New mini-comic in progress

Vacation? What vacation? The philosophy here at Monkey-Rope Press is one of upbeat tirelessness! That is to say, I tried taking a few days off after the "Sounds and Seas" marathon and then again after the 3 custom projects and it just felt weird, so back to work for me. I'm scheduled to start In the Sounds and Seas: Volume III after the Chicago Alternative Press Expo in mid June, and until then I'm using the time to try my hand at new smaller projects.

Above are the first two rough scans of pages for a mini-comic set to debut at SPACE (Columbus Ohio's Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo) in two weeks. The book is about Ranger 7, an unmanned rocket that was the first to take close-up pictures of the moon. It was a kamakaze flight: the reason they were so close up is because it was an impact mission. I've been wanting to do a project about space for a while, and I think the allure is similar to the draw of the ocean/nautical narratives I've been working on recently: extreme isolation, extreme feats of technology and craftsmanship and fragility, at an almost inconceivable scale where all of those feats of technology and craftsmanship are ultimately insignificant. I love that Ranger 7 is such a sophisticated, ambitious and world-changing piece of technology that is designed to crash.

While I'm working on this, I'm also collaborating with friend and poet Jessey Nickells on an illustrated chapbook for her poem Things that are Like Baptism. I'm still working out the structure of that book project, but am looking forward to pushing myself with color in my illustrations.

Back to work!


Pavilions and Summer Sunshine: Spring Wedding Invitation #3

I am proud to share the third and final of this season's hand-carved, hand-printed wedding invitation prints! The couple gave me delightfully free reign to design their wedding invitation, with no limitations or guidelines beyond a few modest typographic preferences. They are very thoughtful people, and shared that they are moving through the wedding planning process striving to strike a balance between political awareness and social responsibility as they get married at a time when not all citizens have that freedom, and wanting to have a ceremony and reception that would be joyful and celebratory of their love and commitment. 

With this highly personal spirit in mind, I incorporated decorative elements from the beautiful late-19th century park pavilion where they are getting married for the opening panels of the trifold design, which opens up to a bright tree behind the ceremony and reception details. The warm mustardy yellow, green leaves and blue text were summery fun colors to work with, and I was tickled to have the opportunity to challenge myself with the folded design and small serif type to carve. I couldn't be happier with the end result, and I wish Eleanor and Hayden all the happiness in the world!

This 8.5" x 11" tri-fold invitation was printed at the Starshaped Press studio on a Vandercook proof press from hand-carved linoleum blocks on French cover stock paper. Designed, carved and printed by Marnie Galloway. April 2012.


Upcoming Events: Comics, Workshops, Prints and Food

Mark your calendars! The coming two weeks are full of great events:

This Friday, March 23 I am excited to attend (as an eager audience member) Brain Frame, where comic artists interpret their illustrative work in avant-garde performances. Join me at 1542 N Milwaukee Ave, second floor, at 8PM, to see the next installment of what sounds like a really interesting event. $5

The beautiful sunny storefront at Evanston Print & Paper

This coming Saturday, March 24, from 10am - 4pm I am teaching a 2-color Linoleum Block Printing workshop at Evanston Print and Paper Shop. Students will learn how to plan a multi-color relief print, safely carve the blocks and use a Vandercook proof press to produce a small edition of their print. There is still room in the class if you find yourself with a free Saturday and an interest in getting inky! (Also, I'm bringing M&Ms. VERY important.) Call the studio to register: 847-475-7674

Also on Saturday afternoon is the opening of the Chicago Printmakers Collaborative Cycle-Pedia group exhibit, featuring prints and works on paper with a wheeled-things theme. The Cycle-Pedia exhibit runs from March 24th to April 30th at 4642 N. Western Avenue, across the street from the Western stop on the Brown line.  Would that I could be 2 places at once: knowing the good folks behind the show, the opening promises to be a lot of fun!


On Sunday, April 1st is Evanston Print & Paper's first-annual Edible Books celebration! Bring a book-themed food-thing and get in for free, or pay $5 to eat and judge and talk books with some lovely printmakers and book artists.


Style & Advertisements: March Wedding Invitation #2

We're still reveling in wedding season here at Monkey-Rope Press!

It was a real pleasure to collaborate with the couple on this month's second invitation project. Both partners had a clearly articulated aesthetic: inspired by Mad Men, they wanted an invitation that was reminiscent of print ads in the 1950s, but with details that reflected their modern fashion (tattoos, etc). While Monkey-Rope Press's linoleum-cut print method cannot duplicate the distinctive watercolor illustrations of so many 1950s ads, I was able to use the composition and typographic design of some mid-century advertisements as a launching off point for my own design.

Printed on a concrete-gray cover stock paper, these 5-color, 2-sided 8.5" x 11" invitations were printed at Evanston Print and Paper Shop on a Vandercook proof press using hand-carved linoleum blocks, including hand-carved text. Three cheers and great happiness to Carl & Ashleigh!


In the Sounds and Seas and Chicago Zine Fest 2012

After four months of cramped fingers and extreme anti-social behavior, In the Sounds and Seas: Volume 2 is finished!

I picked up the books from Salsedo Press in my zipcar on Monday, March 5, after a night of extremely literal stress dreams in which I had forgotten to scan & submit a whole 5-page section of the book. The anxiety was for nothing: the books are lovely. As always, I can say nothing but complimentary things about the work done by the good folks at Salsedo. The books are printed crisply, bound with precision and the turn-around time is very fast. More than the high-quality production, it is a genuine pleasure to work with the people at Salsedo, who are helpful, interested and patient with a sometimes-nervous artist. If anyone in my little reading audience ever finds themselves in need of high-quality offset printing or bindery work at a reasonable price, I could not recommend Salsedo more heartily.

Once the books were in my hands, I could focus on preparing in earnest for Chicago Zine Fest, where I planned to debut the second book. Late last summer I started building a model of the Spray, a historic sloop that Joshua Slocum sailed solo around the world in the late 1890s, the first person to accomplish the feat. I built the model partly to have experience building a ship (which is an important part of the action in Volumes 2 & 3), partly to have a model to help with future illustrations, and partly to use as a sign at book events. At the beginning of the week, when my books were in my hands, I had a finished if undetailed body of a ship, a pile of fabric and some embroidery floss.

...and if anyone ever tells you that this can turn into a finished model in 3 days without losing sleep, they are dirty liars. I hand-embroidered the name of the book series on the main sail and finished the boat by Thursday night, giving me Friday to finish carving the blocks for an upcoming invitation project and assemble my wares for Chicago Zine Fest

Early on Saturday March 11, the morning of Zine Fest, I packed up my rolling cart full of books, cards, table cover and my ship and headed to the train.

First noteworthy lesson of the day: model ship sails catch the wind just as effectively as their full-sized counterparts. The main boom broke from the mast and swung about wildly in the morning wind which, while nerve-wracking, was an easily mendable problem. A few touches of super glue at the event and all was back to normal.

The spaces at Zine Fest were allotted by the half-table, so my 2' ship took up the lions share of the 3' table space. I displayed a copy of each volume on book stands, offered a trade on my Assassin's Elan for $3 or zines or food a good joke, and gave out business cards, candy and flyers for my upcoming linocut workshop at Evanston Print & Paper.

This was my view the whole day:

In contrast with the frantic build up to the event, I had a really relaxed and wonderful time. I couldn't have asked for better neighbors in the thoughtful, talented and gobsmackingly prolific Cristy C. Road and the hilarious crowd behind Macklin Brundage's punk zine distro, all of whom were generous and friendly and fun to spend the day with. I also made out like a bandit: through trades and a few purchases, I left the event with a dragon's horde of inspiring independently published books and comics.

See for instance, among all the talented folks, the lovely work of Sara Drake, Talya Modlin, Cathy G. Johnson, Kevin Budnik, Edie Fake, Rebecca Mir and friend & fellow Texan Marian Runk.

I met some intimidatingly talented people, learned from and taught folks about various production methods, heard some pretty great jokes and left the event energized and optimistic. After spending so many months in isolated production, getting out into the world with my book was a wonderful experience. If I could do an event like this every weekend, I would in a heartbeat.

Now that the book has Officially Debuted, it is available for sale on Etsy! You can buy it individually or as part of a full subscription. I have also offered a partial subscription for people who bought the first book but want to jump on the discount bandwagon. Full pictures of the book are listed under Books and Comics.

* * * As always, thanks are in order to my husband Tom, without whom I physically could not have met these deadlines. He cooked meals, stayed up with me on late nights, and cleaned up our little apartment enough that I didn't die in a hoarder's avalanche through these last few weeks of mad making. Thank you to my mom Lori for leading by example, showing me my whole life that the best way to do a thing or make a thing is to jump in head-first, to my dad Jerry for making drawing a shared game, to my siblings Katie and Will for their encouragement and support, and to all of my friends who have been patient with me through these months of absence and silence. My fingers might have drawn the book, but it was a community effort. Thank you all.