For peeks at current works in progress, be sure to check out the News & Such page.
Monkey-Rope Press is a letterpress printing and small press comics publisher out of Chicago. But what does that look like in practice?
For the illustrations on all posters and broadsides, I hand-carve linoleum or wood blocks to create a printing surface. As such, each color requires a new block. For text, I use either antique wood or lead type, or I hand-carve the text. The blocks and type are then locked into the bed of a Vandercook proofing press and printed by hand on cover stock paper. For a step-by-step look at the printing process, I documented the print production of a portrait of transgender rights activist Christine Jorgensen from illustration to image transfer, carving to printing.
If you want more information on the physical process of letterpress printmaking, there is no shortage of extremely charming short videos on the craft's history and practice. I am personally fond of "Upside Down, Left to Right" from Plymouth University in the UK.
It is important to me, and a challenge, to produce work that is affordable and accessible without sacrificing quality of materiality or meaning. With that in mind, I purchase materials that are manufactured as locally as I can find (such as paper from French Paper Mill) and I work closely with studios that support green practices. (Many thanks on that front are owed to Evanston Print and Paper Shop and Starshaped Press.) All of our prints are for sale on our etsy shop.
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Monkey-Rope Press is also a small press comics publisher. Our debut book, "In the Sounds and Seas: Volume 1" was published the summer of 2011. Each book starts as a series of increasingly sophisticated mock-ups where I determine pacing and composition before moving on to the final illustrations. Each page is penciled and inked by hand; for Volume 1, each page averaged between 16 and 20 hours to illustrate. Once the drawings are complete, the scanned illustrations are sent to Salsedo Press in Chicago for offset print production. For "In the Sounds and Seas," I printed the cover myself using the relief printing process described above.