Sunday, April 22, 2018

Testing printing

I have spent the odd hour here and there working on a new idea for a book.

I have this idea of a grey background with stark black imagery, and words - on each page.

I was bringing an idea, written on a scrap of paper on my studio desk - "ink and print aluminium plates".  That was all - the idea of simply inking up different shaped plates and making the background from that.

I lined up a bunch of leftover aluminium on the bed of the etching press, and inked them up using my Vanson rubber inks (which I use mostly for letterpress).

Some nice marks transferred to the paper, but it was a pretty messy and time consuming process, rolling on lots of ink and cleaning up each time.

So I headed for a quicker idea and simply used two different sized brayers to roll grey ink onto the pages. Layering them and allowing the occasional wonkiness to appear.

And then left the pages to dry - it seemed to take days given the amount of moisture we still have about here.

My plans for the imagery had originally involved etching into aluminium - leaving the image raised and the background etched away.  As I thought about that, I realised I was after a relief print image rather than an intaglio one, and that I really didn't want to see much of the plate background at all.  But I wondered if I simply rolled over the top of the etched plate, if that would print the image and leave the background pretty blank.

I could pretty much tell after a light roll that this was not going to be the solution!  The soft brayer had transferred ink onto the base plate (sure, it wasn't a very deep etch, and sure the brayer was soft not hard, but I wasn't convinced it would be the answer)

And for someone going for a stark image and no background or plate texture showing it really wasn't the answer.

 My thoughts then turned to collagraphh or lino. Again I used existing plates for testing, rather than creating new ones. My inked up collagraph plate, and an old lino plate inked.

 Both gave good results, (you can see I was proofing onto any old paper I had lying about) but I was really not too interested in preparing about two collagraph plates that would take forever to dry (again the moisture was messing with me), so I opted for lino.

So now I have backgrounds sorted and printing style sorted.  The imagery is ready for transferring to lino and some cutting has begun...


  1. Intriguing .... can’t read your mind here and am keen to where this work is going. Love the bold black imagery idea.

    1. The bold black simple imagery captured my imagination Susan. Not so sure where I am headed now tho!

  2. oh, nice. I love these 'circles' !

    1. They are really lovely aren't they Annick? Me too I say!


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