patterns & paws

14 Jun

I made friends with Anika Starmer on twitter over half a year ago now… She is a lovely designer/artist/friend who is supportive, encouraging and a total sweetheart. When it comes to creating, she is fascinated with pattern, line & color and her love of these elements is easy to understand if you take a peek at her funky creations on her blog. We have been trading mail art for several months, but I wanted to push it to a new level… so I created a collaborative project we could both work on, that could be then sent back and forth through the postal system. Essentially the premise is based on the fact that Anika is fascinated with textile, motifs and design while I’m obsessed with animals, texture and anatomy… with our two main focuses in mind, the collaborative and postal bound project patterns & paws was born.

The project utilizes two blank moleskine cahiers and I have already created the front and back cover designs and marked them as volume 1 / volume 2. The way the project works is Anika will make imagery on the left-hand pages, I’ll draw on the right-hand pages and then there will be some 2 page spreads featuring our imagery colliding: thus creating a book full of vertical diptychs (two images, one piece) and horizontal mixed images (2-page spread) of patterns and paws.  Why are we working on two at the same time??? So that when the project sadly comes to a close, we each get to keep a volume (no need to fight over ONE sketchbook).Each time both books get sent, a minimum of 6 new drawings must be made in each sketchbook: 2 images in response to the images drawn by the other artist on the opposite page, 2 new drawings opposite blank pages for the other artist to respond to and finally 2 images over 2 page spreads that include both of our drawings working together (again one started by me and one started by anika). This way whenever either Anika or I recieve the sketchbook, we get to finish or create diptychs by drawing something inspired by/in correspondence to the opposite image. Then we also get to create cohesive images by sketching together on both left and right pages to create horizontal images with our styles intermingling. There are no rules on what mediums to use… Make sense? My first page in both books were drawn in pencil and feature two different ground squirrels (one of which is the pesky marmot who has been chewing at my car). The second page in both sketchbooks, is a black gocco screenprint of dog paws. Anika will be the first to start a two-page horizontal spread that we will both contribute to.She finally found the fat stamp plastered envelope that contained the sketchbooks just yesterday, after what feels like weeks of anticipation (especially because it was returned to me demanding 22 cents more postage, UGH). Along for the ride were my two zines that I owed her, a paint palette sticker and my fairly sloppy project explanation note.  I have A LOT of collaborative projects on the go, and it is exciting! My good friend and mentor Carney Oudendag and I began altering an accordion book, which I recently blogged about here. I am currently binding two books for an upcoming project with Justice Bicycle that we will launch in August when she visits for her “artist residency” at my print studio. I am halfway through my pages on Jessica Mack’s Traveling Journal  and will be posting my contribution to this collaborative effort next week when I send it off to Jeannine Saylor. And at some point when I find some time amongst all of this summer madness, I really ought to resurrect an old altered book collaboration that Marcus Jackson and I started a few years ago, (it become forgotten amongst our ACAD projects during our studies a few years ago). So make sure you check back to learn more about some of these yet-to-be-detailed collaborative projects or to see how the ones that have already been chronicled, evolve and transform.

23 Responses to “patterns & paws”

  1. Julia Young 14/06/2011 at 10:41 #

    This looks so exciting and fun! Can’t wait to see what comes of your collaboration :) xx

  2. Kye Sangha 14/06/2011 at 11:03 #

    I cant wait to see the end result. I suspect they will be surprisingly harmonious!

  3. Jeannine | SaylorMade 14/06/2011 at 11:56 #

    The two of you are a couple of my favourite artists so this is going to be a treat to see the progress. Share, Share, Share!! I’ll be ooo-ing and aaaaah-ing via comments. ;-)

  4. anika 14/06/2011 at 13:49 #

    You did the kick-off justice with this post! I was so delighted to FINALLY discover what our collab would be. So looking forward to getting started and seeing all the art we create together!!. :)

  5. Marcus 14/06/2011 at 14:00 #

    Yes Dopple, a resurrection is definitely in order.

  6. Michelle 14/06/2011 at 14:32 #

    this is AWESOME! I love your animals Jess, and I love Anika’s patterns! this is going to be so beautiful

  7. Beverly Ealdama 14/06/2011 at 15:00 #

    wow this looks awesome!! can’t wait to see what you create together! :) :)

  8. Toni Rica 14/06/2011 at 15:23 #

    i’ve been following the saga of the missing collab on twitter and am happy to finally see it! super fun! excited to see your combined awesomness <3

  9. Russelle Adams 14/06/2011 at 18:18 #

    This is a great idea..I can’t wait to see what happens!

  10. Dianne 15/06/2011 at 04:35 #

    This is SUCH A GENIUS IDEA! x

  11. Maria Apostolou 15/06/2011 at 04:52 #

    So wonderful to see you two collaborating, only awesomeness can come out of this project!

  12. eraser carver 19/06/2011 at 14:27 #

    Oh, I adore this project idea! Looking forward to seeing more as your project progresses.

  13. Carol | @imsilverfeather 04/09/2011 at 12:38 #

    I can’t believe I’ve only just seen this. I followed Anika’s link ;) As I told her, you two have done a fantastic job. Your styles have such a cool way of being opposite and yet so content together. I love the feel of it. I absolutely must find some friends to do a collaborative project with now!
    So, tell me how you did the cover and inside first pages. I really like the text you printed there.

    • naturesmyfriend 06/09/2011 at 12:04 #

      The front, back and first page have all been done with a technique called “acetone transfer” or “solvent transfer.” Essentially you make a mirrored a xerox copy of your image or text, then securely place it face down onto the surface you want to transfer to, then using a solvent slowly dampen the back of the xerox page. The solvent helps to “loosen” the ink of the xerox. Using a burnisher (or a spoon) rub forcefully in all directions across the back of the page to transfer the ink onto your desired surface. This techniques gives it a somewhat ghostly feeling – not so stark and bold. The text I used was just a script font from Word. Hope that helps!!! Google Solvent Transfer or acetone transfer and you will probably find tons of tutorials. This technique can sometimes even be done with nail polish remover (a cheap acetone). Happy transferring!!

  14. Charlotte 13/09/2011 at 15:54 #

    I dOnt knOw where I was when this post came out, but I’m sad I missed it! What a great idea :-) and seeing your more recent posts, the sketchbooks have developed so well. Your illustrations compliment each other so nicely! Looking forward to seeing more pages. X

  15. Lisa Scott 22/04/2012 at 07:22 #



  1. back in the swing of things | - 03/09/2011

    […] Starmer (@aisforanika) sent me a package I’ve been anxiously awaiting, as it contained our collaborative project “patterns & paws.” Along with progressed sketchbooks was a bonny pile of treats: the original painting I won in […]

  2. patterns & paws – progress 1 | - 05/09/2011

    […] mid-June I did an original post titled “patterns & paws” which outlined an exciting new collaborative project I was doing with my pal Anika Starmer […]

  3. Patterns & Paws: Collaboration with Jessica Gowling | a is for anika - 05/09/2011

    […] a little more time & want some more info about this collab, I highly recommend checking out the very first post about it that Jessica wrote after I’d finally received the sketchbooks in the mail. She took actual photos of the […]

  4. patterns & paws – progress 3 | - 06/04/2012

    […] altered with our artwork colliding. If this is the first you have heard of this project, click here, here and here to see the previous (more detailed) posts along with the progressive development of […]

  5. patterns & paws – even more! | - 18/04/2012

    […] color and mine of paws & animals. If this is the first you have heard of the project, click here, here, here and here to watch the gradual evolution that these two sketchbooks have encountered […]

  6. patterns & paws returns « - 15/08/2012

    […] of patterns, I thought our work would be a great way to continue this initial idea of mine. The first post I wrote about this collaboration includes the specifics of the project while the following four […]

  7. hello patterns & paws | - 28/06/2013

    […] evolution of the project be sure to check out these six previous posts (in chronological order):  1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Below are my latest additions to the books: the first three photos capture my […]

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