T1-MMT-P4-p1-e3 Back drawing continued

Print p4-62

Sample p2-73

Sample p2-73
Click image for larger view

The plan:

  • Continue using printmaking as a way of exploring other work – in this case wrapping sample p2-73 (28-July-2015)
  • Multiple layers with improved registration
  • Use varied mark-making to express the different materials in the original sample
  • Use lighter paper – in this case 80 gsm copy paper (thanks to Karen for that suggestion)
  • Print p4-62 layer 1

    Print p4-62 layer 1
    Click image for larger view

    Layer 1 shows the ribbon. I mixed just a little violet into the yellow rolled onto the plate. Colour was transferred pressing with my finger for a broad and soft line. Wanting a little more definition I also used a tapered colour shaper.

    Print p4-62 layer 2

    Print p4-62 layer 2
    Click image for larger view

    Layer 2 represents the wide, flat cable wound around in the sample. Attempting with a variety of wooden shaping tools, I couldn’t get the broad, smoothly flowing line I intended. My experiments with different tools held at different angles are jagged and jarring.

    Print p4-62 layer 2 a

    Print p4-62 layer 2 a
    Click image for larger view

    I took the ghost print (see next print), then used the plate one more time. The idea was to bring the image together, reducing that jumble-of-lines effect.

    As well as lightly rolling all over with a brayer, I used my finger to give some shading to the yellow of layer 1. While I think the print as a whole was improved, the multiple peeks and replacing of paper and plate has led to registration issues.

    The final layer was violet, in fine, sharp, jagged lines to represent the black synthetic horsehair in the sample. It still looked very stark, so I added some extra shading along the original ribbon lines by soft pressing with my finger.

    Print p4-62 detail

    Print p4-62 detail

    Print p4-62

    Print p4-62
    Click image for larger view

    My various interventions improved but did not save the print. That red line is too messy, too plonked ungracefully in the middle. Looking back at print p4-61 (14-November-2015) I should have expected this.

    Looking at positives, I like the way the ink sits on the copy paper. The crisp white brings light to the colours and the smooth surface in some way allows the print itself to have more depth. At the detail level the shading with finger-pressed red is attractive without being intrusive.

    Reflecting now, I wonder if I’d get a better result using more of a green in layer 1, providing a balance to the red. I could also reduce the amount of red, making it a point of interest in just one corner of the image. I’ll park that idea for now, as it might be more appropriate later when I combine monotype techniques.
    break
    Print p4-63

    Print p4-63 layer 1

    Print p4-63 layer 1
    Click image for larger view

    Print p4-63 layer 2

    Print p4-63 layer 2
    Click image for larger view

    Print p4-63 layer 3

    Print p4-63 layer 3
    Click image for larger view

    This print is the layers of ghost prints from p4-62, printed onto 100 gsm white cartridge paper. On layer 1 I used a brayer first, then followed with the baren to get some extra colour. I was using 100% akua intaglio ink, no extender and no blender added, to get colour as rich as possible and to reduce accidental transfer during back drawing.

    The second layer, in red, looks much less clumsy in the ghost print. Partly the colour isn’t as strong and solid, but I think also the layering with larger areas of yellow underneath is more interesting.

    However with the addition of the third layer I was less satisfied. Perhaps the print could provide an interesting background to something, but the overall effect was indistinct and dull. I attempted to add at least a little interest by doing some more backdrawing and varied pressure using palm and fingers without adding any extra ink to the plate.

    Print p4-63

    Print p4-63

    Many of my prints seem to end as overall vague patterning – dull. The process did lead me to some close observation of the original joining sample, so it is effective in that sense.
    break
    Print p4-64
    Print p4-23

    Print p4-23
    Click image for larger view

    I refined my plan for the next two prints:

  • Even lighter paper – a japanese rice paper.
  • Using a previous print as my source material. This is print p4-23 (25-October-2015). In my original post I noted that the detail in this print was easy to overlook, dominated by the major line. Could I see something new by creating a print interpretation of the print?
  • Varied mark-making would remain key
  • Print p4-64 layer 1

    Print p4-64 layer 1
    Click image for larger view

    There was still just a little violet left on the plate from the previous print. I decided to use this to create the first layer. This didn’t provide a lot of colour, but gave some texture and variation to the print area.

    The second layer was yellow. In previous prints virtually all my mark-making was blind. The tools I used might slightly emboss the back of the paper but none left a drawn mark so placement or repeats of line were very approximate. This time I drew a rough line first on scrap paper, then traced over that while back drawing. The initial line was traced with the wrong end of a paint brush, sometimes backtracking and repeating when I accidentally left the line.

    Print p4-64 layer 2

    Print p4-64 layer 2
    Click image for larger view

    Peeking, I like the stranded effect so I repeated the tracing multiple times to build up a network of marks. The photos I take while working are on my tablet and in awkward lighting so not great quality, but below you may get a sense of what was interesting me.
    Print p4-64 layer 2 detail

    Print p4-64 layer 2 detail


    The next layer was a red-violet mix. I wanted to surround the network of yellow with more solid lines of colour.

    I tried a number of wooden shaping tools but couldn’t get the width and solidity I wanted. There are areas of back and forward scribble, of little overlapping loops, of finger nails, skewers, chopsticks… The outlines looked awful, so in a flurry I started scribbling down the centres and lost my lovely yellow network.

    Print p4-64 detail

    Print p4-64 detail

    Print p4-64

    Print p4-64
    Click image for larger view

    The lines were looking very messy and stark. I used a stencil brush, tapping over and near the lines. I really like the light mottling effect this created, and it’s a technique I am likely to use again.

    Working on the light paper was helpful, as after a time I could see the overall lines through the paper. However the paper really needs a backing to bring more light and give a clear view of the marks.

    break
    Print p4-65

    Print p4-65 detail

    Print p4-65 detail

    Print p4-65

    Print p4-65
    Click image for larger view

    This is the ghost of the previous print, and is also on rice paper. While still not a great result I prefer this print.

    The darker background gives a better sense of presence on the light paper. The complexity of the network of lines is clearer and unified, being a mix of yellow (the gaps in the lines of the previous print) and white.

    break
    Print p4-66
    Wanting to experiment with printing on a more distinct background, I chose a page from an old harmonica instruction manual.

    Print p4-66 layer 1

    Print p4-66 layer 1
    Click image for larger view

    Responding to the strong repeated lines, I used plastic grouting tools of varying sizes to create my marks – one of the tools can be seen in the bottom corner of the photograph.

    I’ve read a number of times that it’s best to start with a light colour, and I realise on reflection that I have accepted this as a given rather than experimenting. However in this case I mixed red into the yellow which makes it visually stronger, although still quite transparent. I think the old, dense, soft and absorbent paper could be a factor, plus the stiff but flexible plastic was easy to drag across the page with a quite heavy pressure. Perhaps I can make a tool that would assist with broad flowing lines, like the ones I wanted in print p4-62 layer 2.

    Print p4-66 layer 2

    Print p4-66 layer 2
    Click image for larger view

    In the second layer I used narrower notches and the red which has caused issues by dominating some earlier prints. It was rolled slightly thinner on the plate plus the overall pattern of lines doesn’t pull the eye in the same way. In addition the strong music print on the original page remains the main interest.

    The registration on this layer is particularly poor. Although nominated as a focus for the work session my results have not improved. When drawing up a template on gridded paper I confirmed that my original plastic plate was not a true rectangle – not all corners were square or sides straight. I tend to lose focus and get a bit messy as a work session progresses, and finally printing is unforgiving – a careless moment and the result is changed.

    Print p4-66 layer 3

    Print p4-66 layer 3
    Click image for larger view

    The third layer, in a red-violet mix, is an example. From my sequence of photographs I can identify when that unintended mark top right appeared. However I have no idea what happened. One response would be to push for heightened awareness, to cut new plates, make new templates. I would prefer to move towards more spontaneous, forgiving methods, where accidents are opportunities and not ruination. Through these exercises I admire good print-making, craftsmanship as well as composition etc, much more. But I don’t aspire to it. I would prefer to find methods that fit more naturally with my own style, that I can turn to my own purposes.

    Print p4-66 preparation

    Print p4-66 preparation
    Click image for larger view

    I had intended a fourth layer, darker again, in finer lines. At this point I decided that would be counter-productive. Some focus was needed. Wanting to link to the original material on the paper, I did a quick sketch of a woman playing a harmonica, based on a photograph in the harmonica manual. You can see I worked on the same page used during print p4-64. I traced over this to create the final layer.
    Print p4-66

    Print p4-66

    The drawn lines are lost in the final print. There is too much going on, the page is messy, and I really needed to make a better sized plate that worked with the original page layout. Cropping around the printed area is more satisfactory, removing distractions and focusing the eye.

    Print p4-66 detail

    Print p4-66 detail

    I like the mixing of colour at the detail level, although I don’t think anyone could tell that the dark area over the lower face is cupped hands around an harmonica.

    Printing on old book pages has many possibilities. This paper was nice to work on, and there could be many books with more interesting layouts.

    break
    Print p4-67
    The final print is the ghost layers of p4-66, printed on rice paper.


    The build up of colour is attractive if not exciting. Perhaps using different colours it could suggest something like crocodile skin.
    Print p4-67

    Print p4-67

    The final print is … bland, odd. No major highs or lows.

    break
    On some level I scored on a number of my goals for this work session.

  • Working from both a three dimensional sample and a previous print, I was able to observe them more closely, to consider form, colour, contrasts of materials and textures.
  • Registration of layers didn’t improve, but my attitude to it has refined. I would like to have more control, so that when I break “rules” it is clearly a deliberate, considered choice rather than a sloppy accident. However precise, controlled, refined print-making is not my end goal. Where appropriate I will attempt to improve my techniques, but that remains a subsidiary task.
  • I introduced a number of new tools for mark-making. The stencil brush and my own hands and fingers hold a lot of promise. I also have some ideas for making a tool that helps with broad, more flowing lines.
  • Copy paper and rice paper provided interesting results and I’d like to continue with both. Old books could be a wonderful resource, although I find it a wrench to destroy any book, no matter the content or how many decades it has languished on a shelf.
  • None of the final images excite me. Working through the exercises has given me some base techniques, but I think benefit will come with more experience and also with mixing techniques – starting with an idea and question and choosing one or more techniques, rather than being technique based. On my original schedule I planned to submit this assignment on 21 December. However my tutor will be taking a break over the Christmas / New Year period. I’ve decided to continue with the exercises at my planned pace, but take some extra time at the end to mix things up.

    T1-MMT-P4-p1-e3 Back drawing continued
    Part 4: Mono and collatype printing
    Project 1: Monoprinting
    Exercise 3: Back drawing
    Back drawing continued

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