Thursday, April 30, 2009

landscape - demonstration print for teaching relief block

Lake Superior shoreline study
five colour working proof print
speedball w/s ink on subi block paper
printed using hand burnishing

I am starting a classroom based printmaking project next week in a elementary school about an hour east of Thunder Bay. The students will learn to create several multiple colour relief block studies based on landscapes of the region.
The print pictured above is a piece that was created specially for this project. It is a study of rocky shore along Lake Superior. Will be using it as an example to show how to print a landscape using a combination of different types of relief surfaces (softoleum and scratchfoam in this case). It also illustrates how one can layer colours from different relief block surfaces to build an image.

Fig. 1 shows the initial pencil sketch which was scaled down to fit the softoleum block which became my master or "key" block.
fig. 1

fig. 2
Figure 2 shows the colour layout that I did in marker. This will serve as my guide for mixing my ink colours when the blocks are carved and ready for printing.
In figure 3 I have cut away the surface of a piece of softoleum with linocut knives. First I coated the surface using black permanent marker and then using my sketch as a reference I redrew the image on the black surface using a silver gel pen. The light silver colour lines and shaded areas were cut away to leave the surface areas that would determine the relief when it is printed using black ink. This material cuts very easily so I had to just lightly dig in with the tool tips to remove it. I wanted to create a bit of depth from the lower section so I went over that later with a larger U gouge blade to remove more of the rubber like material.

fig. 3

Fig. 4 is an example of a simple registration system for printing. One important observation I made is for exact registration the block height and horizontal level that the paper rests on the block should be about the same distance. Any variance in height can cause a slight misregistration when printing. To allow my paper to lay horizontally level on the 3/8 inch thick softoleum keyblock I found that a strip of 1/4 inch foamboard with a strip of matboard on top of this created a header bar to which I could pin my paper at the top of the registration board. What I did was tape this header bar to the top edge of a baseboard (cardboard). I also cut the baseboard to be the same size as that of the paper which is 23 x 30.5 cm (9 x 12 inches.) The paper was secured by applying four evenly spaced thumb tacks pushed through the paper into the foam strip underneath.

fig. 4

The blocks were secured in place for printing on the registration board by first centering the key block then taping strips of matboard around the sides and along the bottom edge. The additional blocks which were the same size as the key block fit into this U shaped brace. The paper was placed over top of the inked block, hand burnished and then carefully folded back and held down wiith one hand while I removed the block. Then you can remove the tacks and hang the print to dry until ready to print the next colour in which you match up the pin holes in the paper with the foam strip (the thumb tacks will fall into place easily when you find them.
A tip is to make a black dot by using a marker point around the pin hole on the foam strip. These dots can usually be seen through the paper. This helps to relocate the depressions in the foam where the tack points will depress when reattaching the paper to the board.

Fig. 5 illustrates several colours on the paper printed from the styrofoam (scratchfoam) sheets.
Sheets of scratchfoam were glued onto both sides of a piece of foamboard. First of all it made the block the same height as the softoleum block. The second benefit is that it also allows both sides of the block to be used.

fig. 5

1 comment:

  1. That is really interesting to look at. I have read about that method, but it was great to see such a simple and practical demonstration. You make registration look easy! Thanks