Monday, November 12, 2012

Change of approach

Okay. So my efforts to shadow a magpie belly via stencil didn't work out last week. (How many people get to A) write a sentence like that and B) expect that a significant number of people who read aforementioned sentence will know what it means?)

The whole fiasco came about because I was being a cheapskate. Worse yet, I was a cheapskate in a hurry. I didn't want to "mess up" a second block on this little piece, nor did I want to take the time to carve it. Result? I am several days further behind, I've trashed a few prints, and I will end up carving a second block anyway.

The good news is that it gives me a chance to show one way to transfer an image to a second block. I'm sure there are other, better ways and I'm looking forward to hearing what other printmakers do, but here's how I tackle it:

It starts out like any other printing day: inked linocut block in the jig.

But I print onto something non-absorbent... in this case tracing paper. I want the ink to stay on top of the paper.

I slide a blank block of identical size into the jig. (This one has a stain on it from the previous belly-printing attempt.)

I place the printed tracing paper face down onto the blank block in the jig and rub with the baren again.

Et voila! I now have a second block which reflects all the carving of the first and is in register.

Since I'm mostly concerned with the bird on the second block I didn't take too much time with the transfer of the leafy areas of the design. I could have done so with a little more effort, but we've already determined that I'm stuck in a laziness feedback loop on this piece.

The downside to this transfer technique is that I have to wait for the ink to dry on the second block before I can get carving, but I did add a drop of cobalt drier so that shouldn't take long.* I don't like adding drier as a general rule, mostly because it's nasty stuff and I don't like the smell, but in this case it wasn't going to stay around long on either paper or block or tools to be too offensive.

So while I'm waiting for ink to dry I'm pushing around sketches and looking at photo reference and trying to come up with a new image to work on. I'd like to get after something larger now, although once again I've scheduled myself for a demo and need to have something to work on in a couple of weeks. At the rate things are going, it might be this piece. But then again....

(*It was, in fact, dry enough to work on in about an hour.)


  1. This is how I do registration. I use my letterpress, but it is the same concept. So far it has been successful.

  2. To answer the questions posed: A artists/scientists B see A. :-)

    I do the same, but my tracing paper is greaseproof kitchen paper.

  3. i would do the same, it just makes sense to transfer the image like that. can't think of a way that would work better

  4. I use Yupo with cheap Speedball ink. The Yupo doesn't stretch (at least as far as I can tell), the Speedball dries quickly but can be washed off the block after carving and it can be washed off the Yupo so the Yupo can be used again and again.