Printmaking: Introducing relief printing linocuts – artist research

I wanted to begin this next section of work by looking at other Artists who created prints using Lino. Largely because I felt like during the first assignment I didn’t allow myself much time to look at other artists/find inspiration, consider how they achieved what they achieved. I’ll do a little series of posts on each of the Artist I look at, just to make it nice and clear.

 

Artist Research: Angie Lewin

I began researching this artist as someone whose work I had seen in postcards and greetings cards in shops, but not really explored beyond that. I began by looking at her own site:

http://www.angielewin.co.uk/

Whilst looking at her site I found a link to her Flickr stream, which showcased her working practice through photographs of her studio, sketches, influences. The link to that is here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/7769631@N04/sets/72157623433688028/

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Project 5: Test Linocut Print

I took my first Linocut print a few days ago. Here’s a photo of the result:

 

First Linocut Print

First Linocut Print

There’s a few things that didn’t quite work from the print; the ink on the lino was too think, so it’s a little light looking on the print. And I used a wooden spoon to rub the back of the paper, as this is recommended, and discovered that the rubbing had left marks (like back drawing would) on the print.

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Project 6: Single colour linocut

Choosing my image:

I wanted to give myself some time to decide on an image, so began by photographing my back garden from different angles trying to think about what might make a good image. I wasn’t too sure about the look I was getting/how I would turn the photo’s into linocuts. They all seem quite busy images and I wasn’t sure how I’d simplify them…

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Project 6: The Print

So now onto talking about the cutting of the lino and the printing part.

I found the cutting process quite tricky. Initially using a radiator and a hair dryer to warm the lino helped but I discovered later that using a hot water bottle allowed much quicker heating of the lino which meant less interruption between cutting. I also found that (perhaps due to not being used to the pressure needed to cut the lino) that I sometimes slipped an cut into other parts of the design that I didn’t want to cut into, that’s why on the final print there’s some solid lines that have a few nicks in them, so they’re not really solid any more.

It was nice to smell the lino and work with my hands/watch it take shape, but also a bit nerve wracking, it took me three hours to complete. I have no idea if that’s good or bad or completely unimportant.

Completed Linocut design before printing

Completed Linocut design before printing

i wanted to try the print on a few different sized and types of paper, so chose three papers (two Japanese paper, one cartridge paper) and cut two to square shapes that were larger than the design and one to a rectangle, just to see how it looked.

Here’s the results:

Prints 1,2,3.

Prints 1,2,3.

IMG_1309 IMG_1310

The first print I took (at the top of the three), is a little faded looking, I think this is due to not applying quite enough pressure whilst using the barren. The other prints are clearer/stronger inked, which is good.

I think I like the print best on the rectangle shaped paper rather than the close bordered square as it feels a bit more free to breathe. If that makes any sense. I think I could have done with adding more texture to the image by using wiggled lines for the leaves, but other wise the image is okay.

 

Project 6: ‘Strange Flowers’ Lino Print

I wanted to allow myself time to explore how this print looked on a range of papers, the papers vary in thickness, texture, color but are all the same size, so that the image is always framed in the same way. I know I could experiment with how the sits on the paper (as in how large a border I create round the image with the paper), but I wanted to experiment with the type of paper first. Maybe I’ll try different sizes of paper another time. I’ll write a bit about each print.

1.

'Strange Flower' Print on Dotted Paper

‘Strange Flower’ Print on Dotted Paper

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Project 7: Multi-Block Linoprint

I began this project this week, later than I’d wanted to but delayed by a holiday. I used my time on Holiday to do some sketching and collecting of objects in the hope that these would be inspiring now, or later.

I found a lot a interesting feathers while on Holiday, and thought these would make an interesting basis for the Multi-Block print. I took some photo’s of these feathers and decided to print them out and pin them onto a pin board as a sort of inspiration board for when it came to drawing designs.

I also included on my pin board some Artist I’d looked at in earlier projects. Namely Mark Heralds’ sunflowers print – because I really like the shapes within it and the sense of intrigue it creates/fun element. This print had influenced an single colour lino print earlier and I still felt inspired by it.

I also included some multicolored lino prints by Angie Lewin – notably the prints which showed her working with the subject of feathers. This was to help me think of ways to look at the subject.

Here’s a photo of my inspirational pin board:

Photo's of feathers and artist inspiration

Photo’s of feathers and artist inspiration

I allowed this pin board to inspire drawings and design for a multi-block lino print.  I’ll write about those in a minute.

 

Project 7: Drawings & Design Ideas

Design 1

Design 1

This is the first proper design thought for the project. I got the idea for the blue behind the feather as a way of highlighting/enhancing the blue that was naturally part of the feather. I also drew inspiration from Mark heralds sunflower print for the shape of the black and how much white was left in the print. The lines with arrows around the edge are supposed to be like the little fluffy parts which were visible on the real feather. They act as a sort of border/breaking up the contrast between the black and white.

Design 2

Design 2

For this design I tried to let myself be a bit more free/imaginative, adding in another colour (the red) and more black to try and make the central feather look a bit mysterious. I think the black is actually a bit over whelming, but I do really like the red and the little stars. It’s a bit of a nod to the delicate layers of Angie Lewin’s linocut prints.

 

Design 2

Design 3

This design came about from looking again at Mark heralds ‘Sunflower’ print and noticing that having three flowers in the print worked well I wondered if having three feathers would add more interest to the image. I’m not sure it works in the oval frame created by the white, think it all looks a bit floaty. This led to me trying to re-design the 2nd design I’d made.

 

Design 3

Design 4

This design is a adaptation of Design 2, I’ve made the inner circle white so as to remove the dominance of the black in the print. I think this contrast works well, and the red lines around the edge help make it fun/intriguing still. I liked this design best so started to trace it and prepare it for cutting into lino…

Final Design layers

Final Design layers

Final Design cut in Lino blocks

Final Design cut in Lino blocks

These are the three blocks of cut Lino – took 6-8 hours to cut them, and following doing a rubbing of each with tracing paper I think there may be more marks/texture to the image than in my design, but this could work well. we’ll see.

 

Project 7: Testing the Lino cut blocks…

Last Thursday I did some test prints of each individual lino block, to see how they looked printed and to see if I felt there was any more cutting away that needed to be done.

Test Prints - Layer 1

Test Prints – Layer 1

This test has a second layer on it which is badly registered as I forgot that it was a test print and I hadn’t created it in a jig. So when I came to print the second layer using a jig of course it was mismatched – a silly mistake! But back to my point the grey back ground layer was originally a test print which I was happy with the quality of – in terms of how the image/lines I’d cut away printed. So I didn’t feel the need to make any changes to the lino before using it to print again.

Test Prints - Layer 2

Test Prints – Layer 2

This layer as you can see has a lot of little lines where there’s little pieces of lino picking up ink. I wanted it to be a cleaner image so set about cutting away most of the little lines so only the central deliberate shapes remained.

Test Prints - Layer 3

Test Prints – Layer 3

This layer was the layer that took the longest originally to prepare as I had to cut so much away. Again there’s still a lot of extra lines on the test print. So I set about cutting most of these away for a cleaner print.

 

 

Project 7: Initial multi-block lino prints

Once I had cut away/cleaned up my lino blocks to a point at which I felt they’d produce clean prints I began the process of doing my first few multi block prints. I wanted to try them on a few different types of paper, so cut my paper to size and a jig to sink the blocks into to aid proper registration first, before printing. 

Having set up my jig and got my papers I began printing. I knew printing the background in black (as the original design had intended) would mean that the lightest red layer (third layer) would be only partially visible so I changed the colours of the design that I would print. I wanted a grey/beige base layer and to keep the blue and cherry red of the 2nd and 3rd layers.

I found creating the colour beige/grey quite tricky as mixing the oil based ink is tricky, I often end up with much more ink on the printing plate than I wanted. Not sure quite how to improve that at the moment.

Multi block print on Japanese printing paper

Multi block print on Japanese printing paper

I think this printed fairly well, it’s not 100% perfect in terms of registration but the little edge of white around the smaller feathers is actually quite a nice little border. There’s some red lines in the top right hand corner that I’d rather weren’t there so I’ll cut some more of that layer away when I re-print. I’m also not sure about the beige, I’d prefer a grey colour.

Multi block print on Cartridge Printing paper

Multi block print on Cartridge Printing paper

I like the way this looks printed on the slightly thicker cartridge paper. In theory it should look clearer on the thinner Japanese paper but it’s got a nice level of ink on this print. Maybe it’s using the jig and bit more pressure that’s helped it to print well.

Multi block print on brown paper

Multi block print on brown paper

This as you can see it only a two layer print I didn’t complete the third layer as I thought it wouldn’t improve the quality of the print. I don’t think this worked very well. The colour is too pale (of the background layer) against the brown paper. I know I wouldn’t do it like this again!

I’m going to clean up the red layer lino by cutting some more away, and then try printing again with a grey back ground layer before then trying a different colour scheme.

Possible colour scheme’s are: Beige/lime green/yellow, grey/purple/yellow, blue/red/grey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Project 7: Different colour ways

I’ve begun different colour version’s of the multi block print.

Grey, Yellow, Green Print

Grey, Yellow, Green Print

I had thought this yellow would be more citrus yellow than a golden colour, but I quite like the golden colour and am happy enough to leave it as it is. Perhaps something to try later on would be a different shade of yellow.

Grey, Blue, Red Print

Grey, Blue, Red Print

This is with a navy blue, it’s not printed quite as I expected, I think I underestimated how much ink I needed on the printing plate and my roller to get an even coverage of blue. I think I’ll go for a more bold primary colour red than a cherry red to go with the blue.

Yellow, Purple & Green Print

Yellow, Purple & Green Print

I kind of like this yellow print on it’s own, but think it’ll work very well with a purple second layer and green third layer.

 

 

Project 7: More colour ways

Grey, Blue, Red Print

Grey, Blue, Red Print

Above is the completed print begun a few days ago, finished with a red layer. I like the colours together, they compliment each other without fading into the background or outstanding each other.

Grey, Yellow, Green Print

Grey, Yellow, Green Print

In my head these colours worked really well together, on print however they remind me of St.Patrick’s day. This wasn’t really what I was going for. I’m not entirely sure what would help this print/what colour combinations would’ve worked better. However I really liked the colour of the yellow and thought it could work well being the background colour rather than the colour of the second layer (where it sits quite oddly against the other colours). So I set about taking three prints of the first layer in yellow to then try different colour combinations on top.

Background prints in Yellow

Background prints in Yellow

Project 7: Developed colour ways

So having printed the yellow base layer’s I moved on to printing the two other layers of colour. I had a little mishap on one of the prints so only two are actually decent. But that’s what you get for rushing!

Yellow, Purple, Pink Print

Yellow, Purple, Pink Print

I’m not entirely happy with this print, it’s a tad girly/sickly for my taste. And the pink layer is a bit smudgy as I must have moved the paper while trying to get a print.

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