Robert and I decided to select the cover of the Mr. Natural #1 comic book for our next serigraph edition. The comic was originally released in 1970, so we figured it would be appropriate to release the edition on the 50th Anniversary of Mr. Natural’s first comic book being published. Robert initially color separated the comic book cover with zip-a-tone screens for each color (Magenta-Cyan-Yellow and Black process printing). He made a few small mistakes, but he did a great job considering the size and constraints he was dealing with at that time. However, he did want to make some color changes to the new edition as he was never completely happy with the results of the original printing.

1. Robert created a color guide and sent it to me by mail from France. It’s a good example how clearly he sees the image in his mind, and how he knows exactly what he wants.


2. Before I start printing an edition, I need to create about ten masters with registration marks on them so I can properly register each color. I then use these masters to register each color before I start printing the “good” sheets of paper, otherwise known as the edition! Here’s a photo of a master sheet with the first color (brown shoes) printed afterwards.

3.Below is a photo of what the first color (brown shoes) looks like on a “good” sheet, one of the 90 prints in the edition.

4. Below is a photo of a master with three colors registered to and printed on it.

5. Below is what the edition looks like with 3 colors printed so far (brown shoes, blue border and orange stars).

6. Below is a photograph of the edition with a total of 8 colors printed.

7. Below is a photo of the edition with the background printed. Getting closer to finishing!

8. With Flakey’s blue suit and the dark red masthead color finally printed (below), we finally have all the colors down and we’re ready for the black key line! Showtime! This is the nerve-racking part–I hope & pray that everything lines up perfectly when I print the final color.

So before I printed the final color (black), I increased the humidity by 3% and it turned out to be the exact, correct amount. Because the paper is 100% rag, it swells if the humidity is too high, and shrinks if it's too dry. The more colors you print on a sheet of paper, the more it shrinks because as the water base inks dry, the cotton, once wet with it, shrinks slightly when it dries. So I have to slowly increase the humidity to offset the slight shrinking of the paper. So below is a photo a final print with the black down. Everything lined up. I'm relieved. It looks fantastic. The butt to butt registration lined up flawlessly. I shipped the edition to France where Crumb will sign it and then return it. If everything works out like it should, it should be back here in the first couple weeks of June. If anyone is interested in being notified when the edition will be released and for sale, you may sign up on the Newsletter on the front page of the site (left-hand side within the black bar). Cheers!


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