A Peek into Denise Fleming’s Studio

h1 May 19th, 2016 by jules


Pictured here is a gelatin print from author-illustrator Denise Fleming. She’s experimenting, while working on some new books. Since she chatted with me last week at Kirkus (here) about her latest picture book, Maggie and Michael Get Dressed (Henry Holt, April 2016), I wanted to follow up today here at 7-Imp with some images and art. She shares quite a bit of process art below, which is fascinating to see — and will have to do, since I can’t just pop over to her house and watch her do her thing.

I thank her for sharing.



Denise: “What greets me in the morning. This takes up a quarter of the studio. I have a large sink and two refrigerators. Pulp must be keep cold, or it will go bad.
On hot summer days, I crank up the AC in the studio. Drying press and vacuum table along with a design table and couching table are also needed. Under the blue cover
is pulling vat. White vat is for pouring.”

(Click to enlarge image)


Denise: “Pouring pulp onto screen. Water drains through screen. Fiber stays on top.”


Denise: “Maggie stencil. Background and Michael are already poured. Work wet on wet. Use squeeze bottle or plastic disposable cups to pour pulp inside stencil.”
(Click to enlarge image)


Denise: “Michael and Maggie in wet pulp.”
(Click to enlarge image)


Denise: “Tractor in wet pulp. Below are all the stencil pieces it took to create tractor. [This is] from 5 Little Ducks (Beach Lane, November 2016).”
(Click to enlarge image)


Denise: “Tractor stencil pieces.”
(Click to enlarge image)


Denise: “Close-up of wet pulp. You can see the individual fibers.
[This is] from
5 Little Ducks.”


Denise: “Wet pulp (5 Little Ducks).”
(Click to enlarge image)


Denise: “Wet art sandwiched between pellons, ready to go into vacuum table.”
(Click to enlarge image)


Denise: “Art in vacuum table. Excess water being removed from paper.”
(Click to enlarge image)


Denise: “Close-up of pressed dried sheet. Paper and image are one.”


Denise: “Dry, finished pulp painting. I love these little ducks. Papa duck is a worrier. Frog is Papa’s best friend.”
(Click to enlarge image)


Denise: “Great quote. Author unknown. Your art needs to reflect you —
not be a copy of what is trending.”


Denise: “Home-made gelatin plate for layered mono printing, which I am experimenting with for my next book. (Photo credit: Ashley Wolff.)”


Denise: “Gelatin print, texture and pattern.”
(Click to enlarge image)


Denise: “Pressed print for background.”
(Click to enlarge image)


Denise: “Experimental gelatin background print.”


Denise: “Gelatin background prints.”
(Click to enlarge image)


Denise: “Hedgehog is a double process relief print, which will be used with
the gelatin and press prints in my next book.”


Denise: “Rough sketches of characters.”




* * * * * * *

All images used by permission of Denise Fleming.

6 comments to “A Peek into Denise Fleming’s Studio”

  1. HOLY MOLEY. This artist is AMAZING.

  2. So much life in this work. The wet pulp technique looks fascinating—and what stunning results!

  3. I’ve always loved the vivid colors and texture in her work. And that hedgehog–LOVE it!!

  4. Thank you so much for posting this. Denise Fleming is one of my favorites and I love this quote shared here. She once said, in a session with Mark Mitchell’s class, that she thinks over half of us don’t really know what we are passionate about in our illustrations, because we haven’t ‘played’ enough. We get sucked into thinking that this is what I like to do, when we’re really not sure, but we don’t ‘scribble’ enough, and play with everything we have in our studios, to know what we really might like. How honest is that! So, let’s all go play more and discover things for ourselves. On gel mediums and layered mono printing – and may we each play to discover more of who we are in our own style!!!

  5. Speechless. How did she start doing this style? So vivid and textured. Absolutely gorgeous.

  6. Fascinating!

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