How did you find this process?
Printing is new to me so it has taken a while to get used to my oil paints/inks. Painting with brushes in project 1 was completely different to trying to achieve a flat evenly rolled print plate in this project. The key is getting the paint consistency right because if it is thinned/diluted unevenly this shows up on the final image. So this is something to be constantly checked.
Another thing I’m now aware of is when the roller is narrower than the print plate to be covered it can leave a line across the plate from the edge of the roller. I think it is going to be worth investing in a wider roller to avoid this issue. It’s fine for these things to happen at the beginning of the course whilst a novice but I don’t want to be plagued by them as I improve my techniques in the future.
I made my templates from plastic coated paper which left a texture on the plate once it was removed, so all further prints had a textural quality. I like it, perhaps because I’m interested in pattern and texture rather than flat imagery, but for the next project I’ll use regular paper templates so I can gauge the difference in results. I chose the plastic paper as I hoped it could be used a couple of times before having to be discarded, so minimising my template cutting time, but getting it clean to re-use proved as time-consuming as cutting a new one. On the plus side, it is easy to cut with a craft knife and is more robust than ordinary paper and less likely to tear in the wrong place when cutting out.
Did your ink dry too quickly and not print evenly or was it easy to achieve a smooth print?
Having read some of the issues of working at speed using water based paints, and knowing my lack of experience in printing, I deliberately chose oil based products to allow myself more time to work as I become more familiar with the process. So, no, my inks didn’t dry too quickly.
The evenness, or lack of such, is more due to using plastic paper stencils as detailed above – giving texture rather than a flat covering -, occasional incorrect mixing of paint with vegetable oil thinner resulting in oil bleed marks, printing on dry heavyweight paper that won’t pick up sufficient paint and a difference in pressure between hand printing and putting through my small press.
Whilst it’s been enjoyable so far, I wouldn’t say any of it has been easy. Practice and experience with the products I’m using should help as I progress.
Does your image work well in both its positive and negative forms?
Yes, it does. I put a lot of time into sourcing, choosing and preparing my images and each one I considered was translated into a silhouette to test the workability of the simplified shape. I fairly quickly decided I was looking for something indicating movement, hence the eagles I chose. I also feel that the size of image in relation to the print plate worked well in both positive and negative forms.