Friday, April 24, 2009

Multiple plate aquatint

Multi-colored linocuts can be done with a single or multiple plates, but in aquatint, there's not single plate option (unless you count a la poupee). However, the concept of printing one color at a time in perfectly aligned layers still applies. After etching a basic line drawing, that image can be transfered to a number of additional plates, which are each aquatinted for a specific color. Once the plates have been made, it still takes some playing around to find the exact color inks needed for the desired effect.

This technique is what my instructor, Anita Toney, focuses on herself. I'm also inspired by Sarah Newton's awesome aquatint and recently got to see one of her multiple plate pieces up close.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Reduction linocut

Building on basic mono-chromatic linocuts, reduction linocuts achieve multiple color, but only using a single plate/block. The limitation is that there are a finite number of prints that can be made and that number is decided at the outset.

To start, I cut only the places that I want to be white - once the linoleum has been cut out, it doesn't print. Standard practice is to print the lightest color first, using a system of registration to ensure that later prints align to the initial color. It's a good idea to print more than your planned edition to allow for mistakes and color testing.

After all prints (including extras) were pulled, I cut out the areas that I wanted to be the initial color that I printed. In this particular print, there were only a few changes (compare a proof of the first print, top, with the second print, above). Using the system of registration, I printed the second color on top of the first set of prints. This process is repeated with progressively darker colors, until all colors have been printed.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Linocut Portrait

After my first crack at a linocut, I wanted to try again and really focus on creating depth, which is challenging in linocut. I'm totally inspired by Noah Dasho's linocuts and have bought one of his "Optimism" prints. I used a familiar image to minimize the variables.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


After my first crack at aquatint, I have to say that my spirits were lifted and I wanted to try more. Since I like doing portraits (of friends, family, and even myself!), I decided to give that a try and used a picture of my friend Jackie, taken by either her or her boyfriend:

I thought the aquatint was pretty successful, and I like the photo, so I decided to use it again in my first linocut. Sometimes it makes it easier to use an image that you've already analyzed to try a new technique:

After tweaking some things on the linocut, I tried adding color with chine colle.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Introducing Aquatint...

Technically, you have to walk before you can run and you have to etch a line before you can aquatint a plate. But I didn't immediately take to line-etching, so after practicing the technique, I quickly moved on to try aquatint, using a photo taken of my dad in Toledo in the 1970s as a source image:

After creating the plate, I also experimented with inking it with multiple colors a la poupee (below):

Monday, April 6, 2009

Drypoint and oil self portraits

Ok, I think we're ready to come back to the acetate drypoints, but by now you should gather that I like doing portraits. Sometimes with portraits, I think you have the most flexibility doing a self-portrait, so I decided to give that a try after finished doing some cityscapes:

This was the semester when we were attempting to combine etchings with monoprint, so I added some monoprint:

Kept going with the monoprint...:

I used the same photograph that I had taken of myself and tried another monoprint technique which involves painting directly on the plate:

I think things came out a little smoother on my second attempt, which may or may not be better:

Friday, April 3, 2009

Stencil Portraits - Dad

I decided to give the stencil technique another try to make sure Megan wasn't a fluke. Using an old photo of my dad as a young man, I made a similar series of monoprints:

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Stencil Portrait - Megan

Okay, I got a little ahead of myself with the drypoints because there were actually a couple sets of stencil monoprints that I produced before picking up the needle.

Using a photograph I had taken of my friend Megan, I created a stencil that I could use to print both the positive and negative space.

I experimented with several configurations. The print above is an inked stencil printed over a ghost with some added texture near the edges. Below is using only one half of the stencil, allowing the roller marks to show.

Using some of the ghosts that I had created, which lacked contrast, I began printing over the background with a fresh roll up (below):

I think of the print below as the most successful, mostly by accident. The skin area is a single ghost from a red roll-up and the black is a fresh roll-up onto the stencil. The background is a ghost of the background added to the print above, printed on top of the original ghost (that created the skin color). So, basically this is where trial and error got me:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Drypoint Cityscapes

Into my second semester of monoprint, I was starting to get anxious to get into some more detailed line drawing. I also love the repeatable nature of most printmaking (hence my use of stencils in monoprint):

Without jumping quite into the etching pool (hmm, that would probably be filled with acid, huh? not good for swimming), I played around with some drypoint on sheets of acetate. Using some photos I had taken, I did a sketch of the Transamerica Pyramid here in SF (above) with an overlay of a nice pattern from some wrapping paper.

I also did a little sketch of The Dom cathedral in Utrecht (above) and the Teatro di Marcello in Rome (below). Each drypoint is only good for about a dozen prints at most

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