Yifat Fishman

Illustrations & Thoughts


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Dancing Bears

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Things that I’m busy with while the kids are on summer break:

Write a synopsis for my next book. I gathered the ideas that floated around for the story in a short and clear paper.

Research and sketch character ideas for the new story.

Working on a (first) storyboard.

Carve a linoleum block for this merry group of dancing bears which I plan on printing later to check how printed bears work with painted bears in one piece.
I might attempt to create a GIF to show the work progress at the end of the project.

Trees Bees and Bears

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This picture started as a sketch, which could have led to any number of completed art in different artistic mediums. However, I wanted to print the background and trees so that they would seem flat and let the perspective and illustration of the characters play out. So next is the final print that required three linoleum blocks. One for the yellow background and two for the trees. The slightly off placement of the trees over the yellow field was created intentionally.

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I use Daniel Smith water based inks because my studio is located in my house and so I do not want to use colors that would smell badly, and I use the kitchen sink for cleaning the blocks and tools.
Next I drew the outlines, first in gentle pencil touches and then in brown ink with pen and fine brush.

And then I got very anxious over having to make color choices.

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Of course, I had a color scheme prepared way before getting to this stage. Not. In fact what I had was a good sense of how I wanted to color the girl and the little bear cub. For them I made preliminary colored sketches. But the little forest creatures, Mama bear and the teddy bear needed a lot of thinking while the final art was created because the decisions made at this point would apply for the rest of the book.

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Trees, Trees, Trees!

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The past two weeks were all about trees, trees, trees! I made two separate linoleum blocks of trees for one spread. Two, because working on 12×12 block is much easier than working on 18×24 block, as I tend to twirl it around while carving. Printing the blocks for the first time was amazing. Everything fell right into place!
Above is the (very crude) first print.  I also made a final print of the yellow background which I’m kind of saving for a later post when more details are ready. And if you’re interested in technical specks, my chosen paper was Arches, hot press watercolor paper 90 lb.

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After mentally approving the blocks I moved on to color. And since printing is more fun when I get to play a little with imperfect results that would tell a story about creating art, I set out to print the trees in two layers. Ah! but then color choices needed to be made and they should have enhanced each other. Below is a photo of some of the trial prints. I learned so much about color consistency that is just right for showing the fine details of the trees, and had fun mixing a myriad of hues with five ink tubes, one of which is a transparent medium.

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Making a Picture Book: Spread 10-11 Trial Prints

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Creating the background of an illustration by carving linoleum takes a lot of imagining and guessing of what the final print should look like. And that’s also part of the charm and reason for choosing this particular technique. Basically the linoleum block forms a negative image and whatever is left uncarved will get a coat of paint in the final stage of printing. So above is a trial print which turned out overall quite well… phew. The border lines of the images are crisp clear and the fine details of the bee swarm show nicely. I will make little changes to the teddy bear and the final print will not have these clear borders and will “spill” out to leave room for cutting in Photoshop. But I need to see a nice image so I fitted paper to the borders before applying the ink so that this trial print will look closer to what I had in mind.

Here’s the linoleum block:

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Choosing the right paper is tricky since I’m working with mixed media. Printing paper is smooth, watercolor paper is textured and the difference will create a grained, textured print or a smooth one, depending on the paper. Also the paper should be soft so that I can hand press it to the block and get all the fine details on print. I am still looking for the right kind of paper.

Here’s what the wall in front of my drawing desk looks like:

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Notice the little bear? He is not sure yet how he’d like to be pictured in the final art. So while working on printing the background I’m also thinking about color choices… And of the second layer of print that I should start carving next.


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Making a Picture Book: Starting spread 10-11

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I’m so excited to start working on this new spread! Here’s the sketch which works like staging directions. Next I’ll be working on the first layer of the illustration with a large linoleum block to set the background. Then add another printed layer for the trees. After that I’ll draw the fine details in inks and watercolors.

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