Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Linocut in progress: That awkward stage

Well, one of several potentially awkward stages, at least.

The danger in getting too pleased with an image when there are just three gray values printed is that subsequent stages can scream "You've ruined it!" when in fact it's not true.

Case in point: "Ugly Puffling Stage: The beak."

Part of the charm of a puffin is its bright, chunky, ridiculous bill. These colors don't really appear anywhere else in the image, so a little selective inking will hopefully keep the awkwardness contained. As usual, I cut a mask from clear acetate (which barely shows in this photo).

And now the first shout of "You've ruined it!"

Puffin, reduction linocut, Step 4
It looks completely awkward, doesn't it? The next step didn't help.

Puffin, reduction linocut, Step 5
Nor did the next, which required the cutting of a new mask that included the feet and eye.

Puffin, reduction linocut, Step 6

It's certainly clearly a puffin now, but YIKES! These shapes look clunky. And of course the bright colors against those nice, subtle grays seem totally out of place. But fear not!

Puffin, reduction linocut, Step 7
Another gray to the rescue. This color will only stay in the bill area because of course the eye and the top of the head will be black(ish), but it was a bit of a relief (printmaker pun) to feel the bird pull back together again.

I think the next steps are to hack away at some of the rock, clear out the bird's upper mandible, and run another transparent gray over the entire block. From there I''m undecided about whether to work the background next or the rest of the rock. I suspect it will be rock.


  1. It makes you realise just how big a puffin's bill really is! I'm looking forward to watching this develop.

  2. Me too! I love puffins. Fascinating to watch him develop.

  3. This was fun to read. I have one of those super ugly phases in almost everything I do, but I have faith in the process, and it almost always comes out right. I will be interested to see where this is going....

  4. Whew! You had me holding my breath as I read - good writing! What a relief!