Its been a little while since I posted here, but now we’re back to business as usual. New house, new studio, new start. I picked up the etchings here from the last session down at Spike Print a couple of weeks ago.
Still need to sort out a better way of photographing or scanning these prints, but that will come. Click thumbs below for full size view…
Just picked up my 1st edition. I’m posting up all 8 of the prints I collected today so you can see the variation print-to-print. I’m bloody knackered. Spent all day today at the print studio editioning the next plate. I’d forgotten how tiring it is to be stood up all day. Didn’t go so well print-wise which is a bit annoying. It takes ages to work up the plate for each print and so much can wrong at any stage. I’m sure its just practise, but its so gutting seeing the prints turn out bad after spending so long inking and working the plate. Heh ho, its all part of the game…
Its difficult to see the difference because of the slightly shonky photography, but if you look at the areas such as the legs at the bottom of the plate or the black around the face you can see the variation. Click the thumbs below for larger images
Had my first full day down at Spike Print today, its great to finally start editioning prints after all the testing. I thought it’d be fun to post up the technique I am developing to render my Dry Point Etchings from Life Class. I’m determined to come up with something that no-one else is doing at the moment so I’ve been experimenting a lot with this method. Each print is individually hand-worked using the Artist Proof as a guide, so there is some variation from print to print. It takes a good half an hour from start to finish so its doubly gutting if it fails. By all means post comments if you have any questions about what I’m doing and I’ll be happy to answer.
Step 1: Warm the dry point etching on a hot plate. This heats the metal so that the printing ink becomes more viscous when it is applied and seeps in the marks more easily.
Step 2: Ink the plate evenly from all directions using a scrap of mount board until the entire surface is covered with flat even tone.
Just finished another very limited edition of 5 original inkings (and one Artists proof for me). Bought some 100cm x 70cm canvasses the other day and this is a good candidate to try out going big some time soon. This will probably be the last thing I post for the next few weeks, but I’m sure I’ll be champing at the bit to carry on as soon as I’m back from getting married and galavanting around tropical islands! Until then…
Just picked up last weeks prints from the print shop. Absolutely smashed it on a couple of these. Very happy indeed with the progress. Unfortunately now I’ve got a long break before I can get back in the studio so gotta hope that the ole mojo sticks around. Check em out…
Thats another limited edition of original inkings sorted. 10 copies, 1 wedding gift and 1 artists’ proof (A/P) for me. Very much enjoying inking these pics. Its quite a challenge as for some reason I’ve taken to using a broken dip-pen nib which makes it all the more satisfying completing a finished picture. I don’t think anyone other than me will notice any difference, but it just stops everything looking that little bit too slick. It forces mistakes and that makes it interesting! (masochist…)
So this is a bit of a departure from what I’ve been doing recently and a bit of a new direction – if you can call rocking it old school a new direction. I’ve been itching to have a crack at dip pen and ink work for a while now so I decided to fire up the old lightbox and ink a couple of pics from my sketchbooks. Then I decided to test whether its still fun to ink the same drawing over and over again, just like in traditional 2D animation clean up. So I did. And it is. It was also nice opportunity to watch a lot of episodes of ‘bottom’ while I was at it. The outcome is a couple of nice wedding present prints and a limited edition of 10 original inkings of a splendid ‘Curious Head Worm’. Here’s pics – looky:
The next big thing on my mind is to go big! I want to get hold of the most massive canvasses I can get and basically do the same as the inkings but on a titanic scale. Big ass Cropley head worms and freaky life models 10 ft high! …but we’ll see how that goes.
Managed to crank out 8 prints in tonights 3 hr print sesh which is pretty good going. Starting to get my head round things much more – even started only using the good (read: expensive) paper. Still very much learning though, learnt tonight that if you press hard when intially inking up the plates you scratch the surface as aluminium is so soft – so I’ve basically damaged some of my most successful plates… but thats learning. Just 2 photos from the prints I collected from tonight – the first one is on cheaper paper and as this plate was one of my initial sketchbook replication tests the line is very light and weak:
The 2nd one is on the good quality paper (Somerset Satin) and as well as that I quickly re-worked the line, tracing over it again with an engineers scribe to dig a fresh new line in the plate:
You can see that the line is a lot stronger and more defined. Still trying to work out how many prints I’ll get in an edition, I reckon only about 8 – but if I re-work the line, I’m not sure… and even less sure if this is the right thing to do. Looking forward to collecting the prints next week as that will mean I’ve got artists proofs of all the plates that I’ve produced to date, so I can begin to build editions from my favourite ones. Exciting :D
Finally started at Spike Print this evening so I thought I’d take a few shots while I was working away. Its a slow process at the moment while I’m finding my feet, but its kinda fun. Only managed to produce two prints in as many hours which are drying as I type…
(If you look closely you can see one of my plates on the press to the left…)
So, here’s a few photos of the process, from an inky plate to nice clean print…
A few more tests for the dry point etching process…
Tried this one using a pre-prepared 1:1 ratio grid/image:
This was a bit frustrating because I didn’t have the detail available in the original source image because it was that bit smaller, so even though I thought it should make it easier – it didn’t. I thought I’d give it a shot overlaying the 2 images to see how close I got to the original by trying to do this 1:1 technique by eye:
Quite difficult to see, but looking at the 1st image the waist doesn’t quite work, makes the new image a bit shapeless… hmmm.
So the last test was a mix of everything I’ve been trying. I used a 1:1 image as well as an original A4 sized image with grid using that for the detail and the 1:1 sized one for size reference:
This gives the most pleasing result, getting quite close to what I want to achieve. It looks quite natural and close to the original, so lets see what it looks like overlayed:
Definitely closer than the previous test, especially on the back, but still quite a ways off in other areas.
I think I’ve taken testing as far as I can here. The next step is to get myself on a refresher course and in a print studio. There I can look at techniques like printing the image reference onto shiny paper and ironing that directly onto a copper plate and scratching through the heat-laid ink using that as a guide – very similar to proper animation clean up from blue pencil drawings to solid lines for scanning and digital painting. Not sure if that will work or whether it will kill the energy of the drawings as I’d just be replicating the image exactly and not adding that extra spark and energy that free-hand drawing from reference gives. There’ll be a happy medium somewhere, and I’ll find it!