The first colour has been printed. It’s time to move on. This is quite a moment, because there’s no going back – what you have is what you’ve got! I wasn’t sure how I was going to develop this when I began, so this is a kind of ‘as it happens’ post and I’m keeping my fingers crossed!
Once I’d removed a halo of around 5 mm around the words, I decided to clean up the block a little. During the last print run, I kept on picking up ink on the peaks – something I have actively incorporated in other lino prints, but I wanted the letters to remain white and clean on this one.
I used a flat bladed knife and a shallow curved gouge to take off all the peaks in the negative areas to minimise the possibility of picking up ink – I’ll also have to be careful inking up the block.
The central area is now relatively smooth. I decided to ‘loosen up the edges next, to introduce some of the lino texture into the print:
And it’s back to the press for the next colour, which as I mentioned before, is always an exciting affair (for us printerly types) as it usually the first time you get a real visual on the cutting:
The first print for me is always a plain proof print just to check that all is performing as it should, and then it is into production; here is the process for each print:
Inking – I used a small roller for this as I was working on a much reduced surface area – I had to be careful not to put any ink onto the cutaway space – when you have open spaces this is not as easy as it sounds!
EVERY inking left something on the block, so I needed to scrape it off with a blade and carefully remove the spoil…
With the sheet positioned in the jig (just a simple card structure with flaps to hold the print in place and position the block) I carefully put the block into place face down.
Four sheets of felt and a sheet of board go on top for packing (I have done some experiments and this works well for me on this process – I am not a purist!)
And in it goes. The press spins freely with fingertip ease – it is well oiled and only squeaks a little! These little copy presses were exceptionally well made and fit for purpose and I love using this press; it is so basic and relies upon your own feel for pressure…
Once the platen is down onto the block, a quick change of grip and a good pull (grunt!) and…
Well, not quite. Although I did do lots of cleaning up the blank areas after inking, some got through and fouled the white areas…
Some were not fully registered, but not so badly to render them useless – the nature of this design will tolerate a fair bit of ‘slippage’ and that’s printing for you! A lot were spot on though:
And although I did ‘lose’ a few, I am very pleased with the amount of prints available for the next and last step. So where are we now?