I have an itch that I need to scratch. My skull fixation needs to be further indulged and so I sketched out some more realistic drawings and decided upon another two colour print. I first drew out my skull on layout paper, carefully positioning it in a block measuring 135 x 110mm. On another layout paper overlay, I traced the block size, and the main areas of the skull. I used a grey marker to indicate the general colour areas – these details will be determined by the cutting process.
The rest is carved away – I won’t see how well I have done this until I go to print, but I have erred upon the safe side and probably left a little too much on. This will probably need some more work.
I decided to print this block before carving the next one – there is always time between printing each colour for more carving. The image above shows the inked-up block – a cool mid grey – on a card jig. This was made at the same time I cut the blocks as I wanted to get a good registration on this. The image below is just a close up of the inked block, but I guess you’re used to seeing this kind of thing here.
The first print is always a test on plain paper. The patchy inking always gets better on subsequent prints, but it is in the linework I am really interested in here. I’m actually quite happy with this as the quality is fairly consistent and so I will do a small run as it is. I may ‘thin it out’ for another print run at a later date though.
First print onto my handmade stock was immensely pleasing. Although I have run a few tests on the handmade paper before, this is the first ‘proper’ print. The paper was ‘trimmed’ to A5 size but without cutting as I wanted to retain the deckle edge. For this I run a water filled pipette down a ruler to wet the paper in a line, left it a few moments and then gently teased the two halves apart creating a fake deckle!
This block needed a slightly different approach. This time, I wanted to control the inner detail and allow the outside parts some freedom to develop. I used a red marker again as this helps to define smaller details.
Second block carved. This is my submission for things organised neatly. Enough of this OCD tomfoolery – time to print.
The first print is always a test to check the cutting and to get the block ‘started’ – I find it takes a couple of prints to bring the block up to print ready; getting a few coats of ink on and off the block until there is a uniform result. It’s always good to see ink the block for the first time too!
Using some A5 card for set ups (I printed a couple of extras just for this stage) I checked the registration and the two colour effect – I mixed a little black to some prussian blue for this, and away I went:
You can get one of these lovely prints on my handmade paper from The Department of Something Else