January 07, 2010

Printmaking for The Year of the Tiger

I did it, I did it! Two days ago, I sent off prints for my first, ever, print exhibition/exchange for: The Year of Tiger.

 Passage: Linocut - 8" x 8"
You may remember I began working on this print back at the end of summer already when I first started pulling together some research and doing sketches. Since then, while I’ve been focusing mostly on other prints, I’ve been tweaking this one around too. I had the main idea, to incorporate the Chinese characters into the tiger’s face, early on. 


The rest of the image, though, went through several phases. The main obstacle to my design was the size the finished print had to conform to. I originally wanted the girl running and chasing the ox, not riding on his back, but no matter how I placed them within the frame of the drawing, it didn’t look right. I wanted some distance between them and, to get it, I would have needed to make them much smaller. That would have then made them harder to carve (specially the girl) without having my lines break away.
It wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that the option of making the girl the rider occurred to me. It perhaps doesn’t have the same impact as if the ox were actually running from her and the balloon but, so be it. I’m hoping the concept of “out with the old and in with the new” will still translate.
I printed the image from multiple impressions and used a bit of trickery with Scratchfoam. I’ve come to rely on the stuff for just times like this and will for ever be grateful to Brian Holden who first introduced it on Wetcanvas.
Anyway, I was only doing a very small edition of five prints and I really didn’t want to spend time carving away EVERYTHING except the red for the symbol on a separate block. The same goes for the yellow background. So I traced the symbol onto a sheet of Sratchfoam, cut it out with an X-acto knife, and pasted it to the block with double-sided tape. I also cut out the shape for the background and pasted that to my block.

I used an embossing stylus, leftover from my card-making days, to impress lines into the foam. Yes, I used a ruler. The foam created a raised surface for printing and it printed beautifully. 

In the end, I misregistered one print and ended up with an edition of 3 plus my AP.  I sent all three away so now the only angst is, will they get there on time.

1 comment:

Jen said...

GORGEOUS print- love the way you incorporated the symbol into the tiger face!

And the scratchfoam idea... simply BRILLIANT! I will have to keep that in my pocket...