Monday, August 14, 2023

Heavy Load


This one is finished now.

I've added a flat desaturated blue, which both pushes the raindrops into the background and disguises to a certain extent the faulty printing in the centre area.

Heavy Load

Linocut 150 x 150 mm

Flint water-based inks on unidentified heavy hot-press paper

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Press Issue


My nipping press has a slight hollow in the middle of the plate, so that it doesn't print properly in that area. It's a very common issue with presses of this type, which aren't strictly speaking designed for printing. It's a persistent irritation.

I've been trying to figure out how to fix the problem. I thought at first a shaped caul might do the trick, but a wooden caul would very soon be dented by the pressure on the plates, which would lead to worse printing issues. Maybe a couple of progressively smaller thin felts might help.

Or, and this is the most likely reliable fix, I might just have to rub in that area with a burnisher before the paper comes off the block.

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Linocut with actual lino


I found some actual real lino to make linocuts with. I've had it sitting there for years, and just found it when I was looking for something else entirely. So, I thought I would cut some lino with it.

This is the inked-up block, after its second inking. It's 150 x 150 mm.

Printing was not very successful at all.

The print on the left was printed in my nipping press, and then rubbed vigorously with a baren because I suspected that the ink transfer wasn't entirely successful, as indeed it was not.

The one on the right was run through my little roller press.

Neither of them are very good at all, due I think to a combination of factors.
My workroom was pretty cold, so the ink was very stiff. I rolled up the block with a very hard EssDee brayer, so the ink wasn't pushed down into any unevenness in the surface of the block, of which it seems there are many in this natural lino. The lino itself is very hard, so it doesn't squish at all. And the paper surface is also quite hard, so it doesn't conform well either.

I think the extra-hard brayers would be better suited to wood engraving, or maybe relief inking of intaglio plates, than to the sort of thing that I do. I prefer something with a bit more give in it.

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Tree Plain Man

Tree Plain Man

Linocut, 107x147mm

The final print was done on Fabriano Tiepolo paper, which is a smooth-surfaced 290gsm stock, very well suited for printmaking.

If you compare this one with the test print below, which was done on ordinary desktop printer paper, you can see how much better the Fabriano paper takes up the ink.

Blind Stamping

I've included my seal stamp by Blind Stamping, in which the block is impressed into the paper without any ink.

It's different from watermarking, which you can also see an example of in the bottom right: a watermark is laid into the mesh that the wet pulp is laid on to make the sheet, and the resulting pattern shows in the finished paper.

Tree Plain Man test print

(90gsm printer paper)

I've experimented with the blocks a bit in this one.

The key block (the outlines) is in no way unusual. It was printed in burnt sienna.

The background (the sky and plane) had the foreground silhouettes cut out, and then the block was cut in half along the horizon line and inked up separately. I cut a horizon line before I decided to cut the block in half, which is why there's a white line there.

The sky block was inked with a red-yellow gradient, the plane with a simple solid chrome yellow.

The blue block was quite straightforward. I had to do quite a bit of cleaning of the block before printing to avoid printing-in, and I'll probably end up cutting all those open areas away completely.

The last block, with the colour areas for the man's face and trousers, was cut only locally where there was detail. I inked in the face area by dabbing ink on to the block with my finger, and the trouser area was inked up through a paper stencil.

2023-08-07 — The importance of paper

It comes as no surprise that paper quality affects print quality, but this I didn't expect to such a degree: the Winsor & Newton cartridge paper gives a perceptibly fuzzier and chalkier print than the Fabriano drawing paper. The difference is even more apparent in real life than in the photo.

The Fabriano is smoother and stiffer than the W&N for a start; I suspect that it's been sized and polished, so the ink sits more on the surface and sinks in less. That would certainly explain the crisper edges.