Printmaking Experiments for a Work in Progress…

As part of the project I’m working on (see last post) I’m having a play with some alternative markmaking and colouring techniques rather than just running straight to my usual/trusty pen and ink and photoshop style.

I’ll still be using those as you’ll see here but crow-barred in along the way will be some of the things I’ve been producing in the print workshop I’m doing at the moment…

Anyway, here’s some of the stuff I’ve been up to…

…first up Drypoint Etching. Scratching into a metal plate, over which you rub ink (sometimes more than one colour at a time) and then put through a press…

Click on the image above to see my sketchbook notes on the process.

I’d forgotten how tough on the hands and fingers this is, those guys that did this day in day out must have ended up with mental arthritis. Regardless I did a quick test of some blossom, grass and hanging leaves and then got stuck into some actual images… including this Woman in Kimono.

This came out okay, but her right arm is all over the place (elbow too high)… not a great drawing on the plate… Maybe I can sort that later in Photoshop, hmm? I did like the highlights that I put in by scraping some of the ink back of the plate with a cotton bud.

This Leaping Coy I was happier with… I did three of these to frame as a set, each one with the hazy moon getting slightly lower towards the horizon…

Next: Collography… or the cutting in to card and peeling away layers over a number of prints to layer up ink… You can see that in my process below I cut deep (all the way through in fact) and made almost lino cut type plates that got more and more cut away with each successive colour layer.

Again I produced three separate prints with slightly differing colours and layouts… I did some of this type of thing last year and got some okay results (after some shockingly poor ones mind), you can see them here:

Bobbing Apple and my favourite, Mermaids 001

One of the really cool things about this process is sometimes you find cool stuff in the bits you’d throw away… like these card cuts below… which with my ever present Pareidolia in high gear looked to me like a devil cat… and waste not want not.

It’s hot in every studio over here, and printmaking and even Photoshop is thirsty work, I guess thats why this throwaway side experiment ended up as it did…

I also just liked these pieces I used to get some of the detail branches on the prints… as I picked them off the paper when they came out of the press they just landed like this, so I took the photo…

…which meant later back in the CAD studio I could boost the contrast and use them as a layer over the top of a drawing I’d layered over a peice of waste newsprint (you get some really useful scraps from the back of the Drypoint etching plates) like this:

The newsprint backing gives what is essentially a digital image a more traditional feel, I do this sort of thing with my posters all the time… for example this:

… has been the background layer on more posters that I’ve produced than I can count now*… and I have dozens of these. Waste not want not etc.

*remember the hullmeetup poster check the background detail on the poster, then look at the image above… ahh! That’s how…

The Collograph process also produces waste (not only the card cutouts) newsprint, but not as even or as usefull normally as the Drypoint process. However this time the press left me with the image below on the newsprint cover sheet… (the second image is me playing with the original in Photoshop) which looked to me like a subtle Kimono pattern, so thats what I used to give her kimono above some detail.

Here’s another hybrid, drawing/print/newsprint backdrop and digital finish image…

And finally, the first drypoint image, revisited… Thrown into Photoshop (not even scanned, I used the photo I’d taken of it laid on the print room table with my HTC smartphone), then flipped across the vertical, a quick Cutout filter added and then some tweaks to the Hue Saturation etc (oh, and a fix for that arm of course) and here we have a really mixed media image.

Tomorrow I’ll be doing a Lino Cut of “A Man Walking a Bear”

~ by hesir on July 6, 2011.

4 Responses to “Printmaking Experiments for a Work in Progress…”

  1. Thank your for sharing. Very illustrative!

  2. Really interesting to see the process ‘in action’ and the lovely results.

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