Well, that time of year approaches and we’ve now got a new set of hand-prin­ted Christmas cards avail­able at our Etsy store.

Pixmas Tree

Click through for more/bigger pics

It’s anoth­er lino-cut print (like our Snowflake card), but in three col­ours instead of just the one. (Also, see here for my first encounter with lino-cut­ting and print­ing.) 

We call it a Pixmas tree — from ‘Pixel’ and ‘Xmas’, of course.  I liked the idea of a low-rez pixelated image, square and pre­cise, being rendered in the imper­fect, splodgy and tex­tured medi­um of hand-print­ing. 

And since it’s Inspiration Month here at Unruley Articles, I thought I’d talk a little bit about the inspir­a­tion for this image.

I knew I wanted to do a Christmas Tree for our cards this year — it’s my favour­ite bit of sea­son­al icon­o­graphy, and I knew I wanted to do anoth­er lino-cut. But I had a great deal of trouble arriv­ing at the image — I tried sev­er­al vari­ations but the designs always ended up either too com­plex for lino work, or too ‘seen it before’ to sat­is­fy me. I was stuck. So, ded­ic­ated pro­fes­sion­al that I am, I decided to put it aside and play a com­puter game.  

In com­mon with fully half the inter­net it seems, at the moment I’m play­ing a lot of Minecraft (game site, Wikipedia). Minecraft is a mod­ern game, but it looks like this:

Minecraft screen-shot

Under a square sun…

Everything is made of blocks: the hills and moun­tains are blocks; the sun, moon and stars are blocks; the water­falls, lakes and oceans are blocks, and, of course, the trees are blocks. The world of Minecraft is made of squares and blocks in the same way that our world is made of circles, cyl­in­ders and spheres. I really like the way that the game handles this pared-down and squared-off style with­in a mod­ern 3D graph­ics engine.

Now my Pixmas Tree looks noth­ing like a Minecraft tree, but that’s where the seed of the idea came from. What if I took a lo-fi image, like you might see in a 8‑bit video­game, but rather than dis­play­ing it in the pre­cise and sharp medi­um of a com­puter screen, instead prin­ted it, with all the human messi­ness that entails. Wouldn’t that be fun?

I went back to the draw­ing board (well, draw­ing screen) and played around with these con­cepts, finally com­ing up with our Pixmas Tree:

Pixmas Tree

Click through for more/bigger pics

So let me be the first to wish you a very Merry Pixmas!

Article Details

Item: Pixmas Tree Cards

Materials: Ink on tex­tured paper

Availability: Sorry, this item has been sold — but click here to request some­thing sim­il­ar

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2 Responses to Oh Pixmas Tree!

  1. […] with and giv­ing (mostly) hand­made good­ies. Orna­ments from my craft­mas exper­i­ment, hand­made cards, a dec­or­ated wreath of reclaimed cut­tings from a loc­al park instead of a tree, and oodles of […]

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