Friday, January 26, 2007

Presston Plush Pre-order On Sale Now!

Presston Plush Pre-order will go live TODAY, February 2nd, at 12:00 PM (noon) Pacific Time.
Order here!


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Jeremiah Ketner--AS Card #13

Lucky Number 13! Our latest artist series card is by Jeremiah Ketner, a Chicago-based Visual Artist. Ketner draws inspiration from Japanese aesthetics, packaging design, magazine ads and urban graffiti. He has exhibited in group shows in Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Houston, Detroit and all over the Midwest, in addition to a recent solo stint at Milwaukee’s Hotcakes Gallery. He shares a sunny, cozy apartment with his wife, baby boys and two lovely kitties, where they enjoy sipping Kona Coffee among other activities.

•Limited to 500 numbered cards.
•Foil stamped in red on French Construction Slate Blue 100lb cover stock.
•Accompanied by red envelopes.
•A2 (4.25"x5.5") size folded cards, blank inside.

Sold out.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Presston Plush Part VI

Fifth Step--Manufacturing

The prototypes are done, we worked out some kinks and have them figured out for production. Actual production is going to be a bit different, instead of printing first and then cutting out the panels, we have cut out blank panels first which will then be printed. Bought six or so yards of the new fabric (mentioned in the previous post) and took them to a factory here in Fresno. This is the fabric all laid out, and off to the side is my friend Wade who helped with this part of the process.

We folded the fabric in half and then back upon itself about 8 or 9 times. Wade traced the template on the fabric and these two nice guys cut it out with this massive fabric blade. What they did in 15 minutes would have taken me about 25 hand-cramping hours (at least).

A stack of cut panels:

L to R: The first template, which was simply printed from a computer file, a stack of panels, and the template Wade used to trace them out:

A fat stack of panels just waiting to be printed, sewn and stuffed. Can't wait till I get to start stuffing these things!! @_@

Since we have already shown the printing process, and many of the other steps, the next update will most likely be the Pre-Order information. Presston Plush will be available via pre-order very soon. Keep your eyes peeled!


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Presston Plush Part V

Fourth Step--Testing Materials

Have been shopping around for different materials to make and stuff Presston with. I found a better fabric (I hope) that is a little more of an off-white and has some stretch to it. The pure white of the fabric I used for the protos didn't quite look right to me.
Also tried out a couple stuffing options. Poly-fil® (a soft polyester fiberfill) is a standard for plush figures, but there are also Poly-Pellets®, little clear balls that are often used in stuffed figures to add weight to certain parts, ala Beanie Babies. It was easy to use, and filled the figure out nicely, but it required using much more volume-wise than the fiber stuffing. Also, those little buggers tend to get away from a person, and that could be messy (and bad news with a cat around!). Since Presston is a bit hydrocephalic (and has a skinny neck to boot) the head was all floppy. I then tried a combination of the two, with the head and neck filled with Poly-fil®, and the body filled with the pellets. Worked nicely, but the pellets didn't offer a better look or add enough weight to make it worthwhile. We'll be sticking with Poly-fil® for the stuffing material.
Real production is slated to start in the next week or two. Keep checking the blog!!


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Presston Plush Part IV

Third Step--(Nearly) Finished Prototypes

Three have been stuffed so far, one by my mom (far right) and two by me. I think hers looks the best. I overstuffed mine and it tends to deform them a bit too much. Below are two more dudes waiting to be stuffed. We tried one on a tan fabric and I ain't diggin' it too much.
What's shown here are our first efforts. We experimented with the sewing and stuffing to see what worked best. A larger border made stuffing easier, and as mentioned it appears that less stuffing is better than more.

Because of Presston's shape, the severe curves and sharp angles, it is pretty near impossible to follow his exact lines. At least when doing it by hand. I'm sure this is possible with a fully manufactured plush, but that costs mucho $$$.
I am starting to think that ditching the legs might make things easier as well as a little more pleasing to the eye. Would also allow us to add a bit more bulk to the figure.


Presston Plush Part III

Second Step Continued--Sewing & Stuffing

Mom graciously agreed to sew up a couple of the prototypes for me. That's her and my niece, who I guess is overseeing QC. She's a taskmaster so I'm sure she kept her Nana in line. (Note Spongebob jammies.)

How old is this sewing machine? Sorry for the blurry pics, we'd been imbibing. :)

Starting to stuff. This part is a bit laborious, as you can see in this series of pics. Note the eyes glazing over bit by bit. I'm really gonna do 50 of these?

Up next... Pics of the stuffed protos.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Presston Plush Part II

Second Step--The Prototype

Got a lot accomplished the first day of actual production.
Henry and I worked on creating the prototype (well, Henry did most of the work, I took pictures!), which is the "model" for the finished piece. Creating a prototype helps decide what fabric to use, what colors to print, and most importantly it lets you know if the figure can be "mass produced." And the first step in creating the prototype was printing it up.
I picked Henry up at 10:00 AM and we went to his shop. Cool pic, eh?

First thing we had to do was the color separations on the computer. That's Henry aka Loco. He's a genius with Illustrator. He's also a very good artist, an amazing hand-letterer, a great screen-printer, and an all around good guy.

Everything that's going to be printed blue is put together, and the same with everything that is going to be printed red. Since you have to make film positives of the images all the colors are changed to black.

These get printed on mylar. Since the images are quite large (Presston Plush will be about 10 1/2 inches high) we had to print up three sheets for each color. Here's one of the mylar sheets coming out of the printer.

Next thing to do was wash a couple of screens. Henry got to do that fun job. Did I mention it was about 37° in the shop? Poor guy.

Then all the mylar sheets had to be taped together to make two large positive images (one for each color). These are the "blue" parts being taped up. This is what will create the image on the screen. Screenprinting is a very interesting process which I thought I understood fairly well, but I learned a lot more about it by watching Henry.

Henry then sets up the fabric and positives on the press exactly how we want them printed.

A screen that has been treated with emulsion is then put on the press and this postitive image is attached to it with tape. By setting up the screen this way we don't need to mess with registration later on. Henry's smart!

Now the image is burned onto the screen in this light box (can't remember the technical term for this gizmo, but it's a box with lights in it, hence "light box").

After three minutes we have our screen. It has to be washed again which blasts off the area where the positive image was. The rest of the emulsion on the screen (the pinkish areas) is harder than the areas that were covered by the positive image so it doesn't get washed away. And yes, that is Henry doing all the work again. Someone had to take the pictures and drink coffee.

Both screens are put on the press and we're ready to print.

Henry mixes the inks and puts some of the ink on the screens. First blue is pulled...

And then red...

Here's the first try! Looks pretty good to me. :)

And there it goes through the dryer...

A stack of Presston Plush Prototype Panels (say that five times fast). We only printed twelve panels, of which 4 or so will be sewn and stuffed by hand, and the others will be given to professional sewers to see what might need to be modified.

That's me in my PJs trimming out a panel. You can't see the dotted lines we printed, but that's the only way I would be able to cut each panel the same.

Two cut panels. These are ready to be sewn and stuffed. Very curious to see how they will look after being stuffed. Gotta wait for that.

Next step... convincing my mom to sew four or five of these things up for me! :)


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Presston Plush Part I

This is the first entry in the Presston Plush creation blog. Over the next few weeks I will be detailing the numerous steps from concept to finished product with pictures and text.

First step--The Artwork.

As I've mentioned numerous times by now, the LP logo was created by Brian Taylor. My buddy Henry Contreras, aka Loco, a screenprinter and freelance designer here in Fresno, helped me create this colorized version and basic template that will be used for printing and cutting out the pattern.
Above is a rough version of the art from which the silkscreens will be made. The dotted line represents the trim line, and the off-white (which won't actually be printed) is a guide for the sewers. Those two diagonal lines are an anomaly and don't belong there.
Not much comes through from a two-dimensional image, so stay tuned to see the evolution of Presston Plush.
Next step is doing the color separations on the computer. More about that tomorrow.