A daily drawing doesn’t have to be in a sketchbook. This is a lino block, laid out for a print of the Bessie Ellen West Country ketch setting sail.
It will be carved away in several stages to create the final printed image. I have an idea in my mind of how it will look, but it is very unlikely to end up that way. The cut away areas here will remain white throughout.
These are the first two printed layers, establishing just the basic cloud tones. Impossible to judge how good the finished print might be at this stage.
I’ve made several sketchbooks now, and I wanted to cut some sort of maker’s plate into them. As I’ve been very busy printing, cutting a lino block seemed the best idea. As I often do I liked back over years of life drawings to find inspiration and found this one, which is an old favourite.
Then I cut a block, which I think works quite well.
Printing straight into the book is a bit but and miss, but that rather adds to it.
These birds are ubiquitous out on the water in Poole Harbour and they are beautiful. I produced this reduction print a couple of weeks ago and I am very pleased with it. The reduction process uses just one linoleum block. You print the largest areas of the lightest colour first, then cut away the areas you want to remain that colour and print the next colour, and so on. If you print 10 copies of the first colour, then that is the maximum number of prints. You can’t go back and print an earlier colour, because the block had been cut down. With mistakes, I ended up with an edition of eight, and that is it.
The first layer, with just the white areas cut away, looks like nothing at all, and I wasn’t sure how it would end up.
The second layer, a light grey, suddenly brought the birds to life.
The third layer, a dark grey, nearly completed the image, but I wanted a red wall at the bottom. No cutting needed, I masked off the area above the wall with a temporary strip of masking tape and just inked the wall.
The final layer of black barely shows on these photos, but defines the black heads of the birds and sharpens the drawing. Just my seal needing adding to complete the work. All was printed on my home made press, which works remarkably well.
I’ve made myself a printing press, using some kitchen worktop, an old bed frame and a hydraulic jack, as you do. It works remarkably well.
The last image shows a woodcut I have been working on at GPC. Interesting to do, but at the moment I still prefer linocut. The colour in the image is from a mini block.
And to carry on with my sketchbook making, I have lagged together a little bookbinding press, using some more of the bed frame which went into the printing press.
Haven’t used it in earnest yet. I need to get some decent paper first.
Today was all about preparation. I bought 10 sheets of Zyrkal printing paper and cut them in half. Then cut five more MDF backing boards with a router, nearly messing up all of them in the process (always check TWICE… ). Stuck lino to each. I’m ready for at least three more designs, if not six. Stuck registration tabs on each sheet, using the new Ternes Burton registration pins I got from Handprinted in Bognor Regis, who delivered in under 24 hours. I’ve never used them before, but they look like they should work. Keeping everything registered is crucial. Now just need to get drawing.
One more colour layer to go, which will be a darker blue. Possibly shadows afters that, but dependent on how the blue works out. I’m not completely convinced by this brown layer. Some of the foreground/background contrast is lost. No way of going back to change anything