Inky Fingers

I’m beginning to realize that the “tell” of a printmaker is inky fingers. Or, perhaps it is the tell of a novice printmaker—someone like me who hasn’t quite figured out how to make prints and not get ink all over the show. From screen printing yesterday to block printing today, my fingernails are stained a lovely shade of black!

I figure that my black fingernails are all part of the process—the trial and error process—there’s a whole lot of trial and error going on over here! I tried out some new block printing ink today, and boy was I getting black finger prints everywhere! I did manage to snap a photograph of the process, and there are black fingerprints on my camera to prove it.

Working today, I started thinking about how hard it can be, when you’re an adult, to try and learn something new. You have to be willing to mess up, do a pathetic job, and in general be very, very bad at the thing. This is so much easier when you’re a kid because when you’re young everything’s new and so you’re generally bad at everything—I mean, I remember falling into a bush when I first learned to ride my bike!

For some reason, at least for most of us, when you become an adult you start thinking that you’re not supposed to do anything that makes you look like an idiot anymore. We spend loads of time just trying to preserve this image of ourselves as non-failers. I see this in myself, and it definitely has creeped up during some of my printing sessions—that little annoyed feeling of: “this will never be perfect so why bother?”

But hey, what’s that famous quote by Einstein (I think)? “If you never fail, you never try anything new”? I think that’s right on! So I’m embracing my own personal sucktasticness in learning something new and getting black ink on every surface of my home. Who’s with me?

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4 Responses to “Inky Fingers”


  1. 1 Grace July 1, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    “Embracing my personal sucktasticness” is now my new favorite phrase! And I promise I will start quit delaying the start of my new project, dive right in, and embrace whatever I create.

  2. 2 Kerri July 3, 2010 at 1:57 am

    I’m with you! I have spent so many years afraid of failure, but suddenly in the last few months that fear has mostly gone. I actually quite enjoy doing things badly now! Hey, how did the bird lino print turn out? I’ve been dying to see it!

  3. 3 Era July 8, 2010 at 5:03 am

    I’ve been in a serious period of transition and this could not ring more true than right now. Call me!

  4. 4 artistamarie January 5, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    i know this is an old post, but i love it! made me wonder why i’m so dang hard on myself all the time. waste too much time and opportunity trying “not to look like an idiot”. cheers to embracing personal sucktasticness!


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Hello there! My name is Nicole K. Docimo, and I am an artist and writer from the U.S.A. but currently residing in Zurich, Switzerand. Thank you for visiting my blog!

Some Thoughts

"Be thirsty for the ultimate water,
and then be ready for what will
come pouring from the spring."
~Rumi

{from "Joy at Sudden Disappointment"
translated by C. Barks.}

~This Work ~

Unless otherwise noted, all images and writings on this blog were created by me, Nicole K. Docimo aka Blue Bicicletta. If you would like to share anything you see here for inspirational purposes online, I just ask that you kindly let folks know where you found it. If you are wanting to share/reproduce any of my work in any other way, or have any questions about how you will be sharing the work in relation to copyright, please contact me directly at nkdocimo {at} gmail {dot} com. Thanks!

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