February 21, 2024

Tiny Doodle Blocks

         In the past few months I’ve been playing with a handful of tiny doodle blocks.  I carved these little scraps of rubber doodlewise, without any particular plan to their design, but for at least some, I did plan to make them combinable.  To that end, some of them were cut (more or less carefully) into tessellating shapes.  Then I learned about @PrinterSolstice on Instagram, which is giving a theme per week for block print experimentation.  This year the themes are all different color schemes, and (given the title of this blog) you can guess that isn’t always my thing when it comes to block printing - but it worked particularly well to use my doodle blocks to play with the color schemes, because it was all just fooling around anyway.
        As it happened, some of the results were quite ugly, but others please me a great deal.  Today I share a range of the little designs I came up with — far from a comprehensive record, but a sampling to demonstrate some of the various combinations I came up with.
        First up, here are some designs without color, so you can see more clearly what the blocks were, and how they combine.  I made a diamond with 60° points, so it could be turned into a six-pointed star.  In fact, as you can see, it could be turned into several different six-pointed stars, depending on which points are in the middle.  (It could also be turned into a complete tiled field, but I haven’t played with that yet.)  I also had a skinny little scrap that could be fit into half of that same diamond, so that’s block 2.  Block 3 was actually made last summer, I think, and is a little scalene right triangle.  Block 4 is a heart.  Later I cut the diamond block apart so that the two parts could be inked separately, and that’s what you can see in the upper right and bottom left designs in black and white.
        As I said, the Printer Solstice themes were all about color schemes, and here are a bunch of stars I made for some of their prompts.  They’re cool colors, primary colors, analogous colors, and triadic colors.  Then the pale blue one is just being a snowflake, because that’s what the block pattern suggested to me.  And the final star is one that I used as the base for an illustration that’s going to be in my upcoming book.
        Not all the playing was just stars, though.  Here are a few more designs, using other blocks and combinations.  The triangle is a split complementary color scheme, printed with block 2 and half of block 1.  The square diamond is analogous/warm colors, made with block 3.  The flower circle is a full spectrum printed with the heart.  You can see that I intended the heart to have a 60° angle also, but obviously didn’t get it quite accurate.  (That’s okay - I plan to print it as a little free-standing block anyway.)  And that final thing, which is cool colors, is an even scrappier scrap just carved with a few stripes and swirls, plus the tiny butterfly I chopped out of a larger block that got abandoned.
        These are all printed with stamp pads, some of which are higher quality than others, mostly on scrap paper of various sorts.  They’re not intended for show or sale, but thanks, @PrinterSolstice, for giving me a push to spend some time playing around with them.  And in the end I’m pleased enough with a few of them that I’m considering making a set of notecards with an assortment of colorful star designs.  What do you think?

[Pictures: all rubber block prints by AEGN, 2024.

You can see "Tiny Doodle" and "Sing from the Heart" here.]

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