Good day to you! I am feeling great today after my surgery. I have not even needed to take a pain killer yet! Praises to God for that. I know a lot of people have been praying for me, and I think it has really helped.
Today is the first day of my letterpress class, and as I had written before, I wanted to blog about my previous one before I jump into the next one. I also taught an acrylic plate litho class over the weekend, and we had great results with different media.
So at the nontoxic printmaking class we also used two different soft grounds. The first one was made by using Graphic Chemical water based relief ink- Crimson Red #1661 and Lascaux Transparentlack #2060. The transparentlack was added to make the ink dry quicker on the plate- don't use too much of it or it will dry too quickly. We mixed in ratio of 1 part transparentlack and 3 parts red ink. There are some interesting comments on the technique in the Graphic Chemical Bulletin board.
Below- we were using a thin aluminum plate from an offset litho place as a rolling out surface. A fun idea.
below- here is the teacher rolling out the red base on the plate. There is a limited time to work on this, so I would not go out to lunch in the middle of all this. After the ink has been rolled out, let it dry slightly, just a couple of minutes, and then roll it though the press with what ever you were going to use on your soft ground. Tip- to keep backing paper around your feather or other material, sticking down to the softground, slightly oil a piece of mylar and set it over the plate and softground materials before running through the press. That way no extra soft ground gets picked up. For the same problem you can also just cover the areas up with the johnson hardground by hand after you ran it through the press.
I did some pieces of moss and leaves for my soft ground try out. The dark areas on my plates are aquatint that was sprayed to keep some of the more open areas from completely open biting.
You can also use the red ground as a regular etching resist hard ground. After rolling it out, dry it on a hot plate for about 20 min. It will stay flexible enough for a little while (day or so) so you could just draw through it with you etching needle. I like this option, because this ground stays on pretty well, and you don't have to be as careful with it as you have to with the johnson hardgrounds. The result looks much like a traditional line etching with asphaltum hard ground.
The second soft ground we did was mixing 3 parts Graphic Chemical water based ink Black #1659 and 1 part Lascaux Transparentlack #2060. This works similar to the red ink soft ground, but the ink granules are more coarse. You can either roll the ground on and then manipulate it with distilled water or then mix it with dist. water in little cups for several "strengths" to paint with directly on the plate. The different thicknesses of ground will let the ferric chloride bite though at different lengths of time. We used an Edinburg etch for all the etching in the class. Below is an example of a plate that we were working with the black ground - rolling it on and painting it with water ground mixture.
I like the possibility of some really nice tousche type washes with these grounds. You can use the red ground in the same way as the black. After rolling the red ground on you can use distilled water, which will separate the ink particles. The red will give you a finer wash and the black a coarser wash. You can also use sticks, q-tips and different type of brushes to manipulate the ground. If you are using the red ink just on its own without the transparentlack, you can get a stepped aquatint where the lighter applied areas will etch through first and thicker applied areas etching last. Below some pictures of us mixing the grounds and painting on them.
Here is a nice example of the soft ground wash etched on a plate. The plate, the print and a closeup:
I also found another link for floorwax etching ground using Future-floor polish. It can be found here.
Whew, are you still ready for some more information? Here are some images from the plastic plate lithography I taught over the past weekend. I had previously used Z-Acryl plates, and this time I had ordered some Pronto plates. I wanted to see what the differences were. I was also interested in trying this out, since from my research I had figured that crayon drawings might work better on these plates.
We were able to try out several techniques. One of the students brought in her drawing and she just ran over to Office Max to get that xeroxed on to a plate. Her prints turned out great, exactly like her original drawing was. Here are a couple of pictures of that.
Above- proofing on the press.
below- the plate itself and below that the print from it.
Closeups of both.
I was really excited to try what happened when we used crayons on this material. I read that Korn's litho crayon #4 works best, so I had some of those ready on hand. One of the students made a drawing with it. To our horror as soon as we wiped the plate wet, the crayon washed right off. But to our suprise, the crayon had left an oily residue, that picked up ink as we rolled it up. We only had time to proof it twice, and the results were very interestng. I think if we would have rolled it up a little more, it would have rolled up quite nicely. So I was very encouraged by the results! Drawing with crayons on the Z-Acryl plates in the past did not seem to work at all. The ink would pick up when rolling, and leave behind nothing. Another 2 things I liked better with the pronto plates, was the there is no wrong or right side and that it is more translucent. Having it more translucent makes it easier to work with for beginning students I think, if they need to trace their drawings.
Here is a proof of a horse drawn quickly with a ball point pen. This is a pretty foolproof media to use on the plates.
That was quite a long post, but I'm glad I got to report on all the exciting things I've discovered in the last couple of days and months. Hope you enjoyed it, letterpress stuff to follow next.