You're walking in the woods. There's no one around and your phone is dead. Suddenly filling your ears, you hear them.
So many gosh darn frogs makin' such a RACKET.
But like, we love them for it, right?
Inspired by a theme of love and friendship, The Midnight Croaking is a piece that, well, I'm not sure is finished yet. I mean it's definitely finished, you can see it at the bottom of this article, but I'm not sure this is its final form. And given that this week is Valentine's Day, I figured it was a good time to talk about it. So let's talk about the themes and process behind Midnight Croaking.
It started as a tattoo design for a literary character and not someone who actually exists, so I had the description of the design but didn't really need to worry about the specifics... until of course it got stuck in my head and I HAD to do something about it.
Soo I sketched it. And I painted it. Then I sketched again and painted it again... but stopped that second painting halfway through because I decided it was the wrong medium.
Given that it was originally a tattoo, I decided it needed to be heavier on the lineart. Black and white, maybe. Then I thought, hey, I have an idea-
HECK YEAH BLOCK PRINTING
So I drew it again, hammered out the details. Then I took it into Photoshop to make it all black and white as well as reverse the image- a very important and sometimes overlooked (by me) detail when making block prints like this.
And eventually I had my black and white stamp of 2 little frogs enjoying each other's company while looking up at the moon.
So why did I decide that this was the right medium, and not paint or something else? Well, I think the simplicity of it lets the viewer focus on the essentials without getting bogged down with the details of a brushmark. The inconsistency in texture. And I felt like challenging myself.
One thing I enjoy about linocut style art like this is the challenge presented with the lack of gradients. Using small hatchmarks to give the illusion instead or using detail to distinguish shapes from one another. How to tell the difference between the lotus petal and leaf? A few lines around the ridge did the trick, as well as the difference between black and white.
And it's only a moment. A breath in the air.
While the frog characters are the main focus and clearly very present, there are also cherry blossoms, representing the sweet, ephemeral nature of life and its quiet moments. Suspended for just a second in the moonlight, they fall around our little lovers who are safe and content, soaking up the midnight hours. The moon shines on them, breaking up that dark, inky night, illuminating the nature that surrounds them and the frogs themselves, because they are what matters, not the shadows.
Carved out of the shadow, little moments of respite, together through it all.
Are they friends? Are they lovers? Well, that's for the viewer to decide. The point is they are companions, and they are illuminated.
And what else is Valentine's Day about than being together with the one you love? Whoever they might be. So while not a Valentine's Day piece, it is perfectly suited to Valentine's Day, if you ask me. Whatever flimsy excuse I can use to talk about The Process, really ;)
It was, as always, an interesting exercise, and I am very proud of this piece. However... don't be surprised if these two little lovelies show up again in a new version of themselves.
In the meantime, this piece is available as a print AND a sticker! Get yours here, and watch a little print process here. Buy 4 individual stickers of any pattern and get the 5th for free, no promo code needed, and save 10% on prints with promo code theprocess
Thank you for reading, and have a lovely day ♥