Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I finished up the last of the color blocks last night: transfer the image, carve out the colors, and print. One final run with the key block, and viola! The final product:

"The Duck Hole" 14" X 8 1/2" Akuacolor inks on Yasutomo Sketch paper

I like it, for the most part. As with most pieces, I made a few mistakes, but learned a little bit more (in this case, I learned A LOT more...)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

One step forward, two steps back...

An inadvertent scratch and a badly aligned block, block progress on the latest multi block print.

First, as I went to open one of the flat-file drawers to get a sheet of paper, the drawer seemed to hesitate at the half way point. Instead of trying to find out what was in the way, I forced it all the way open. Not until I closed it again did I see that one of the prepared blocks was sitting next to it. The edge of the drawer caught the wood and put a deep scratch right across the penciled in image:

I had no choice but to start he block over - the scratch was too deep to "buff" out with steel wool. Fortunately, I was able to switch ends of the block, and re-do the image on the other end (instead of preparing a whole new block...)

Then, as I went to print the 3rd color block, I noticed right away that I had botched the registration on the lower half of the block:

I decided to take out the lower half of the green block. I really did look bad, and I didn't like the color being the same as the background, anyway.

So, with those two mistakes taken care of, I was ready to continue on. First, I carved out the evergreen bows:

I decided to add the fisherman's red jacket to this block, as the two colors would be far enough away not to interfere with each other, As I printed the AP's, I experimented with inking the jacket to give it some dimension:

The colors are starting to layer up nicely; the print is coming together:

Two or three more blocks to go (depending if I can double up some colors...) and I'll be able to finish with the APs and print some test prints.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Second Color Block

Using the same process steps as before, the first color block is transferred and carved. Here it is, inked up and ready to print:

I want the river to have a gradation from light to dark, so once the block is inked up, I use a rag to wipe the gradation where I want it.

The print is lined up in the kentos carefully let down onto the inked and wiped plate. A sheet of waxed paper is added between the paper and barren to help the barren slide easier, and to act as a small "cushion."

So far, so good. The kentos seem to be lining up, and with enough APs, I'll work the bugs (and blobs) out of the inking/printing process (!)

Key Block Finished; 1st APs Run

The last bit of carving on the Keyblock involves cutting the all-important registration marks, called "Kentos." Carved into the lower corner and along the side, these marks serve as channels that the paper will slip into. They will be identical on each block, so that the paper lines up exactly in the same place on each color block.

The finished keyblock, ready to be inked for the first run of Artists Proofs, or "APs". These proofs will be used to cut the color blocks from, and will be used to test and adjust each color block before it is used to print a "real" print run from. I personally like to use Japanese Gampi paper for my AP's. It's thin, but very strong.

A boar hair/deer hair traditional brush, hand-made from a split piece of bamboo, is used to ink the keyblock up with black ink for the first run of proofs. The ink is applied directly to the plate, and is brushed around the block.

The keyblock, all inked up, ready for the first piece of paper. Oh! The excitement!

The first run of Artists Proofs: