Great horned owls (for that is the species in question) have yellow irises, but of course I don't want them to be glow-in-the-dark yellow. I also don't have any desire to run the entire block through the press two dozen times for these small shapes. Time to employ some "pochoir," or stenciling technique.
The use of pochoir was popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, frequently as a method for hand coloring prints. Back then the medium of choice was usually gouache, not printing ink, but hey! It's the 21st century now.
I mixed a small batch of a yellowy, slightly transparent ink and cut a small eye-shaped stencil from a piece of transparent mylar. It's hard to see the stencil itself in the photo, but here it is in place, with one eye "pounced" directly on to the print and the other eye still to be done.
|Googly eyes in pochoir.|
It's a technique that goes fairly quickly when there's such a small area to cover. Once the pupils are printed even less of this color will show, but the result so far? Creepy-eyed zombie owl.
|Step 7 printed: Creepy-eyed owl|
Now it's time to pay attention to the leaves on the tree. Green, most likely, but not too bright. It is dusk, after all.
Since I don't need this green to be everywhere on the image, some rough inking around the owl should be sufficient. Like this:
|Selective inking for Step 8|
|Step 8 mask|
|Step 8 printed|
Okay, then. I'm not completely sold on the leaves, they are a little too "flat" for my liking, printed all one color like this. Naturally this means I'm going to complicate things for myself one more time.
I'd like some of the lower leaves to have a slightly lighter tone added, and the upper leaves to have a darker tone added. And I'd like to do it all in one pass if I can. It should be an interesting (read: confusing) carving exercise, since it means this color will serve as the mid-tone. Some of the shapes I leave behind will print lighter and some will print darker. Ooh. I'm giving myself a headache already.