Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Making Mini Prints 1

I had this image that I drew with making a print in my mind, for ages and I thought I would have a go at realizing it.  The fact that I still liked it, also made me think that it was worth pursuing.  I wasn’t too sure whether I would use collagraph in combination with inkjet or drypoint  …just thought I would actually get on with the doing of it as opposed to the thinking about it –

It’s made using pencil and cheap gouache paint and was done in a sketchbook.  I don’t often use those nowadays.  It’s about 20 by 20 cm square. I love how I made the two areas of turquoise colour and left a white area, horizontally across the middle. I was thinking in terms of printmaking when I originally made it.  Actually I am now thinking I could even try it out as a larger monoprint tomorrow but that’s another adventure.

I thought I would print out this background and then make the graphic marks with drypoint on polypropylene.  Having said that I am not too sure that it does throw up a burr but I like using the material and its transparent which I like because you can see really well where you have and haven’t inked/wiped etc.

Of course when I tried to remove the black drawn marks from the image digitally – it just wouldn’t work as can be seen  and I DIDN’T like the effect I was coming up with,  despite trying various things in Photoshop.

So I removed the black elements and thought I would transfer those onto a polypropylene plate.  I was making this print or attempting to with the `littlest print exchange in mind.  I also had the green door print exchange in mind.  One of them required a 9 x 9 cm print the other a 10 x 10 cm print,

I then removed the tonal aspects of the image.

Given what I said as to the possibility of including collagraph/ carborundum in the print I was thinking about making the animal vaguely bear like creature into a silhouette shape.

But then I thought that it's weight,  tonally stood out too much visually and that it didn’t work.  So I thought maybe having it appear lighter weight in tonal terms would work better.

I used a “scribing tool” that my friend Tatiana, had very kindly made for me. Having said that acquiring the components WAS a collaborative effort.  She got hold of these “handles”, which normally have small thin, metal tools for repairing tiny computer parts.   Instead we put a cut off injection needle which I think she may have sharpened.  I’d had a visit scheduled at the vets to get my cats annual flu jab so I asked the vet if she would let me have some needles that she used for horses and large patients as I explained, what it was for.  I had to assure her that I wasn’t going to be using these for any inappropriate means which I said I surely wouldn’t.  In my mind I made a mental note that I was going to send this generous woman a hand printed greetings card, this Christmas.

So after “umming” and “ahing” I decided to scribe into the plate and I seem to remember that by then I had this idea that I would make the bear shape as a cut out mask which would be in the print as a feint shape created by the wiping process (i.e., it would be the clean area and the remaining picture space would have tone.

Blast it, I thought,  the line is too crude.  Because of the limitations of the material I couldn’t get the gestures of the facial marks precise and it really matters to me,  so that was that.

As I had already printed out these backgrounds for another print I thought I would print this “drypoint” onto it to see what it would look like and it still didn’t look promising.  So I put it aside for the meantime and went on to try out some other ideas.

I did lots of little trials like this with the "Littlest Print Exchange" in mind as well as the Green Door International Print exchange, which I will discuss in  more detail later.
I was not too sure if I would be able to meed the first of these as 50 prints were required and as I knew I would be recovering from the surgery on my spine  well I just felt it best to withdraw my commitment.

I decided to keep with the green Door exchange as that required only 10 prints and one had a further one centimeter to play around with !!


  1. Thanks for sharing your process. Most people have no idea how much goes into making these "little" prints!

  2. These mini prints are amazing, i love the bears and the colours, fantastic.

    Only just found your 'new' blog again, glad I did.


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