Some terrific print results from the experimental blocks I cut yesterday. All prints are on 110gsm cartridge paper and are printed using chrome yellow hue (oil paint not ink) plus black ink +40% extender.
What’s interesting about this? Well the vinyl has a slightly textured surface as it is designed to look like faux granite and the recessed areas haven’t picked up the ink. So I’ve got fantastic random marks coming through after rolling.
Are these prints what the course tutors are looking for? I have no idea, but what I do know is that I’m thrilled with them. I’ve spent months trying to get precise prints beautifully transferred and have looked in envy at others who seem to be able to make wonderful odd marks that add atmosphere to their pieces. Finally, finally, I’ve achieved a range of weird random blotches and scrapings myself (ignoring the lino tool section on the right). On the left I can see a snowstorm or a tornado swirling debris with the outline of a distant building or shed. In the middle are tracks in the snow on a dark night or perhaps shiny icy patches underfoot. The lino tool marks on the right are, well …. lino tool marks.
Textured yoga mat.
What a disaster! In my last post I wrote how this came away in chunks when being cut or scored. I thought I had cleaned all the bits out of the grooves but as soon as I rolled the ink over the mat the roller picked up loads of tiny particles of blue plastic. So after getting it fully inked I had to clean the roller and the entire work surface before starting on my next piece.
The sandpaper scratching came out best on this, bottom right corner, and the rest looks rather messy and indistinct. The mat itself has an interesting linear pattern and it could be used as is without cutting into it.
The ink covered the cardboard well but had some problems around the circular punch areas. The punches had pushed too much of the cardboard into the corrugated recess below for them to be well-defined. The second print achieved more detail in that area. The cutout sections for the ‘candle’ worked effectively with the corrugated lines showing prominently. Some scope for use with this cutting out method I think.
All the marks were made with a soldering iron and I especially like the flicks on the right side. Angled and spaced correctly they could represent fireworks as they explode and drop to earth. Turned up the other way I can see foliage or dense grasses and overgrown ground cover.
However, the most amazing thing is the side swiping of the soldering iron back and forth across the surface melting tiny areas as it moved. Am I crazy or does that section appear to be sparkling and shining as light hits it? It seems to be a fast revolving silver cylinder. Love it, and what a great foam to use for printing.
The blue foam is a lot softer than the funky foam but the ink coverage was still good and fairly easy (left photo). Again the soldering iron marks came up well but on this piece I’m picking out the marks on the bottom left of the print. These were made by dragging the V-shaped lino tool towards me upside down along the foam multiple times. I haven’t made marks like these with any other experiment.
Polystyrene has a unique look of its own. My punches have achieved a super effect here and the second printing has picked up more ink, so defining the punch patterns even better. The individually spaced markings are fine but the interest lies in where I randomly quickly stabbed the polystyrene multiple times overlapping the punch marks. The bigger punch has allowed the surface within the punch rim to remain and so I get the partially filled circles. Now I have to think what I can use this texture for.
Here I tried cutting through the polystyrene with the soldering iron. As it sinks into the polystyrene so easily it creates a deep cut and so I got very clear imagery printed. Worms swimming in caviar perhaps!
Beautiful to carve, smooth surface, more manageable than silk-cut lino.
Here it can be seen as it should be. Why this one and not on many of the previous prints? I believe it’s related to the surfaces I’ve been using. The vinyl and ezy-carve can both be print substitutes for lino. Both have very smooth sealed surfaces and it’s possible to roll ink very thinly multiple times over them creating a gradual build-up and an excellent outcome. All the other products I’ve tried have either a slightly porous aspect, so soaking up more ink, or a softer foam type of surface which, whilst semi-sealed, still seems to absorb more ink than the vinyl and ezy-carve. In addition these two products are hardened and can withstand pressure from the print press without flattening as with many of the others.
The soldering iron marks above have produced a line drawing effect with a white surround. That could be useful if I want to have a dominant feature. And how good are my scratchings? The sandpaper is a winner on this surface with the knitting needle not producing anything worthwhile.
This has been a fabulous exercise and I’ve picked up a lot more mark making techniques to take forward.