2x2:2 Artists, 2 Sketchbooks -- Week 8 and Some Thoughts on Trying Something New

I am so excited about this week's spread. It's kind of funny because it may not look like much, but it was a big step for me and I'm proud of my page.

Dana's page of painted circles made me think of bubbles. I planned out my page in my head, imagining illustrating a bubble wand and bubbles using a black micron. Before I sat down to do it, I had a brainstorm. I could block print my page instead of drawing it (this time I'm very glad that I did not wait till the last minute).

2x2, #2x2Sketchbook, 2x2 Sketchbook, Sketchbooks, Dana Barbieri, Anne Butera, Painting, Block Printing, Art Collaboration
Dana (l), Anne (r)
Maybe my brainstorm doesn't seem like a big deal and maybe my page doesn't seem like much to be proud of, but here's the thing, I have been wanting to try block printing for a very long time. I bought a kit with tools and supplies long before we moved. I kept putting off trying it. I knew it wouldn't be easy and that there would be a learning curve and I was afraid of getting discouraged (and possibly injuring myself -- I'm fairly clumsy doing most things).

One of the things I love about this project, and about sketchbooks in general, is the chance to try new things, experiment, have fun without any pressure. And so, no more excuses.

I started out with one bubble as a test. I was planning on just trying out the different tips and making marks (as recommended in this post), but then I drew out a few other circles and finally the bubble wand and just kept carving.

lino block, block carving, block printing, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Was it easy? No. My hand and wrist were aching by the time I stopped each day (I worked on it over two days), but I didn't cut myself. I need so much more practice. Sometimes it felt as if I was getting the hang of it and the blade would move easily. Other times it was far more difficult and awkward. But I did it. I carved the whole thing. It wasn't really a design -- I hadn't planned it out at all before starting, just drew another bit after another bit -- but it was my first block and I was proud of it.

I knew I wanted to cut it up and use each of the parts to create my page as if they were stamps, but before I did that I wanted to do a couple prints of the whole block.

block printing, lino cutting, sketchbook, bubbles, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Again, it may not look like much, but I was celebrating. Almost surprised that it actually worked.

To make my page for our collaborative sketchbook I cut the block and attached my pieces to the other sides of some commercial stamps I never use.

stamps, block printing, recycling

I tested them with a stamp pad and wasn't happy with how that looked (I am just not very good at stamping) so I ended up using block printing ink applied with the brayer.

2x2 sketchbook, #2x2sketchbook, Dana Barbieri, Anne Butera, Painting, Block Printing, Sketchbook
Dana (l), Anne (r)

I think the 2 pages work well together.

block printing, 2x2 Sketchbook, #2x2Sketchbook, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

And I kind of love my little bubble wand.

Is there something that you've been wanting to try doing, but keep putting off? What are you waiting for? Try it. You'll be glad you did.

Be sure to stop by Dana's blog for her take on this week's pages.

About the project:

2x2: 2 Artists, 2 Sketchbooks is a collaboration between artists Dana Barbieri and Anne Butera. Dana and Anne met in an online painting class. Although they have never met in person, they have become friends through regular visits to each others' blogs. It was through this connection that this project began. Wanting to move from friendship to collaboration, each spent two months filling one half of a sketchbook before mailing it off to the other. Dana worked on the lefthand pages and Anne on the right. Each will be responding to the other's work on the adjacent sketchbook pages over the coming year. Watch weekly as they reveal another page of their story.

About the artists:

Dana is an artist and crafter living in the foothills of the Catskill mountains two hours north of New York City with her husband, two children and little kitty. She is passionate about painting, knitting, crochet, color, pattern and design.

Anne is an artist, writer and crafter who finds inspiration and joy in the beauty of her garden and the magic of nature. Dissatisfied with and disheartened by the pace and lifestyle of the city, she and her husband (with their two rescued greyhounds and an aging Siamese) relocated to a small town in the beautiful Driftless region in southwest Wisconsin with the goal of living a slower, simpler, more intentional life.


  1. This is just wonderful. Love the wand.

  2. It's so summery and fun! I have to laugh because my family is very used to hearing things fall and break when I'm in the kitchen so I understand about the clumsiness. You did great!

    1. Yes, my family jokes about my clumsiness. I can hurt myself when I'm just standing still. Ah well...

  3. These are great! I was bought a lino cutting set a couple of years ago and not yet had the courage to try it! I too am nervous about cutting myself and working with sharp objects but now I feel I just might give it a go. I like the idea of stamping over the coloured 'bubbles' too (if they were mine!) I really like how you are both inspiring each other with your designs. :-)

    1. You should try it, Simone! Just make sure you're always aiming the blade away from you and you'll be fine.

      Thanks so much for your encouragement!

  4. Love Love Love! I think I have this same kit and hated my first attempt. I'm going to try again, thanks to you. My very most favorite thing about block prints are the little bits that make marks on the page - that's how you can tell it's a block print!!!

    PS in a class I am taking the teacher showed me some large white rubbed squares, resembling oversized erasers, that can be cut easily and give nearly the same effect. I'll find out where she got them.

    1. Yes, I've heard of that but never seen it for sale. Maybe I didn't know what to call it.

  5. rubber, not rubbed . . . sorry


Post a Comment