Trying something for the first time, whether it’s making art or skydiving, creates a bit of anxiety over whether it will work or not. Maybe you’ll fall flat on your face, hopefully not while skydiving.

My personal philosophy is to be an art adventurer. I say go for it, and if you fail, at least try to learn something.

I take a more methodical approach to my illustration and design clients, but experimentation is always part of the creative process. That said, i challenged myself to print a memorable giveaway for a discussion with a group of peers about the importance of “Creative Fulfillment”.

SAY YES letterpress coasters

New Territory
I had not attempted color-blending on the Gordon Letterpress up to this point. When it came time to create a presentation for Phoenix Creative Mornings, i knew it would be a perfect opportunity to tempt fate.

Having just ordered 4 stacks of lovely soft paper coasters, it was the perfect opportunity to go for a 2-plate, 3-color design. I have made this design work once before in monoscreen where the same principles of blending color apply, but letterpress ink is very different than screen ink.

I knocked out the blue “YES” in short order using a nice bright blue. Made sure to keep my alignment square.

Print in process after blue plate

The prints needed to dry overnight. They were dry to the touch after a few hours, but it was better to wait overnight and not risk the colors going soft or muddy.

The morning of my presentation i got up bright and early to pack up all my swag and digital files. I enjoyed a cup of coffee and a few anticipatory butterflies, then mixed up the red ink to finish the coaster print run. After squaring up the “SAY” plate, the press was inked with Fire red and i got to work.

Mixing red ink with a little white

Next came lining up the SAY plate and the YES plate, adjusting for visual center. Then a few dry test pressings are made to ensure it’s all square and even before adding ink.

SAY plate positioned in the Chase

Finally the press is inked with our bright transparent red and the final print is complete.


Glorious detail showing the relief of our print.

The small coaster format has potential to be an amazing vehicle for pocket sized art. My next step is to round up some creative minds and go to work on a coaster art series…. Phoenix style.


The completed 2-color coaster print


Thank You
To my clients, friends and fellow creatives, I’m offering you a FREE “SAY YES” coaster of your very own (while supplies last).

To get your free coaster, send me a self addressed #10 envelope with your name and address filled out, plus (2) stamps to cover postage.

Send envelope to:

Jon Arvizu
Trapdoor Studio
5820 N 83rd St.
Scottsdale, AZ 85250

To purchase a Coaster Set: (4) “SAY YES” coasters

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