For my final print I decided to make use of the reduction method of printing. I had also thought of combining this with some chine colle. However as I began the printing process I decided the print was better in one technique than a combination…
The above photo is of a clipping from a John lewis catalogue, it’s a clipping of a napkin from their summer 2012 home collection. I really liked the colour combinations here and thought they would work wonderfully for a reduction method print. I then set about drawing up a rough colour version of a design in my sketchbook:
I used watercolours to come up with the design and they weren’t the best choice as the colours have blended, especially the blue and green. But I felt confident that the colour’s from the John lewis swatch would work well together, complementing and contrasting each other without any one colour drowning out the other.
The next stage in the process was to think about enlarging the image to around A3 scale, I used a photo copier to help me enlarge the A4 sketch I’d done:
I then used this enlargement as the basis for tracing so I could transfer the design onto a piece of lino I had which was just larger than A3 (40 X 30 cm). As the lino was larger than A3 I knew there would be a border around the image, but I decided to keep it that way, as part of the design.
But before I could begin printing I gave some thought to my method of registration. In the past registration has always been a bit of a weakness so I wanted to research methods. I discovered this video of Simon Ripley an artist who works for ‘Double Elephant print workshops’ demonstrating a different method of registration:
I felt like this was a more fool proof method than previous method I’d used, so decided to go ahead and use it. Here’s the registration set up before printing:
It’s worth mentioning I had chosen paper before creating the registration block, so that the block was created around the measurements of the paper. I prepared five pieces of paper prior to printing, to allow for some mistakes/poor prints, and ensure I would have some good prints in the end. Choice of paper’s were: Zerkall smooth x 1, Japanese Simili paper x 2, Japanese Massa Paper x 2. Ideally I would’ve preferred more Zerkall paper but had only enough for one print left after using some in an earlier print (and not enough time to order more).
With the paper ready for printing I set about tracing the first stage of the reduction onto the lino, and cutting out the areas I wanted to remain white on the print:
I made sure for the first stage of printing to cut away the white areas and use my lightest colour, knowing it would not be clearly visible at a later stage over the dark blue and green.
Most of the prints came out okay at the first stage of printing, except the print on the Zerkall smooth paper. This had nothing to do with the paper, but rather my addition of some chine colle lettering. I wanted to use the ‘butchers’ letters I’d used in the rainbow rolling print but this time actually stick them onto the print using chine colle. I hadn’t however particularly thought this through, and so ended up sticking the letters onto the paper in the wrong order:
it’s also worth noting that this was the worst stage at which to incorporate chine colle as it’s the stage with the most ink and therefore the lettering is largely obscured. From all possible angles this is an awful print, and a shame before the colour came out so well on the Zerkall paper.
But I had four good prints left and was determined to complete the next stage of the print. The second stage of the print had mixed success, with only three of the prints coming out with good enough quality registration:
The print above worked excellently and I was very pleased at how well the two layers sat on top of each other, however my next print was not so great:
From the close up it’s easy to see how bad the registration was on that paper, his eyes don’t match up!!
Moving onto the third stage of printing was now slightly more nerve wrecking as I had only three viable prints to work with. And I was concerned with mixing the green well enough to work against the blue of the forth stage.
Thankfully the colour turned out well:
Unfortunately a few marks were left were I didn’t fully cut away areas, so lines transferred over onto the prints. This does spoil them a bit but I don’t think completely ruins them!
I think it’s clear from the photo’s above that at the third stage the print was looking best on the Japanese Simili paper and not the Massa. It’s not that it was really badly registered on the Massa paper just not as effective?
So I entered the final stage of printing with three or two potentially viable prints
Again I was nervous about mixing the blue correctly as blue can sometimes be so tricky (for me any way). Thankfully this turned out better than expected and was clear enough to stand out against the green of the third print:
I’m really pleased with the final print. I think the colours whilst slightly different to my original design, work well together to create a cohesive print. The registration is good enough that it doesn’t detract from the print overall but could be improved. I think I just need more practice to improve at registering prints. Although this isn’t the most complex or intricate design ever seen I think it’s a vast improvement on my first attempt at reduction method printing earlier in the course. I can see that now I could be more confident with adding detail and less cautious but overall I still think I pushed myself and demonstrated a progression in skill.