print, Printmaking, Uncategorized

Printy, Printy!

Oh yes! An evening in the garage continuously listening to Them Crooked Vultures (b*****y brilliant!) and doing plenty of printing. With mixed results.  I started with the wood block of course:

I was quite sad but equally excited putting ink on the clean block. It’ll never be clean again… I started with raw Prussian Blue (I first used this on an etching last year and have developed an unhealthy fixation with it) and went on to add white and black, plus more blue as the evening progressed. I will buy some other colours soon, honest!

I only pulled five prints of this and was not terribly happy with the results. I’ve photographed the same word on each print to show variations in quality.

The first was under inked. I’d rather under- than over -ink at first and this was a predictable result for the first pull.

Second print was more solid with a few patchy areas indicating that I was getting the inking to a better level, if not consistency.

Third print was the best of the three, but not without it’s weak spots (don’t worry, you’ll see a full print later on in this post!)

Fourth print was patchy again, so I added some black to the inkplate

The last print was patchy again, but I was frustrated by my working conditions! (more of which to follow!)

This is a full image of print three. The colour is a bit variable because I photographed it rather than scanning as the ink is still a bit tacky. So what was I frustrated by?

Muck, really. The spot above is called a ‘hickey’ and is caused by a bit of muck getting onto the roller durink inking up. This creates the spot and pushes the paper away to create the halo effect. I am quite tolerant of this usually, because I accept that I am working in my garage and it not the purpose built studio I would like it to be! (Any donations welcome!) But in this case, I am frustrated because this hickey looks like a full stop.

This print is quite interesting as it looks a bit like a 1950’s horror movie title! The little white ‘nicks are where the top layer of the ply has split whilst cutting, which has not been visible on the block until now.


There are patchy areas in all of the prints which I think might be to do with the water-based inks on the wood, but some enquiries at college today also pointed towards my press blankets (thanks Mr. Setchell!) which are a just couple of sheets of cheap felt. These have been fine for most of what I’ve printed so far, but I think I shall have to invest in some ‘proper’ press blankets before I try again.

The little patch around the ‘AB’ of ‘abroad’ was puzzling – this is about 10mm diameter and on inspection of the block I found that the ink had not transferred in that patch but I couldn’t make out any variation in the surface.

I have left all of the ink on the block. Not cleaned it to be more precise. I mentioned before that I thought there may be an issue with the ink and the wood because it took/absorbed a lot of ink (much more than I would have expected) for these few pulls. I’m hoping that the ink will form a partial seal to the wood and with proper press blankets, I may be able to get some good quality prints…

I do like the under-inked effect though, especially where the ink gathers at the edge of the image to form lines.

The evening didn’t finish there though.

I pulled some prints of a block of wood…

and some leather, both of which will be scanned at a high-resolution and posted on flickr for use as textures in a week or so.

I also continued with my experimental postcard overprinting that I started last time. I intend to keep adding a new layer each time I print. I don’t know what these will end up like, but I’m enjoying seeing what happens…

In the spirit of the comments generated by the last type/print entry, what follows next could be described as printyporn, pornoprint, print-porno etc, but I’d like to get mine in first – ‘hand-relief printing!’  (ok then, that’s set the tone for the next batch of comments – but that’s ok – there are no complaint forms here!!) There is very little commentary to the images. Please enjoy them for what they are, but do clean up after yourselves…

Mmm, look at the serif on that!

This is what my secret santa got me this year; a little Mini block! By best mate Mick used to own and restore Minis in his younger days. I printed off a few of these with different bits of type (most are a bit messy like this, but I kind of like it!) and intend to send him a little pack for his birthday later this year! Don’t tell him.

Ah well. I’d better go back and see if the kids still recognise me…

I will have to revisit the woodblock though. I need to get a good print. I need to get a good print.


13 thoughts on “Printy, Printy!

  1. “I will have to revisit the woodblock though. I need to get a good print. I need to get a good print.”


    Seriously though, cracking work. The ‘vultures seem to suit the mood of the piece somehow. I wonder if the music vibes translated to your print? Seems so in your Dirty Blues prints!

  2. C’mon Christian, you know me by now – there is always a bit of OCD in everything – if you are going to make something, make it good!

    But seriously, I have spent quite a while cutting this b****y block (and am still suffering some physical discomfort!) and am determined to get a couple of good prints! One is yours, of course, because I am SO excited about the Adana!!!! I feel like my youngest daughter (Lowercase!) did just before christmas when she realised that she was getting the GOGO Pets – this years christmas fad present!

    Mmmm, letterpress!

  3. im glad you mentioned the 1930’s horror film connection, i was immediately thinking that from the first image. maybe even slightly saul bass. very impressed tho!

  4. Hi Christopher,
    I’ve been using 1/4″ thick piece of semi-firm craft foam as my blanket with decent results. My nipping press is only 10″x13″ though. I also found that peeling up a corner of the print, after a pressing, just to check quality prior to pulling the paper all the way off helps. At that point you can hold the paper in position with one hand and re-ink with the other, if necessary. Just some suggestions; hope they help, although, I’ve never worked with wood carvings.
    Can’t wait to see more!

  5. Chris
    absolutely awesome!!, well done, glad to see new and old technology can work in harmony, might be a nice idea, to turn your mac artwork of this into a polymere printing plate, I know you lose the handmade touch, but could be worth a go.
    Or even scan in your printed work, and then maake a plate!!

  6. Thanks Paul. Strangley enough, I have just put out a couple of price requests for polymer blocks – not for this, but for another project. I am going to print this again, but made some changes to my process and with better press blankets. I am also making a carrier jig to help with positioning and registration in the press, that should also make it less prone to movement as I put it in. Watch this space…

  7. Chris, these are a lovely set of prints. I think the choice of typeface is particularly interesting, not one I have seen before, but it works so well. I was working with linocut the other day, and it crossed my mind, that the plates are often as nice as the prints they produce; if only the type/image didn’t have to be in reverse or they would almost work simultaneously.

    Also I thought you might be interested in this…

    Unfortunately it is a bit short notice, but it didn’t cross my mind to tell you until I blogged my books which will be for sale there. Although I’m mostly excited about seeing all the other work which will be on show. Hopefully photography will be allowed!

  8. Cheers Aaron, I know what you mean about the blocks being as nice as the prints – I was looking at someones portfolio on a blog whilst browsing recently and found a guy using lino as a primary medium – cutting images the right way around, and hand inking the block to make a textured relief image – no print! I have just been looking again and can’t find the link, but if I find it I’ll let you know!

    I should be printing this block again next week with new blankets and paper, so keep checking in…

    Good luck at the artists book event – I hope you sell some! Take some images and put a post up on your blog. Enjoy, and be inspired!

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