Accent On: The Little Friends of Printmaking

By: Karin King

Jun 26, 2020

When the live component of our Accent® Opaque Portfolio Exchange was postponed, we decided to take the conversation online. Next up in our series of conversations with the participating exchange artists: The Little Friends of Printmaking

JW & Melissa Buchanan are two fun-loving illustrators, printmakers and designers who live in Los Angeles and are the husband-and-wife team behind The Little Friends of Printmaking. Their work has been featured in books including New Masters of Poster Design and Handmade Nation and has appeared in magazines including Bloomberg BusinessWeek and WIRED.

About the print they created for this portfolio exchange, The Little Friends said, “Our concept is to have a little rabbit writer who has a rustic, improvised office in a forest clearing. His desk is a stump and his chair is a toadstool; other office accoutrements are hung on nearby trees. Everything should feel overgrown, moss-covered, and so on, with little plants sprouting from unexpected places.” The finished print turned out even more whimsical than we’d imagined, with the bunny hard at work on a tiny typewriter, surrounded by forest friends — a bird, a squ

irrel, and a frog in a sweater holding a steaming cup of coffee. 

We recently caught up with The Little Friends of Printmaking to hear more about this project and how they’re staying creative during the pandemic.

Little Friends of Printmaking

The central theme of the Accent Opaque Portfolio Exchange is “sustainability.” How did you approach this theme?

When we thought of paper and sustainability, the first thing that came to our mind was wildlife and protecting forest habitats. (We’re kind of crazy about animals.) Paper like this is a rare consumer choice that actively improves things; and once you have the thought, “What paper would forest creatures choose?” all of a sudden you’re thinking “How would they use paper? Do they have a little home office in a forest glen?” And then you’re off to the races, drawing a very silly picture.

Little Friends of Printmaking

This project was already underway when our world was changed by a global pandemic. Has living through this affected your artistic process?

Hilariously, no. Our art practice was a rather solitary pursuit before, and remains so.

Do you view the work you created for the Portfolio Exchange differently today than you did when you created it? If so, how?

Well, we’re all intimately acquainted with home offices now! We hope you’re all not tired of thinking about them!

Little Friends of Printmaking HOW Art Piece

Where are you turning for inspiration during this time?

Usually, we’re going out to the movies or flea markets or hiking in the mountains above Los Angeles, but now we’re rereading old books and doing little craft projects around the house.

Now more than ever, there’s a focus on supporting the ​local businesses that make our communities great. What’s one from your own community that you think everyone should know about? 

Vroman’s Bookstore here in Pasadena is the oldest bookstore in California. It’s a delight. While you’re here, get a breakfast burrito from Lucky Boy and make a day of it!

The Accent community is made up of artists, designers and printers. If you could send this group one message right now, what would it be? 

Keep making stuff! Crises and tragedies just increase the need for new art and design to help us understand things, inform us, process our feelings or provide a welcome distraction. Keep it up!

Thanks to The Little Friends of Printmaking for taking the time to chat. Follow them on Instagram (@littlefriendsof) for some fantastic printmaking process videos and check out the prints for sale in their web store.