Friday, April 30, 2010

Air Kraken Colophon

Paper size: chuban
Image size: 8”x6”
Block: shina
Ink(s): Daniel Smith water soluable
Paper: Rives BFK
Edition Size: 40

This is my second reduction block and I found it both exhilerating and frightening. I’m not used to doing a total edition at one time. There is always the danger of damaging the block and thus the whole run at any stage.

Overall I’m pleased with the result. I would have gone back and changed a couple things, but of course there is no going back with a reduction block.

There are two basic color effects, stemming from experiments with the lightest color. I like them both. It changes the mood of the print slightly.

I learned a lot with this project, chiefly that I am not afraid to realign the block to print multiple colors on one print. I’m ready to tackle a multiple block print now.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Printing Last Color

Finished printing color three.  All 52 (I thought there were 50, but I guess I can't count).  ;-j  At least 40 good ones.  No registration problems, surprisingly, but a few incidental marks on the paper.  I may be able to eliminate some of them with a cuttle fish.

A bit more of the process:
inking the block and brushing on the talc

running the block thru the press

pulling the block off the print

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Test Print -- Color Three

Carving for color three:

Scary, but that's why they call it a suicide block!  ;- j

And here's the test print:

Ta-daa!  What a relief!

The unfortunate thing about a reduction print is that you can't go back and tweak anything, and I'm used to doing that.  But I think it works.

I may go back in and carve a bit more to lightened the plank between the side color and the bottom color.  I could widen the lines a bit.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Carving Color Three

I started carving for the third and last color.  I didn't get very far as I've got a cold and my brain is muzzy.  I didn't trust my attention.  It isn't called a suicide block for nothing.

So I switched gears and worked on a weaving project.  That took a lot less brain.  ;- j  At least it's more forgiving.  Check out if you're curious.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Finishing Up Color Two

Finished up color two today.  Here I am applying talc to the cloud area of the block before printing.  Thanx to Patti Phare-Camp, it really went faster and was easier to control than blotting it on with a paper dauber.

It's always exciting when I lift the block and see what I've got.  ;-]

Here they are all on the rack.  I love my rack.  8-] 

Color two (burnt sienna) doesn't vary as much as color one (a yellowy-orange meant to be yellow ochre), but they all work.  So far (knock on wood!) I've only messed up a couple of prints.  Both happened when the block slipped as I was peeling it off the print.  I'll try a cuttle bone on the spots when they dry.

Next step:  carve for color three.  There won't be much of the block left.  I'll have to switch to a smaller brayer to spot ink or I'll be talcing 'til the cows come home.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Rainy Day Printing ll

A very productive day of printing.  The ink was very cooperative.  I got a little over half my second-color prints done.

I'll upload a pic as soon as I can stand up straight.  I forget to sit or even drink water when I'm in the zone and I'm feeling wiped.

the block inked up and dusted with talc

The cloud area is too large to avoid ink, even with my new larger brayer, so I fell back on a trick from printlab of dusting talc on the block where I don't want it to print.  Works perfectly, tho it's a bit tedious.  Worth it tho for a clean print.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Test Print -- Color Two

I see where I have to carve away some incidental lines that shouldn't be printing, like on the cloud.  But otherwise I think it's pretty good.  So far so good.  ;- j

I'm actually amazed it's working more or less how I planned it.  ;->  We'll see when I get to color three.


I scanned in another test print once it dried.  It's a dynamic system, but I miss the opportunity to tweak a print -- dab in color here and there.  I have a hard time not messing.  ;- ]  It's my nature.  This exercise is good for me.

Now to scrape away those irritating extra marks in the cloud.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Carving Away

Carving away everything that's supposed to be the first color.  Almost done but my shoulders are complaining.  I'd better take a break before I lose my concentration.


I think it's about ready to test print for the second color.  This is really my favorite part, when all the texture and detail begins to emerge.  Printing is almost an afterthought.  ;- j

Monday, April 12, 2010

Done with Color One

For better or worse, I'm done with the first color pass.  It's been a little uneven, but I've made a number of extras so there should be enough for the exchange.  I made 50 in all.  Hopefully I won't lose too many in the next two passes.

It rained last night and has been spitting occasionally today, but I didn't notice any improvement in the ink coverage.  It wasn't as fussy as the previous printings, but it sure wasn't any sweet spot.  Must be the printermaker.  ;- j

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Rainy Day Printing

In answer to my plaintive pleas, it's going to rain later today/tonight.  So I'll be able to print in the sweet spot.  (I really should move to the Pacific Northwest.)  ;->

I'll mix up some more "yellow ochre" ink in a bit.  I'll leave out the white this time and see how it prints.  I miss the woodgrain effect that goes away with opaque ink.  At least that's the plan for the day.

Interestingly, the cartoon is still vaguely visible on the block after some 15 prints.  I may not have to reapply it.

Cold and overcast, but no rain yet.  Printing went a little better.  I cleaned the block every 2-3 prints.  Tomorrow may be better. 

Color's a little better.  The print in the lower left was an attempt to reprint over a poor print from yesterday.  I was done and just wanted to get some ink off the block after printing.  I'm gratified to see I can match the blocks up.  Color is still a little uneven, but another pass may improve it even more.

I've never tried to reprint a block, fearing  misalignment, but since the reduction block requires it, I felt empowered to try it.  ;- j

Friday, April 09, 2010


I am not an organized person.  So naturally when I went to print today I discovered I'm not going to have enough yellow ochre for the whole project.  Also being an impatient person I didn't want to wait to order any from Daniel Smith.  So I fell back on my printmaking class training and mixed some up.  (Thanx Jim Lorigan.)

The one on the left is yellow ochre, the one on the right is my yellow/red/blue/white mix.  Not perfect, but I think I like the mix better.

Apropos the above admissions, of course I didn't make any notes while I was mixing.  I just kept adding a dollop of this and a smear of that.  So it'll be interesting to see how the color is going to vary as I go along.  Hopefully still in the same family.  ;- j


Curiouser and curiouser.  Almost immediately the ink printed darker on the paper.  I think it's the lack of humidity that makes the ink get clumpy.  L.A. is seldom humid, and certainly not at the moment.  But still not a problem.  I got 12 prints done with the ink I'd made up.  I kept having to add water to it to keep it from drying out.

Here are some prints on the rack.

It's really weird how it got darker, when my sample sheets were lighter than the ochre.


Hmm, less success this afternoon.  Added some ink retarder, but it didn't do anything good.  Done for the day.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Carving At Last!

Getting started.  Carving the cloud for the most part.

Taking a break.  Those little suckers are monotonous.  Also need to stretch.

I'm wondering what will happen to the cartoon when I ink up the block.  Will I have to reapply it after I've printed the first color?  Guess I'll find out.


I think I'm finished carving for the first pass.

Here's a scan of the block so far.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Transfering Cartoon

I got some transfer paper with my blocks.  It's waxy on both sides and is reusable.  It runs thru the printer and then you rub it onto the block.  Smudges easily, as I discovered, but it really worked very well.  Much easier than my usual chalking-the-back and tracing system.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Airship and Kraken: Down to Business

Ok.  Time to get down to business.  Can't wait any longer for the new blocks to show up, so I'm going to recycle an older one.  I stained the back of one of my thicker blocks.  It's a little stained with ink from printing, but that won't hurt anything.  It's 8"x6", the size I was looking for.  I'll transfer the cartoon as soon as the wood stain dries.

BTW it's sitting on one of my handwoven mini-mats.


Ha, ha!  No sooner had I  posted the above than the UPS truck delivered my new blocks from McClains.  ;- j  A superfluidy of woodblocks.

Ok, here's the new block stained and ready to go.  I decided to go with a new one rather than the reverse of an old one.  Easier to store away when they're not "Ace Doubles."  ;->  Giving my age away with that comment.  ;- j