Friday, August 13, 2010

'Local mackerel' linocut, inking to printing...

Using a heavy-duty craft (Stanley) knife to get rid of excess lino
All off, then I bevelled the outer edge of the fish to avoid it catching any ink
This Japanese 'Yuki' paper was intended to be used, however it was too fibrous/furry and didn't take ink well. In the end I used watercolour paper, which was just as well as I added some hand-colouring which the thin Yuki wouldn't be fit for.
Taking a rubbing with a graphite/lead pencil, 'brass-rubbing-style', is a great way to foresee how the print will come out, like a dry proofing. Albeit the wrong way round, it will let you know if there's any lines not quite working.
The complete rubbing.
I was keen to produce a vertical gradated colour effect with black on the fishes back to ultramrarine blue at its belly. The ink is then picked up on the roller where the gradation becomes more fluid as the roller goes back and forth. So the roller was used vertically here. The trick is to span the gradation only within the height that you need. Mixing/thinning the ink at this point is very tricky as you can't mess around with the blended inks too much without spoiling the gradation.
The goal is to achieve a fine 'pore' to the ink to get to a good and thin consistency. Listen out for a fine 'hiss' too as the roller runs to and fro, this is a good sign that the ink is ready. At the point that this photo was taken, it is visibly too thick, as seen on the roller.
My roller bed is virtually the same size as my intendeed paper (about 30cm deep), so I stuck (with double-sided tape) the fish down on the same size peper that will be used to print on. A piece of card on the right is stuck on the edge. This will have the 'receiving' paper butted against it to register accurately.
The fish is inked and awaiting a sheet of paper (and a printing felt over that) before the roller does its work.
A ghostly fish is visible through the thin Japanese paper. Felt is laid over this to cushion the printing matrix.
After repeat inkings and prints are made, unless you are, if you are imperfect like me, going to get ink where you don't want it. Simple cover those places up with some masking tape or paper - anything that masks the area as long as it is lower than the lino (otherwise it will also pick up ink, of course).

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