Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Linocut in Progress: Duck masks, but not masked ducks

Alrighty then! So far this new linocut has been proceeding in a fairly straightforward manner... a couple of flat color passes and a blended roll. Nothing too tricky.

But now it's time to bring the birds a bit forward of the background. The next color pass needs to place a blue-violet into the shadowed areas of the birds without getting too much darker in value and without interfering with the background so far. 

Time to cut a mask. For ducks. But not masked ducks. Which are an actual species. But not the species that is the subject of this linocut. Oh, nevermind.

The first step was to place a piece of clear acetate over the block and trace the shapes in which I wanted this new color to appear. I didn't want to have to carve a lot of fussy details at this stage, so I aimed to simplify the shapes and keep the mask-cutting to something that wouldn't make me pull my hair out. 

Step 4 mask pattern

That seemed alright, so I traced it on to newsprint and cut out about 10 masks. I planned to reuse each mask 2 or 3 times, so ten seemed sufficient, but in the end I had to cut a couple more, as the masks didn't hold up as well as I hoped.

Step 4 masks cut from newsprint

Here's the block all inked up with a transparent blue-violet, mask in place, on the press.

Step 4 ready to print

And here's the result. There's a much clearer sense of the birds and the overall image. So far, so good, I think. 

Reduction linocut in progress, Step 4 printed

On to Step 5! The changes here are subtle, but extensive. A lot more carving has been done in the water, and the white markings on the birds' heads that are in shadow have been carved away. The Step 5 color pass was a solid, transparent blue over the entire block. No mask required. 
Step 5 printed

It's all looking pretty harmonious, so you know what that means! It's time to mess it all up. There are some small details in the male ducks that need to be a sort of rust color, so I need to tackle those before moving on to the rest of the water and the dark shapes of the birds' bodies. Time to make more duck masks. But not for masked du... oh, nevermind.

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