Friday, July 10, 2009

Dinner is Served!

That's the title of the print, and here it is. I'm pretty pleased with the way it's turned out. I had a good print session, the block printed fairly easily and I was able to make full use of my home made drying rack. It's so much better than laying wet prints down over surfaces, windowsills etc! Here are a few pics:

Here is the rack strung out in my studio. I've only made half the length of pegs I originally planned for now, till I can move into a bigger space. There are 48 there though and that's not bad. Each colour represents 12 prints so I can keep an eye on how many I'm printing without all that tedious counting.
Many thanks to David Harrison for his idea, which I adapted. This rack cost me about £15 which includes postage and packing charges. I didn't have to buy the cord as I had enough in the shed, but blind cord would do the job. It needed an application of hair wax to the cut end though, to make it easier when I was threading the cord through the beads as the bead hole was only just big enough.

And here it is in use. The only thing I found was that the thin Japanese paper I print on was almost too thin for the pegs to hold. However, I merely tore up small strips of tissue paper and folded them between the jaws of each peg, as I pegged each print. It serves a dual purpose of protecting the paper surface, too. I'm really pleased with it. When I have a permanent spot for it I'll make up the other 48 pegs/ beads so I have a print hanging capacity of 96. Double that, if I put them back to back.

Now onto the next engraving!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Almost there!

I have just proofed the amended block again and here it is, alongside the last proof as comparison. (Latest one to the right)

Just a little tidying up and a few thin cuts of the shaded decking, extending to the base of the shaded wall. I will possibly soften the white line around the roofs edges to give them a little more space between them and the background. Then I *think* that's it, ready to put it to bed.

If I don't print today (I have a migraine coming on, so my vision is not too good at the moment), it'll be tomorrow. Possibly I'll leave it till tomorrow, as I can have a full day taking my time and also I MIGHT have my home-made print drying rack finished! I would love one of those smart wooden racks with marbles that hold the sheets in place, but at nearly £100 it's out of my range. So I'm basing my home-made affair on a design thought up by David Harrison

As they say, 'Watch this space'!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Comparing proof stages

Here are the two proofs side-by-side on the same image. You can compare them a bit easier. It's a larger file, just over 300k but the images haven't been reduced down, either.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

First proofs

Here's the block locked up in the press, ready for rolling with ink. As this block is a recycled, resurfaced block, it's height is somewhat less than type high. This isn't a problem, it just necessitates the insertion of a couple of bits of stout card beneath the block to raise it slightly. Although my press has an adjustable height roller, because of the card I haven't needed to alter the height setting from it's normal block position.

And here's the first proof, complete with many scrawled instructions to myself. I try to make sure untidy bits are sorted out and unsatisfactory areas highlighted for more work. As you can see, I managed to forget to engrave the little stove chimney coming out of a roof! I also feel the courtyard scene may be a tad too dark and have earmarked that for another look after next proof. The two round marks on either side of the print, are where I forgot to wipe the stray ink off the quoins holding the block secure in the galley tray! Silly me!

As I make amendments to the block I tick off each point so I don't forget. Time to run off another proof!
The quoin mark strikes again! I think I shall set up the block next proof so that the quoins are set further away from the inked area and behind some wooden 'furniture', which is printer-speak for the wooden spacers used to secure type and blocks in position for printing.

This proof is a bit light but ok for checking all is well. I still feel the courtyard scene could do with a bit of a lift. The sunlit wall is too dominant in comparison and the surrounds need toning up to create more of a pool of light. I shall have a ponder. Pondering time in engraving is at least as important as the cutting itself .

Friday, July 03, 2009

Ready for proof.

The block is cut as far as I want and I now need to pull a proof to make sure all is well. If I need to do any additional cutting, the proof should show me where. You can see from the scan above that I've brushed out all the white powder that I had rubbed into the engraved lines to help keep an eye on where I was cutting. You have to be very thorough about this and make sure none is left because it could make the ink clog the engraved lines or cause the prints to be spotty.

Hopefully I shall proof it tomorrow and blog the result as soon as the ink has dried sufficiently. If it needs any more cutting I'll mark up a proof and blog that, too, for the interested. And I have to think of a title...something I'm really not very good at!

And now, I must have a tidy up of my studio, because there's the detritus of a full working week, papers, briefs (not the sort you wear!) and reference books all piled on top of my press bed. Oh for a larger work space!