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Anatomy of a Print: Mothra

Posted by Jordan Kushins on



In the beginning, there was Godzilla; then King Ghidorah came to cause trouble; next, Gamera started wreaking havoc. And now, after months of anticipation and preparation, Mothra finally touched down in San Francisco; the fourth in Eric’s Creature Feature series of iconic kaiju going nuts in our city by the bay.

Before the benevolent bug debuted at last weekend’s Roadworks Printing Festival—yup, she was pressed under a seven-ton steamroller on Rhode Island Street, right outside the SF Center for the Book—Eric conceptualized and carried out absolutely everything about the work of art, from layout to design to the carving itself. Here’s how he did it.

Welcome to Anatomy of a Print: Mothra edition.


This is an early incarnation of Mothra doing a Japantown flyover, just barely missing the Peace Pagoda. Eric pulled this together using images he took on a recon mission and online pics; and of course, Mothra would never appear without the ever-present Shobijin--twin fairies or "priestesses"--in the lower right corner who communicate telepathically with, and speak for, the oversized insect. 


Annie drew the version of Shobijin who made it into the subsequent versions of the illustration. Eric ordered a small, full-color Mothra figurine in order to get the markings and dimensions just right.anatomy-of-a-print-mothra-3

For inspo: The original trio over red Katakana text of their own names. Eventually, Mothra will be printed up like this as well. 


Eric added markings in the sky to match the backgrounds of the earlier three. The awed man in the lower right corner is Jean-Louis, his trainer, who posed outside the gym after a sesh one afternoon, and the dude in the middle is our very own Sean, who works at the studio on the weekends. Note the three flags: USA, Japan, and San Francisco, all flying together. Once the drawing was finished, Eric enlarged it to the super-big size of the linoleum plate--a whopping 36-inches by 36-inches. In the pic above, he's printed the final layout onto a sheet of proofing paper, which was laid over a sheet of Saral tracing paper, which were both placed on his plate; he then went over every line with a red pen to transfer the image onto the linoleum.  


Model Mothra, meet proofing paper Mothra. 


Time! To! Carve! Eric got a good chunk of this finished in his sunny backyard; pretty decent way to spend an afternoon. (Not pictured: Beer.)


Dunzo! The entire plate has been carved, and has yet to be inked up. A work of art in itself, this is. And now--drum roll please--pulling the first proof in the studio. 


So. Damn. Good. 


Eric and Annie do the honors of pulling this off the plate after a roll through the monotype press.


The plate, post-inking, post-pulling, post-proofing.

And there was more magic in store for this linoleum monster at the San Francisco Center for the Book's annual Roadworks Festival. Watch this baby get SMOOSHED under a seven-ton steamroller below!

And... Whoomp! There it is!  


Prints are available in our shop SOON. Stay tuned for more behind the scenes stories from our studio!


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