Timeout with Derrick Castle

Timeouts are lightning-quick interviews. Five questions to help you get to know the players holding court at Dribbble. Many thanks to Derrick for being today’s interviewee.

Who are you? Let us know where you hail from and what you do.

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My name is Derrick Castle, I’m a Nashville-based graphic designer/illustrator. I’ve been working as an in-house graphic designer for a Fortune 100 company for over a decade. Recently I’ve been putting more and more focus on my freelance career working for major merchandising companies, retailers and agencies. All the while building my own brand, with a focus on primitive printing techniques like block printing.

What are you working on?

I’m currently spending a lot of time exploring block printing. I’ve been hitting the local Nashville market with my prints and T-shirts through the craft fair scene. I believe this has been a turning point in my career, making connections on a local level and wholesaling my prints in local storefronts. I’m currently working on a Kentucky Bluegrass print in celebration of our friends to the north in Bourbon Country.

Choose a favorite shot of yours. Tell us why it’s a favorite.

It’s hard for me to pick a favorite shot of my own. I don’t want to sound like a narcissist but I guess I’d have to say The Hands That Built America - Carving maybe? The thing that I like about this shot is it really captures the process of block printing. It’s a therapeutic but time-consuming process. This shot shows all the thin slithers of carved linoleum and the heads-down approach to block printing.

Tell us about your setup. What tools did you use to create the shot (e.g. hardware, software, pens, paper, blowtorch)?

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Depending what I’m working on, I have different sets of tools. I’ll focus on block printing. I start out with pencil and paper in order to capture my idea. Working with my initial sketch, I tweak and get it to the point where I’m happy, then flip the drawing to its mirrored image for relief printing. Sometimes I use tracing paper to do this but if I’m feeling lazy, I’ll scan and flip the canvas in Photoshop. From there I trace the image onto a linoleum block using carbon transfer. Next I ink the block with my Faber-Castell brush pens, then carve the negative space using block carving tools. When it’s time to print, I use stock from my favorite paper company, French Paper Co., and print using Speedball block printing inks. I hang each print to dry using twine and clothespins. That’s pretty much it!

Choose a favorite shot from another player. Tell us why you dig it.

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I wish I could choose more than one. There are so many different Dribbblers’ work that I enjoy, everything from detailed illustration to simplistic marks and typography. If I have to pick just one, I’d have to go with a recent favorite, The Return of Bald Eagles by Jacqui Oakley. I just love love love Jacqui’s beautiful graphic paintings and I discovered her work here on Dribbble. I think what I enjoy most about her work is the technique that she uses. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. This shot displays so much in the way of technical skill, color theory and composition. Just wonderful work!

Find Derrick at Dribbble, on Twitter, at Straw Castle.

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