Posted in Foundation Drawing, Foundation Drawing - Part 5

Project 5.1: Further printmaking research

More experiments

At the same time as considering what I would like to create as an image for “Balance” I’ve also been researching and experimenting with print somewhat. First, some further experiments I performed whilst looking into the whole idea:

I have been playing with the black printing plate with leaves, feathers and torn off kitchen roll to make prints. The best approach seems to be to get a negative image, remove the item from the plate and then try again to get a “positive” image.

I also tried using “System 3” Acrylic paints in an attempt to produce a colour print – which really didn’t work. As I had a bit of paint to spare I tried playing with adding colour to a page with a palette knife. Fun and in many ways pretty – but probably not of direct use. The main issue with the Acrylic paint is that it dries fast enough that transfer doesn’t work. If I want to play with colour I’ll need to get colour printing inks, or buy the System 3 block printing medium. I decided to get some printing inks (as that was cheaper), which turn out to be cheaper acrylic paints in an appropriate medium.


Explicit consideration was needed around the approach to printing:

Needless to say, this isn’t all of the interesting articles I located, but it should provide a good idea.

What did I learn?

In summary:

  • Use of a gelatine-based print plate rather than acrylic sheet is quite common. The flex in the sheet could be useful when using imprinted objects.
  • The negative-positive approach for making the print is fairly common as an approach.
  • Sometimes it is useful to wet the paper before applying it to the “inked up” plate. This depends on the structure of the paper, the amount of size in it, and where the size is. This also explains all of the different specialist printing papers. At this stage, however, I don’t think I’ll invest in specialist papers. Maybe if I get into printing as a medium it will be worth it though.
  • The use of hand pressure might be insufficient to get good quality print transfer. I’ve considered using my wife’s clay slab roller as a DIY print press, but that has issues. Another possibility is a paper-cut machine that we have at A4 size. For the moment, I’m not going to invest in a print press – so I either need to consider these DIY presses or live within the limitations of the tools.
  • The collagraph approach suggested by my tutor is potentially interesting in the future, but for this project I’ll stick within the techniques suggested by the course. The same goes for Etching and wood cuts – though I have started an experiment of cutting into plywood to create a simple wood cut.
  • Masks and stencils can be useful in this technique, and I found various hints and tips for making them.

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