Friday, May 11, 2012

First colour

Block's cut for the first colour. The cut away areas will remain white when I print. I've chosen a fairly neutral colour scheme and the first colour will be the lightest. 

My printing press is set up to print colour in registration (it may or may not work, we'll see!) 

This is with the block in position. As my press is a cylinder press optimised for letterpress printing, I have to raise the lino about an inch off the bed so the roller can reach it. So I've improvised with printers furniture (wooden strips used as spacers in letterpress printing)

 With the block out of the way you can see my 'registration jig'. It's a piece of card cut to the exact size of the block so that I can place the block in exactly the same place each time. The paper is positioned using a masking tape guide and the press's paper grippers.

The first print run. I've printed a few more than I want to cover any registration mishaps when printing other colours.

I'm using water soluble lino printing ink, which I don't like much. It dries much too fast and is much wetter than oil based inks that I'm used to. I may have to get some oil based inks for the future, but I'll persevere for now with what I have.
It's dried somewhat pinky, but no matter. The next colour will be greyer and this is just a trial so I'm not too bothered.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

New for me... suicide printing!

More widely known as 'reduction printing', this is where you end up with a coloured print but use just one printing plate, rather than one for each separate colour. Picasso has been credited with inventing this rather seat-of-the-pants process; which has to be planned out  beforehand with all the cunning of an evil mastermind planning World Domination.

So, briefly, you draw your design on the block (in my case some polymer lino) and cut away the parts that you wish to remain white or the colour of your paper. You then print several sheets (at least as many as you want to end up with, in case you have to throw some away due to ghastly mistakes) in the lightest colour. Let the paper dry, clean the block and then cut away the parts that you wish to remain the colour you just printed. Print the next darkest colour...and so on.

The idea is that you end up with a series of coloured prints and a block that has been almost entirely cut away (rendered unusable anyway). You cannot go back and reprint a previous stage, thus the 'suicide' tag. I have never done this before, but in the interests of clearing a bout of 'Artists Block' I'm prepared to have a go. If I muck it up you'll be the first to know!

So here we go... my chosen subject is a rather wobbly house (my house, as it happens) which may seem ambitious for a first multicolour linoprint, but I do like a challenge.

I have transferred the design onto the block, reversed so that it prints the right way round. I found the polymer slightly greasy/smooth and found that sketching freely over my transferred pencil marks in ballpoint of all things, worked well and doesn't rub off accidentally.

Next I have to decide what colours I'm using and where to cut to get the effect I want. Back to my rough sketch and I've made some photostat copies to try variants.

My next post will illustrate that..............

Saturday, March 24, 2012

US exhibition success

Great news... I have had two prints accepted for the 1st Wood Engravers Network exhibition, over in the USA. WEN is an association with members from all over the States as well as worldwide, a younger version of the UK's Society of Wood Engravers; this is the first time they've organised a society exhibition. I feel honoured to get as many as two works into this show. I wish I could go and see it!

Venues so far....
April 13 - Minnesota Center for Book Arts

May 7 - June 30, 2012: Asheville Book Works, Asheville, North Carolina

June 2: opening reception starts at 7pm in conjunction with the WEN summer workshop

November 16 - January 6, 2013 - Open Book, Minneapolis, Minnesota

The prints in question......

'Lizard Lifeboat house'

 and 'Dinner is Served'

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bathing Beauties

At long last, (having been delayed by many outside factors), I have managed to complete the block and start an edition run! So here we are.....bathing beauties! Three jolly hardy ladies ride the surf on their ancient wooden belly boards.

And all I can say is 'Roll on, Summer!'. I can't wait to get my belly board wet again.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

First proof

Here's the block inked up and locked onto the press bed.

The first proof. I need to do a fair bit of tidying up, removing especially the spots in the sky area and tonal adjusting generally. The edges need to be more irregular so I'll fade off the squareness a bit down that left hand edge. The forgeround lady's cap needs lightening somehow. The shadow under the wave is too regular and needs adjusting.

I'll leave it for the rest of the day and think about it.

Almost there!

 As you can see, I made good progress yesterday and just have a small area of wave to engrave, along with a cozzie and a few tweaks here and there. If I get on ok today I may be able to run off a first proof to see how the print looks.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Watery Rave? (ouch!)

A bigger view of the block this time if you click on it, so you can get a feel for the cuts. I'm loving the swish and foam of the water but having to take the cutting cautiously as I don't want to lose the light and texture.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Give us a wave!

Here's the block as it is so far sitting on it's leather sandbag alongside one of my favourite tools, the spitsticker. I've made a start on the wave and am enjoying depicting the textures and movement of frothing water.