Sunday, 11 January 2009

One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish

The title of this post is from the Dr Seuss book of the same name and it kept running through my head as I did this printing process. But aside from having fish and colours in it, it has little to do with this post.

The aquatic theme still finds its way into my work and here into Watermarks. This stylized fish was from an old piece that I had done years ago and now translated into a lino print.

I've been looking longingly at lino printing for awhile and decided that it was about time to plunge in. The full process from design to print can be read on my blog, Illustrated Life and today I have played around with some more colours and papers to see what I could come up with.

My next experiment will be to add other colour or texture to the pieces after they have dried. Right now they are being printed on 9 x 6 sheets of anything from plain old sketch paper to Somerset and this black smooth paper which I can't remember the name of.

So what have I learned from this so far?

1. Choose your design carefully. It needs to be something that translates easily to lines and value blocks. I'm sure you can create something as complicated as you like, but I think that less is often more.

2. Think 10 times and cut once! Deciding on what will be printed with ink and what will be cut away can be a challenge as you're working in reverse, almost a negative effect. I found some thumbnail sketches trying out various values works well to give me a good idea of what looks good or not.

3. Have the right tools - or close to it. In my need for instant gratification, I accessed most of the tools I wanted locally but not all of them. While my final prints didn't turn out too badly, some finer gouges and a baren would have helped, as well as access to a broader selection of lino blocks. Thank heaven for mailorder!

4. Research. Despite my need for instant gratification, I did take time over the past week to do a lot of reading on lino printing and watched a lot of videos on the process. It really makes a difference to me to have both written words to reference and the visuals of watching someone actually completing the process.


Lindsay said...

I like the "Think 10 times cut once". So true!These are great, clear prints. Now I'm off to visit your site to read further.

Making A Mark said...

Brilliant posts - both this one and the one on your blog

I'm now going to have to buy gear to do lino printing. I can no longer resist!

Jeanette Jobson said...

Planning, for me, is essential before I make a cut, otherwise I'd have heaps of useless lino blocks littering my studio!

Oh yes Katherine, I can just see a lovely botanical study in lino in your future...its sooooo addictive, be warned!

Making A Mark said...

I'm getting addicted to the grasses and vegetation around the ponds and I'm trying to work out what would be an effective media for them - and it might be this!

Fluffy bull rushes!

vivien said...

excellent post and I like the print in pale ink on dark paper particularly

I too need to get some finer cutting tools.

I found a medium that supposedly converts oil paints to printing ink consistency which I think I'll order and try out - it sounds perfect.

Planning ..... organisation ..... oh dear! I'm organisationally dyslexic!

Gesa said...

How cool, we are doing similar things, I've just done linoprinting for my course last week and am getting more into it, just as well, as there are plenty more assigments to do with it; such a useful set of instructions too. Hm, that's somethign I'm never to good at, but I'm working myself up for the 3 block lino instruction to follow once I've got it all marked, cut and transferred.
Yes - Katherine, I think relief print may work very well for the bushes, I think for my water reflections and the grasses surrounding it certainly does - it's so versatile in terms of markmaking.
Vivien - as for medium, I've read that stand oil work for that. Haven't tried it yet but saw it mentioned in various places, and I'm sure my OCA tutor mentioned it to me too!
I'm using the watersoluble oil-based inks - caligo - and i'm quite happy with them; but would like to experiment with oil paints (and the pigments I am more familiar with).

Africantapestry and Myfrenchkitchen said...

Love these bold fish Jeanette!

Laura Frankstone said...

Wonderful, Jeanette! I think linocuts are a great medium! I bought lino tools and such a couple of years ago, but never turned my attention to them. Your example is inspiring!

Sarah said...

I get titles running around as I work too, am liking the very strong design of these fish, interesting how the colour and paper affects the prints too.