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Papillon Press – The Illustrated Press – Custom Letterpress Wedding Invitations » Illustrated Promotional CardsPapillon Press – The Illustrated Press – Custom Letterpress Wedding Invitations


Illustrated Promotional Cards

In addition to being letterpress printers here at Papillon Press, we also do illustration work for editorial clients. I (Joel)  just sent out a batch of new promotional postcards and decided to include a letterpressed card of my drawing of the Sudbury water tower. I drew this piece a few months ago (you can read about it here) and thought it would look great printed with the press, as so many things do.

Photopolymer plate of the Sudbury water tower

The first step was to scan the drawing at about 1200 dpi and clean up the lines a bit. I then sent the drawing off to Boxcar Press for them to create the photopolymer plate needed to make the print on the press. The amount of detail in the plate is really amazing. The small cross-hatched lines are almost invisible on the plate unless you tilt it into the proper light.

Blind printing

I made a print without any ink (called blind printing) and it gives a really nice appearance. Once I had the press set up with ink, the gauge pins set and the paper registered, (some pure black mixed with a bit of red) I was ready to start printing.

Painting the sky with watercolor

I printed 200 cards but about 7 of them were over-inked or fell under the press into the oily puddles below (a lot of oil is required to keep Claudette, our press, running smoothly). With those cards lost I ended up with a limited edition of 193 cards. I signed and numbered them all, but the most time-consuming part of all was laying down watercolor washes on each card to give them a colorful sky to contrast with the black ink. Here’s a shot (above) of a bunch of them laying out to dry. 193 of these things, that took a while.

Colorful edges on Crane Lettra paper

I really put down a lot of water on these cards and the colors bled over the tops to give an appearance of edge painting. I used Crane Lettra 110 lb paper for this project and they turned out great, even though it’s not the best paper for watercolor painting. I’m looking forward to doing more promo cards on the letterpress.

If you’re an illustrator or designer and want your promotional postcards printed on a letterpress, we can do that for you. Contact Papillon Press for more information to give your promo cards a really unique appearance and feel that art directors will want to hold on to.

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