Thursday, September 3, 2009

Three tips for Lincut Printing

Howdy folks! I have been having a long break, spending time in Finland with family and enjoying the summer. I made a little picture diary of things that I loved there. You can find it here. As far as intaglio printing goes I am out of commission until the semester starts back up again at TCC on Sept 28th. I was silly and left my materials in the studio, thinking I would not need them. That's ok though, it has given me time to make some linocuts.
Remember the age old game of telephone? As part of my new theme of animals conspiring against us, I am working on a linocut series of animals passing a message along to each other. I was trying to make them look a little like vintage illustrations. I don't know if it worked or not. Here are the first two I finished so far. It's supposed to be 9 little prints when it's done.

I was using the speedball watersoluble block printing ink to print the last prints. Since the plates were so small, I just hand burnished them. Below is my print setup at home. I have always had problems with this ink drying up and becoming gummy after about 10 prints. Since I am thrifty and don't want to throw out ink I paid for (I have 5 different colors of this stuff), this is the solution to work with it. I took my small atomizer bottle meant for watercolor painting and misted the rolled out ink surface lightly in between prints. That enabled me to print indefinitely with the ink. Also- don't squeeze out too much ink on the plate for rolling out at a time. I am still not crazy about these inks, they are watersoluble like watercolor even after at least 5 days after printing and drying. But because of the same reason, they are easy to use at home (which we are renting) for easy cleanup.

Tip #2: Linocuts curling up on you? If you work on smaller sizes, the plates always curl up after they are washed. Bigger ones flatten out with weight but not these ones. If you dry them in between phone books with a weight on it they will flatten back out. Here is a before after photos. Oops, the plate is different in the photo, but you get the point.

Below is a print that I was working for a comission. A friend wanted a print of a chickadee to give to her father for a birthday present. I figured that since it ties in with my other animal prints, I would make a whole edition of them. Here is where the tip #3 comes in (afterthoughts kill me). I tried to do some watercolor on top of the print (before I knew it would run) and of course it bled all over. I also printed them on Rives light weight since I was hand printing, so the paper warped a lot when it got wet. To fix these two problems, I had to get a little crafty.

I used Krylon crystal clear spray on the print and let it dry thoroughly. Then I added wheat paste to the watercolor to keep it from soaking in immediately. This helped me apply the color more evenly and kept the paper from wrinkling up. In the end, it turned out great. She loved it. I had to turn it in as soon as I got it done, so I don't have a picture right now, but I will color the other prints as well so we'll have a picture in a couple of days.

Hope those are some helpful hints to someone out there. Just chuggin' along here.

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