Thursday, February 2, 2017

Re-purpose household waste to make prints

Red fox study
drypoint engraving from plastic plate
edition of 11

I have been active once again in the studio producing some small and limited edition new work. Only in  this case I am using everyday common materials as surfaces from which the prints originate.
In fact, two materials specifically are being used where drypoint is the printmaking technique being employed.

Method #1 - paper card drypoint

The first material is the thin dense paper card used for the packaging of products such as cereal, pasta, crackers, teas, etc...
I have found that coating this with either several thin layers of shellac or acrylic varnish allows a fairly decent surface that can be scratched (or scribed) into with a sharp pointed tool. It is important that both sides of the plate be coated.

plate cut from cereal box board

reverse non-printed side is used for scribing image into.
Shellac is applied using a soft bristle brush over the surface 
and several layers are applied.

I have several tools available for using to work an image into the plate surface.

tools include traditional drypoint needle (metal tool 2nd from the right), diamond tip scriber (reddish wood handle tool), mechanical pencil holder with compass point inserted (far right)           and a home made needle with a steel darning needle inserted into a light wood dowel (between the diamond tip and metal etching needle).

An image can be drawn directly onto the surface using a dark graphite pencil or fine tip permanent marker or you can trace it on using carbon or graphite or saral transfer paper.

sketch of winter woods

sketch on tracing paper (right) with graphite paper over plate and image traced again over top (left)

Darken the graphite line transfer using a fine tip black permanent marker then scratch into these visible lines

The plate is inked either using Akua Intaglio ink (I modify it with a bit of magnesium carbonate powder to add a bit more stiffness) or Caligo Safewash etching ink (I add just a small amount of easy wipe compound to reduce the stiffness of this ink).

first proof print (right) and the plate positioned on the registration paper

Method #2 - plastic plate drypoint

I up-cycled a clear plastic lid from a seasonal greeting card box cover. I cut it into a couple of rectangular plates using a utility knife and a cork back metal ruler.
First draw the outline on your sketching paper and within the same size rectangle draw in your image. The plate can be placed over top. Draw in your sketch and then using tape secure the plate to the sketch. You will be able to view the sketch through the thin clear plate. Using a drypoint tool you can trace the image into the plate surface.

trace outline of your plate on the sketch paper. This will give you the dimensions of your sketch that will also fit within the plastic plate size.
Much like drawing you can add textural variations using cross-hatch, stipple. scribble. You can also use things like sandpaper or emery board to add rough texture to the plastic surface. The more worked a surface the darker the tone it will produce. 

scribed image in the plastic surface with thinner and denser line

and the resulting print from the plate on paper. The ink was a mix of Akua intaglio carbon black and pthalo blue.

The Hug

thin ink was wiped into the plate surface to reveal the image during the scribing process
plate inked and ready for printing

on the press bed awaiting dampened rag paper to be put over top

detail of print on paper

small edition of 11 drying