I had this particular combination for printing in my mind pretty much from the start of looking at project 15. But I hadn’t really given lots of consideration to what the design would be, so my first port of call was considering colour and layout combinations…
My inspiration for a colour palette came from the Orla Kiely book ‘Pattern’. I mentioned this in a previous post but it’s worth mentioning again. Specifically I wanted to take inspiration from the colours on the left hand page of the book in the photo below:
I liked the vintage feel and warmth of the brown, light blue, green, orange pink, light pink and dark blue together. In my mind the brown would be the most dominant colour with the other colours as more background colours. I wanted to get ideas on to paper and came up with two designs for the print in my sketchbook:
I decided that I preferred the second design more than the first as it felt like there was more of a balance between the two techniques. In the first design the collagraphic element is everything above the road, which actually makes it feel quite over powered by the lino print portion of the image. I felt that by allowing the collagraph part of the print to come to the forefront of the design (with the figure in the front), it would hold it’s own better against the bolder lines of the lino cut.
I decided to use the same piece of lino I cut for the Rainbow Rolled print, except cutting away large areas which would not feature on this print. During the process of cutting the lino it occurred to me that perhaps by leaving some of the paving tiles in the lino cut, I could create more of a blend between the two techniques. I liked this idea so left some areas of the lino uncut, see image below:
Feeling satisfied with the linocut I then set about building my collatype board. This took quite a lot longer than I’d anticipated, mainly due to cutting out individual tiles for the paving slabs. Unfortunately I didn’t photograph it before covering it in ink, so I’ll show a photo of it covered in ink and explain more from there:
You’ll see from the photo it’s not a massively complex collagraph, I mainly wanted it to give a hint at different textures and the shape of things. Hence there’s a raised brick paper on the house, some but not all of the features of the man with the sign were created in paper, there’s the tiles but then no real detail on the building section. I wanted to keep the building and sky section fairly plain/untextured so as to allow the colour to be the dominant element and to form a back drop for the lino print to sit on top of.
Printing the collagraph had it’s own share of issues. The first print came out so faintly that I needed to do a second print, I think I’d wiped away too much of the ink so that not enough remained for the paper to get hold of:
I decided to make a few changes to colour when inking the block for the second attempt. This time I allowed the pink and green to be more dominant and only used the dark blue in small details. I think this helped to reduce some of the colour blending into purple. The second attempt although better than the first still wasn’t what I’d call a great print. I’m still uncertain as to why I seem to struggle with collagraph printing. I did use a hand held Japanese barren, brayer and rolling pin to try and get a good transfer of ink the second time, but to not avail:
In the interest of time keeping I decided not to have a third go at the collagraphic print stage so let the print dry and prepared to layer the linocut on top of it.
And here’s the finished print:
I’m fairly pleased with the result overall, I think the colours work well together and there’s a good balance of the two techniques. Admittedly the collagraphic element could do with being stronger, but I think even as it is it demonstrates a nice combination.I really like how the tiles are a mix of collagraph and lino print, its a nice meeting point of both worlds.
I think asides from re-doing the collagraph print I would make one change to the lino print layer – cutting away the corner line on the left hand side of the print. I think its actually a distracting, unnecessary line, so that would need to go in the event of improvements!
Next post: Reduction method linocut