June 07, 2009

Good tools always help

Over that last couple of weeks I've carved and added the next two layers of my latest: Sunset. Not that there's much carving involved really (neither of these last two colours play a very large part) so maybe it's premature to say that I'm really liking working with the MDF. But, I am really liking working with the MDF. Aside from the dunes of wood dust everywhere when I first carved out the image area, carving the actual image is going very well. It may be too early in the game to make wild claims but so far, I'm thinking I may just do all my prints in MDF for the next while. It's certainly way more readily available than either lino or Shina.

Anyway, I let the first colour dry on the block after I printed it and it created a nice additional barrier. This is good both for the carbon sketch underneath the ink (it doesn't wipe away now) and for adding a seal to the block itself. Plus, I'm not sure if I'm imagining it, the ink barrier seems to have firmed up the surface of the block so that as I carve, the edges seem crisper.

This is second colour printed, but it's hard to see the lighter colour below it. It shows much better in person.

Today I printed the third colour. Again, my apologies, the screen distorts the actual image:

I'm really liking the 8" brayer I got from Daniel Smith. And I was actually disappointed the first time I used it because it seemed too big for the glass I roll my ink out on, because it took the ink differently than the Speedball brayers I got used to, because it felt heavier in the hand...

All things that combined to frustrate me and make me wonder why I spent the money on what, after the first try, I figured might just be all marketing hype. I'm not sure where the transition point was, somewhere in the middle printing the Cohen block probably, but I suddenly realized I made it over the learning curve and got used to the brayer. Now I'm very glad I didn't give up on it. I guess it only goes to show that it's not good to be too rash in judging things.


Amie Roman said...

Nope, you're not imagining it. A lot of printmakers actually seal their MDF block, often just with a coat of gesso, to firm up the carvability and make the printing that much easier with the first layer of ink. I don't bother, but I know others who do. Glad you're enjoying the MDF!

Annie B said...

Do you use wood carving tools or lino tools on MDF? I'm guessing wood, but I've never used MDF.