Episode III: Adding Color to the Print

Let’s do a brief recap of what’s been going on with my linoleum print.  For those of you interested, the supplies I’m using have come from Dick Blick Art Supplies.  These supplies include the block print paper, linoleum cutter, brayer (roller that applies the ink), and barren (used to press the paper onto the block).

1) A concept was developed

2) The concept was drawn on piece of linoleum in pencil, then retraced with Sharpee

3) Using a linoleum cutter, the areas that were to remain white were cut away

L-R: plexiglass plate for ink, brayer, yellow ink, lino block, baren

Now I’m adding color, which isn’t really difficult (once you practice), but just takes time.  Keep in mind you need a glass or plexiglass plate to mix the ink on and spread with the brayer.  You will know that the ink is just right when it makes a tacky sound when the brayer is rolled over it.  Ink can be applied, and I suggest it is applied, in multiple directions.  This allows for even application.

Because I’m doing a reduction print, after each color is added, the matrix is reduced.  In other words, I cut away from the linoleum every section that I want to stay a certain color.  As I did with the initial cutting, I really try to cut in the direction that I want the viewer’s eye to move should some “noise” appear on the print.  When all the colors are added, I will have the outline of the shapes available and will be able to make prints, but the color will have to be added by hand.

Color has to be added from lightest color to darkest color – which really makes sense, because a lighter color won’t cover a darker color.  It’s similar to painting in a lot of ways.

Registration becomes an issue now as well.  When I talk about registration, I just mean lining up the print with the block so the colors aren’t off.  The registration being off slightly doesn’t really bother me too much, but you don’t want the lines to be so off from one another that its hard to look at the image.

Some tips to keep in mind while printing:  you want to apply the ink as EVENLY as possible.  If there is too much ink on the block, it’ll soak through the paper.  Not enough ink, the under color will show though.  You also want to watch for pieces that get on the brayer or the lino block.  Those little pieces will cause spots to show up on the paper.

Not enough ink

Be careful with your alignment for the registration.  I like to mark on the board where the paper and board are placed.  This helps me keep everything in line.

I have added yellow and pink (or lightish red), and plan on adding two more colors (blue and green) before the black outline.  I’m hoping this will provide contrast within the piece.

Now, I’m just waiting for the block to dry so I can cut away the other firework and add the next color.  Hopefully I’ll be finished by the end of Tuesday.  I’m really excited to get my characters finished and on their first work.

With Red added

Yellow color first

Plate after color

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