Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Linocut in Progress: Ugly duckling stage!

Work continues on the female buffleheads, with a couple of new brownish ink passes achieved by a combination of spot inking and masking. For readers who might be new to Brush and Baren, this time I remembered to take a couple of photos of what I'm talking about!

It's probably overly generous to call this "spot inking," because I've been pretty sloppy about it. It's more like "messy blob inking" than "spot." In this case it's okay, because I'm going to keep those messy blobs from interfering with the rest of the print by putting a paper mask over the block before printing. Like this:

After printing this tan-ish color the prints looked like this:

Bufflehead linocut in progress: Step 9

Coming along, although I find this stage rather nerve-wracking. The color harmony of the first few layers is disrupted, and it all looks awkward. (The ugly duckling stage.)

Some more carving, some more "messy blob inking," another mask, and a slightly darker brownish color brought the print to this:

Bufflehead linocut in progress: Step 10

The female ducks finally started to gain a little form and settle back down into the water, rather than looking like flat light shapes floating through space.

I think the next step will be to try to bring some of the harmony back with an overall transparent gray. Birds, water (the areas that haven't yet been carved away), everything. Hopefully this will give me a sense of where everything is value-wise. With luck I'll be able to accomplish that tomorrow.


  1. so neat switching back and forth between images, the female really starts to take shape when you see the difference between the passes

  2. I've really enjoyed watching your print develop. It's amazing to see the reduction images take cohesive shape. I'm new to reductions and find them exciting and terrifying at the same time.

  3. Hopefully today she'll really start to look like something, Jen. Fingers crossed!

    Welcome to the crazy world of reduction printing, Michael. Be careful! It can be addictive. ;-)

  4. How many prints do you start with? My registration is getting a LOT better but I still lose a few along the way, with the number of stages you do I would run out!

  5. Hi Jackie - I usually start with 24 or thereabouts for these larger pieces. I'm doing a lot more experimenting these days, so if I get 15-20 good prints I'm feeling pretty happy.