I began this project with some drawings of various parts of Coventry City Centre, as mentioned in part 1 of this series of posts. I then decided to make a large scale pencil drawing based on various angles of the City Centre (see photo below)…
In an effort to consider possible printing methods I decided to re-draw the large scale image of the centre using charcoal pencils for the outlines and pro-marker pens for some flashes of colour. I was thinking this would give me an idea of how a mono-print and mono painted combination might work (see image below).
I liked the way the drawing turned out but found it hard to judge how much colour was enough or too much. It feels like such a fine line between being effective colour to being over done. That aside I wasn’t 100% convinced on the design so decided to go back to the large scale drawing and trace over sections of it using various different sized squares/rectangles. I started with a landscape orientated rectangle, then a medium sized rectangle and then three small squares. I then drew these in fine liner pen, you can see these in sequence below:
After a bit of thought my preference seemed to be for the smaller series of squares. In my mind these could have worked as a series of mono-prints. As the drawings were created with a black fine liner a black mono-print would’ve been the logical choice. But as I looked back at some of my earlier drawings and watercolour sketches I felt like a black image would not have portrayed the mood of the city centre. The city centre has a large amount of red brick buildings and red/sand coloured floor stones. I felt like creating mono-print in a red/clay tone would be more in keeping with how I saw the mood/feel of the city.
However having said all this there is a stage in my decision making process (regarding the printing method) which I haven’t mentioned…
Exploring ‘Kitchen Lithography’:
As far as my research has led me to believe ‘Kitchen Lithography’ is a method of printing invented by French Artist, Emilion. Essentially her method replaces the harsh chemicals and need for stone in traditional lithography with tin foil and using animal fat/soap and coke for the etching process.
I found a blog post written by someone experimenting with her method. You can read their post here: The Joy Of Kitchen Lithography by SparkBoxStudio. They recommended using sharpie pens as an alternative to animal fat soap or lithography crayons.
I also found this you-tube demonstration: Kitchen Lithography Demo by Felicia DiGiovanni
I decided to try and follow the example by Felicia DiGiovanni in her video and take on board the sharpie pen tip from SparkBoxStudio. I started to draw the small square designs onto tin foil sheets with sharpie pen (see photographs below)…
I then set about gathering the tools/materials needed for the method. These were: Coke, Vinegar, Cold Water & Sponges, Vegetable Oil, Oil Based Ink and some Glass surfaces for printing.
I tried to document the stages of the process using photographs:
This was the second stage with all the materials assembled and the printing plate primed.
I carried out my ‘etching’ stage in my kitchen sink. It basically involved pouring coke or vinegar over the tin foil plate for around 5 or so seconds.
The next stage didn’t seem quite as hitch free as the etching stage. This stage involved ‘buffing’ the image off the plate with vegetable oil and damp sponges.
You can see in the photo that I managed to tear away some of the tin foil during this process. It was particularly tricky first time around.
Here’s where I think I went wrong! I used Caligo Safe Wash Oil Based Black Ink for the inking stage. I knew I needed an oil based ink but hadn’t really considered that the fact that Caligo inks wipe away with water fairly easily as a major problem…I was wrong!
So this stage was supposed to show the inked block ready for printing. However as is clear from the photo all I managed to achieve was some black oil water blobs. I think I used the wrong ink for this type of printing.
It’s clear I need to invest in some lithography or etching inks and perhaps some lithography crayons if I wish to try this method of printing again in the future…
I knew I needed to do some kind of print for this project so I returned to the idea of a series of mono-prints in a red/clay colour.
I chose to make use of the back drawing method of mono-printing for this series. I documented the stages by taking photographs and a series of three very short films of different stages of the printing process.
It’s interesting to see from each of the prints the variation. Each was created by back-drawing on the paper with a regular ball-point pen. Now I had to ink each plate individually so the amount of ink did vary, I tried to keep it a thin layer and to keep pressure very light on the paper. The prints were made with Somerset Satin paper, which I think gave a nice texture to the prints. But I wonder if the print quality would have been cleaner if I’d used a thinner/smoother paper.
The first print is the one I’m happiest with in terms of quality, and the second is the one that I’m least happy with. The third print is an interesting one – you can see the detail of the lines but there’s a lot more extra texture or colour than I would have liked.