Coming from a very digital based artist in my last post, this blog focuses on a much more hand-crafted and tactile designer. Derrick Castle is a designer/illustrator from Nashville, Tennessee, and works primarily with block printing. He has worked with many worldwide brands such as NIKE, Harley Davidson and Miller Highlife, and designs heavily illustrative graphic design work. Straw Castle is Derrick’s personal brand where he designs t-shirts, embroidered patches, and original block prints.
Block printing, also known as relief printing, is a form of relief printing where an image or illustration is hand-carved into a material such as wood or linoleum, then a thin layer of ink is rolled onto the block, and pressed onto paper or cloth to create the relief print. Block printing is an very time-consuming process, with the carving of each block, on a detailed illustration, taking hours of careful and precise work.
Below: Cutting progress and final relief print of a Mexican folk art inspired illustration.
Below: Illustration, cutting progress and final relief print of an H.P. Lovecraft illustration.
Below: Illustration for the 2014 Miller and Harley-Davidson Artist Series beer cans.
However Derrick’s work isn’t limited to a single technique. The illustration above was hand-drawn and then digitized in Adobe Illustrator. The traditional tattoo flash poster below was screen printed, not block printed. Even with these different techniques the overall style of Derrick’s illustrations is consistent and the quality is amazing. I’m a huge fan of the tattoo style flash poster (below). This is a style of illustration that I really love and I’m creating considering a personal project based on it this summer.
Below: Screen printed poster artwork for American traditional tattoo flash.
Below: Cutting progress and final relief print of an Art Nouveau style illustration.
Below: Cutting progress and final relief print with letterpressed type.
I really like the personal style that you can see in Derrick’s illustrations, which clearly shows his own personal illustration tastes, such as Art Nouveau, American traditional tattoo flash and Mexican folk art styles. It doesn’t hurt that I like a lot of the same styles. I also love the way each of these very unique influences in the illustration are easily identifiable as part of the same portfolio by using the consistent look of block printing, even when other techniques are used.
If you want to check out Derrick’s work I’ve linked his pages below.