Oh dear…Blogger is “experiencing difficulties” again. I had a link to the final photo in the “Work versus Play” post, but it’s not showing. It was perfectly OK when I did it,but I came back to fix a typo and poof! it’s gone. You’ll just have to get that little Spanish chap to do it for you… or try this
Yes, I did hear you clamouring for some work-in-progress pictures. And, working on the principle that art-hungry readers may be as dangerous as starving dogs…
This is a collograph I made for the purpose.
I cut images from sheets of cartridge paper ( craft paper or poster card or what Americans call construction paper is probably better as it’s less flimsy.) and glued them to a piece of mdf. OK, that’s shorthand for medium density fibreboard. You can use mat board or a good, stiff cardboard. Sometimes I use PVA glue, but in this case I’ve chosen to go with a binder medium. You arty folk will know what that is; for other readers – it’s a polymer. Any gardeners out there who spray “Envy” on their precious shrubs ahead of frosts? Well, same stuff! It’s easy to apply with a brush (don’t, for Pete’s sake, use your $95 sables for this.Get the oldest, cheapest brush you can find and ditch it when you’ve finished.) and is water clean-up.Yeah, right! You’ll be peeling bits off your fingers for hours!
Continuing to add images to the “plate.” Those dark, wiggly lines are bits of unravelled twine.I thought they’d add a little interest to the furrows in the ploughed field.But they were “messy” so I peeled them off!
The inked-up plate on the right with the first print on the left after the first run through the press.
Sorry, no photos of the inking process. I am a disgustingly grubby printmaker and it’s a new and expensive camera! But, as you are probably busting to know… for this print, I applied most of the ink with my fingers. What sort of ink? Well, sometimes I use etching ink,but these are colours mixed from left-over printing ink generously “donated” by our local newspaper. (I climbed into the big garbage skip and “acquired” some buckets that still had some ink in the bottom! ) The trick is not to have the ink too thick on the plate or it will ooze into a muddy sludge under pressure. So…I wiped it back with a piece of Tarlaton (like scrim), then “polished” it with pieces torn from a ‘phone book and used flat, not crumpled, as at this stage I needed to be careful not to take off too much colour. Small areas can be wiped with a Q tip.
Ooh! Nearly forgot…because this plate is quite thick, we used “runners” to guide it under the press. The runners were strips of corrugated cardboard, about 2″ wide, 10″ long, laid alongside the plate ‘fore and aft. Why? Well, the plate being that much thicker than the printing paper, the press roller would have bumped on and off with a helluva jolt and would probably have skewed the whole thing sideways, resulting in a smudged print. Might even have caused the edge of the paper to buckle or tear. And might have caused the printmaker to swear!
Not a masterpiece, but I hope I’ve explained the process without sending you all to sleep.
Looking at this again, I’m tempted to ink-up by rolling black ink over the plate, then adding colour (after it’s dried) with pencil. Just another way we can approach it…
Now, some of you wanted to know more about that print (link at top of post), which is an etching, done several years ago in a class. Sadly, I can’t show you any of this process as I do not have facilities for mucking about with dangerous stuff like nitric acid, which is what I used to etch the image into this zinc plate.
But maybe I’ll write a post, some day, on dry-point…now toddle off and have the beverage of your choice.
Post Script…Victor McCay, a far better printmaker than I has an excellent explanation at