to start simple and avoid too many small details (think geometrics and silhouettes). Start by sketching out your ideas with pencil and paper. When you have your basic sketch finished, place it face down on your block. Use the rounded end of your carving handle and gently rub the entire surface of your design to transfer the image. You can also draw directly onto your block for a more free-handed approach.
Rochelle New - block prints
Now you're ready to carve! My favorite carving medium is called Speedy Carve by Speedball. It's very gentle on the hands compared to other linoleum based blocks – it's like carving cold butter! Remember that anything you carve away will show up as white space when you print. Take your time and carve slowly, being very careful to carve away from your fingers and hands, not towards them!
Rochelle New - block prints
When you're happy with your design, the next step is to print one really smooth, black print. It usually takes me a few tries before I pick one to digitize on the computer. I like to snap a quick pic of the print with my phone and amp up the contrast there before emailing it to myself, though you can do this with a scanner as well. 
Rochelle New - block prints
Rochelle New - block prints
The end goal is to have a perfect, two-color, black and white design. You can use PicMonkey to clean up and crop your images, and Spoonflower's color changer to flatten your artwork down to just two colors. You can use as many colors as you'd like, but I really love the look of a more traditional, two-color block print!
Rochelle New - block prints
While I do use Illustrator to edit all of my designs, I wanted to show you that it's not necessary. Block prints make for excellent basic repeats, so you really can create beautiful fabric using only your two hands and Spoonflower's basic tools.
Rochelle New
If block printing sounds like something you'd love, I highly recommend Speedball's Deluxe Block Printing Kit, which has absolutely everything you need to start on your journey of block printing and fabric design. Don't have the supplies? You can get resourceful with a potato and this tutorial.
I'll be following along and browsing the #SFDesignADay hashtag so be sure to share your work. I can't wait to see what amazing things you create!
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Inspired? We want to see what you create! Be sure to tag your designs influenced by today's SpoonChallenge technique with #SFDesignADay on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

Alrighty, now this was a challenging design prompt! I don't have any of the fancy tools, ink, or printing blocks that she mentioned. That meant going the potato carving route and using the gesso that I had on hand. My first attempt failed miserably, but I simplified and persevered to create this unicorn print from my best three stampings.

My first potato stamp that prints like a blob Lol

My potato unicorn stamp

Stamped Unicorns
And I went ahead and turned the sketch from my first stamp into a faux block print that I love :)


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