I went to school for art, and ended up specializing in printmaking. Of all the styles and techniques I learned, I fell the hardest in love with block printing. It can be so graphic and bold which I find compelling. So over the years, since I graduated, I have dabbled with making prints out of my own home. I prefer to work with speedball brand speedy cut which is the pink stuff you've probably seen in the stores from time to time. Personally I think it is the best block type that is super easy to carve but won't crumble on you (there are other varieties of speedball lino blocks that will - beware!).
Anyway, onto the prints! I just finished a brand new one that I was planning on posting here, and then realized I never made a proper post for any of my earlier prints so here we go!
This first one is base of a photo of a cat that I found on the internet somewhere. I'm really happy with the texture I was able to achieve on the fur - texture is always an interesting challenge. Printing is rather simple as it is designed to only be printed in one color.
This next one was a bit of a challenge as I was trying to fit a lot of scene on a little card. It came out a little on the messy side, but I still like it.
Now this one, I decided to use a larger area to print, giving myself more room for detail. I am in love with this print, if I do say so myself. It is probably one of the few things I've made for myself that I have hung up. Who doesn't love an aquatic siren with a fish hat? This one was also a challenge I set for myself, as it was a three layer reductive print, meaning that I carved out the second layer (aqua - technically the white of the page acts as the first layer), printed, and then carved out the second layer (black) for the final detailed print. So now I still have the carved block, but I will never again be able to exactly recreate this print because I carved the aqua layer away.
And now I have finally finished the most recent goal I set for myself...a four layer print! The design I created ended up not being feasible for the reductive method because the colors I planned on using would mix up and get muddied if I layered them on top of each other. Because of this, I had to do....well crap I forget the term for it, but basically each layer of color had to be carved on completely separate blocks from each other. This can be very tricky for registration (good thing I don't mind offset registration too much) so you have to set up a system to make sure each block layers exactly in the same place as the others so the colors line up where they should.
Here's a picture showing my system. I made a simple printing "board" made from a cereal box. I cut two layers of a corner so I have the bottom layer to line up the blocks, and the upper layer to line up my paper so that each time I print, block and paper should be printing in the same spot. Easier said than done, but it helps a lot.
*Oh I must include a caveat - I didn't have enough of the pink speedycut on hand to do this block print with it - I had some leftover blue lino material I had from back in the days when I was in school. It's a bit more of a challenge to carve, and more so a challenge to print with because it can be rather plasticy and not want to flex and print fully onto the paper at times....but I will say, for being kind of a pain in the butt, I'm glad that it printed out fairly well with a little extra attention to applying pressure when printing, and the fact that I used most of that stuff up instead of letting it go to waste.
So with all that said and done, it still wasn't perfect. But hey, if it looked too perfect you'd know I didn't do it
And now I'm proud to present my Christmas cards for this year! (I am also proud of the fact that I actually got around to making them - usually I give up due to lack of inspiration, motivation, and/or time - go me!).
And of course progress pictures.
Layer 2 (layer 1 being the white of the card of course):
And layer 4:
Not perfect by any stretch, but it screams handmade, and is unique and I love it.