What is printmaking? The Museum of Modern Art say that" a print is a work of art made up of ink on paper and existing in multiple examples. It is created not by drawing directly on paper, but through an indirect transfer process. The artist begins by creating a composition on another surface and the transfer occurs when a sheet of paper, placed in contact with this surface, is run through a printing press." www.moma.org/interactives/projects/2001/whatisaprint/flash.html
History of Printmaking Printmaking in its rudimentary form was done at the beginning of civilization with etching in cave paintings and by Sumerians on clay tablets. It advanced in China in 2 B.C when woodblocks were carved and printed on silk then eventually on paper. The Japanese were creating prints in the form we recognize today in the mid 700s, and at some point it spread to Europe. During the Renaissance, many artists used printmaking techniques. The invention of the Gutenberg Press in 1454 advanced printing even more because it mechanized the printing of text allowing for thousands of pages to be printed in a single day. From that point on, printmaking became a popular way of creating art in a variety of ways.
INTRODUCTION TO PRINTMAKING
Printmaking Types Relief Prints - Material is carved away from a base material or matrix. Then ink is rolled onto the carved surface resting on the raised area. Finally the matrix is placed on a material, like paper, and pressure is applied to transfer the ink.
Intaglio - Lines are etched into a matrix. Ink is applied to the surface and wiped off leaing ink in the etched lines. Dampened paper is placed on top of the matrix and rolled through a press transfering the inked lines on to the paper.
Stencil Prints - An image is cut out of a material, like paper, and ink is rubbed, sprayed, or painted over the cut out openings.
Planographic Prints - Artwork is drawn on a stone or metal plate using an oil based crayon or ink. The areas not marked are treated with a chemical making the receptive to water. Once those areas are wet, an oily ink is rolled onto the plate sticking only to the oil based drawing. The plate is then run through a printing press to transfer the ink to the paper.
Digital Printing - Using a computer to transfer the image electronically. Ink Jet Xerography Dye Sublimation Electrostatic Thermal Wax Laser Film
Printmaking Terms Please write the terms and definitions below in your sketchbook. Block: A woodblock is a piece of wood used as a relief matrix for a print. Wood blocks are carved with knives or chisels before being inked and printed. Brayer: A small, hand-held rubber roller used to spread printing ink evenly on a surface before printing EDITION A set of identical prints, that are numbered and signed. IMPRESSION NUMBER The number of a print in an edition. The first three prints in an edition 10 wouldbe1/10,2/10,3/10etc. INK Coloring material composed of pigment (color) , a binder, and a vehicle. Ink is usually thicker than most paints, and has a slower drying rate. PRINT The actual picture the artist makes from a printmaking process. PRINTING PRESS A device used by a fine art printmaker to produce prints one copy at a time. RELIEF PRINT A means of making prints by creating a raised design on a flat surface. REGISTRATION Adjustment of separate plates, blocks, screens or paper in color printing to ensure correct alignment of the colors. https://oaklandfada.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/printmaking-terms.pdf
Foam Printmaking - Project 1
For this project you will create a design that incorporates an insect. The insect can be the focus of your design, part of the overall design, or hidden in the design waiting to be discovered. Be sure and choose an insect with an interesting shape and pattern. The color of the insect will not be important since you will print it in black on a colorful background.
This design should also include a lot of designs, patterns, or texture. By the time it is ready to print, most of the foam will be covered in some time of line work. Do not worry about trying to be realistic. This is a design and not intended to capture a realistic image.
Clean Up The ink will clean up with soap and water. Each time you use a brayer, trey and foam plate, they will need to be thoroughly washed with soap and water. If they are not cleaned properly, the next print will have major issues with dried ink transfer and blotchy printing. The ink will fill the indention you have created in the foam causes your lines to be lost.
Important Tip When you print, your image will be backward from the original design. Keep this in mind as you plan your composition. We will not use any words for these projects. For future use, words would need to be backward when impressing your matrix so that they can be read when printed.
Brainstorm and Research Begin by creating a list of possible bug choices. Remember you are looking for interesting shapes and patterns. You may also want to think about the setting for your insect. Is it in a tree, leaves, flying, etc. Also include patterns and designs in your search. Look for line art and design. This project will not have any shading. Everything will be created with line and solid shapes.
Visual Development Now that you have completed your research, it is time to work on your design. Start by creating 3 sketches that include a bug, nature, and line design. You don't need to be detailed at this point. Take a photo and turn your sketches in to Schoology.
Once you have completed your sketches, makes some decisions about what you want for your final design. You will create a rough draft that will be transferred to the foam sheet (See Photo 1). One of the great things about printmaking is that you can print a copy and then continue to work on your design. For your rough draft, draw out the main elements of your design and not finish the background or some of the interior details.
Use a tool or a blunted pencil to press down your lines. Your lines should be deep without tearing the foam. Keep edges sharp and clean. At this point your are keeping the design simple.
Next create a print of the unfinished design ( See Photo 2 below) and use a sharpie to add designs to the background (See Photo 3 below). It may take several prints to get it just right. Using your prayer and a print trey, roll out a thin layer of ink in the trey. It should make a clicking noise from the friction of thinning out the ink. Roll the ink over the plate. Place your practice paper over the top of the wet foam plate. Gently rub the back of the paper being careful not to move the paper creating a blurred image. Peel off the paper and allow it to dry. Make several prints that you can experiment on with Sharpie.
If the overall design is too simple or to complex, the design will not be a success. You may want to leave some breathing space just around the edge of the main images to help them stand out from the background. Think about varying line thickness. Use different types of line like curved, zig zag, and dashed. Finish the rough draft with all your corrections to transfer to the foam plate (See Photo 4 below)
Take a photo of your rough draft and one of your practice prints together and turn in to Schoology.
PHOTO 1 - 1st Rough Draft
PHOTO 2 - Rough Draft Print without background details.
PHOTO 3 - Rough Draft Print in process of adding background details with Sharpie Marker Design
PHOTO 4 - 2nd Rough Draft with more flowers, leaves, and background pattern added
Final Design Once you have something you are happy with, you can transfer the rest of the design to the foam by coloring the back of your final practice prints with an ebony pencil. Lay it on top of the foam and trace the rest of your design. Using a tool or blunted pencil, go in and press the rest of your design. Keep edges sharp (See Photo 5 below).
You will want to create a 2nd practice print. If there is anything that need touched up or fixed, it should be done at this point (See Photo 6 below).
PHOTO 5- Foam Plate with incised lines
PHOTO 6- Final Practice Print
Watercolor Background Paper For the finished piece, you will use watercolor paint to create a colorful wash (See Photo 5 below). We are going to use a technique called Wet on Wet. This is a technique that is a hallmark look for watercolor paint. Wet on Wet requires that you use a high quality paper, which tends to be very expensive. Because of the paper cost, you will only be given one piece of paper for the piece you will turn in for a grade. You may want to try the technique out on scrap paper first. The results will not be as good as the final paper, but it will still give you some experience with the concept.
Color Choice Before beginning, decide on the colors you will be using. This technique requires that you work quickly so all your decisions should be made prior to beginning. Limit colors to 3 or 4. The colors used in the example are green, yellow and blue. Make sure you test colors before painting on the final to make sure they make a pleasing color when they mix together.
Salt Option To create texture, salt can be sprinkled on to the wet paint. Allow the paint to dry completely. Brush off salt so that it leaves a texture on the painted surface.
Painting the Background Have all of your materials out and ready to go. The watercolor paint is a concentrate so you must add water to it. Never use full strength paint. Watercolor is made to be transparent and not opaque.
Wet the paint first by dripping water over the paint drops. Paint should be fairly watery.
Using a large, clean brush, cover the entire surface of your paper with a thin layer of waters. It should wet the paper but not be so heavy that there are puddles on the surface.
Working quickly, begin dropping colors on top of the surface of the paper. The paint will begin spreading around on the wet surface on its own. Continue to drop colors allowing them to spread together. You don't need to totally cover the background, but most of it should have some color. The paper can be tilted slightly to encourage color movement.
There is some room for manipulating where colors will go so that a certain color may fall under a particular area of your print. For example, if your bug is red, you could make sure there is some red in the general area where the bug is on the design. Overall, the colors create a flowing. abstract design.
If you choose to add salt, it will be done after the colors are added but before the paint is totally dry. Group the salt so that it is not evenly spread across the paper. You only need a light sprinkling. Place the paper in the drying rack so it can dry flat. Once the paint is dry, brush off the salt so that the surface is smooth.
PHOTO 7 - Watercolor Background
Final Print While your painting is drying, you can create a few prints on the color papers found in the scrap bin. This will give you a backup should your final piece have major issues.
We will be using black ink on the final piece. A small scoop of black will be placed at the top of the rolling trey. Take the brayer and begin rolling it up and down spreading the ink across the surface. This will create some friction softening the ink so that it spreads well. You want a nice thin layer and not a heavy application. As the paint thins, you will hear a crackling sound. Roll the ink over the the foam print getting a thin even coverage. You need to work quickly so the ink doesn't begin to dry. Once the plate is fully covered, position the final paper above the foam. Once the paper is laid on top, it can't be repositioned. You will want to get the paper centered as much as possible. Gently lay the paper on top of the foam being carefully not to let is shift back and forth. Once the print is on the foam, gently rub the back of the paper to press it down. Again, avoid allowing the paper to shift. If the paper moves, your print will be blurry. You can also use a clean brayer to roll the back of the paper. I find that I have better control with my fingers. Make sure you rub the entire surface especially the edges. Areas left untouched will not have a strong ink presence. Gently lift the print off the foam and place it in the drying rack to dry.
PHOTO 8- Final Print
Refinement We will be doing a 2nd print using a different type of matrix or block. Since there is not a lot of options for refinement once the print is complete, take time to consider how well your design worked for this medium. Did you have enough or too much line work? What did you do the well and what did you struggle with? Set a goal for the 2nd print to show improvement from the first.
Reflection Download the rubric and take a photo of your finished piece. Turn in your completed rubric and photo to Schoology to be graded.
We will be carving out a rubber block for our second printmaking project. The basic steps are the same: create a block, roll on ink, and print it on paper. There are also some variations on this second process.
The inspiration for this project will be a fairytale or children's story. Begin by finding the story you want to use as the inspiration for your design. You will create a design that illustrates something that happened in the story.
As you begin, remember you can not copy another artist's work but you can create your own in a similar style. DON'T COPY ANY DISNEY CHARACTERS OR WORK FROM OTHER ARTISTS.
If you choose to include a person in your design, please spend some time practicing your final drawing. Note how other artist simplify people when designing a character. Since we are creating a print, you will not be able to use a complex drawing. You may choose not to include people at all in your design. For example, if you are illustrating a story with a princess, you could draw her crown or the castle where she lives.
As with the first print, you will need to include a lot of patterns and line work. Think of things you can include in your background and ways to add texture. About 50% to 75% of the block should be carved out in some way. This will also include creating small textural marks. Carving too little or too much will create a poor design.
Brainstorming Ideas Start with an idea and find a story or find a story to discover your design idea. Make a list of 5 good ideas. Consider the background as well as the main focal point. The blocks are not large measuring 4"x 6". Keep that in mind as you begin to think of ideas
Visual Development Begin by creating 2 or 3 planning sketches. You may want to trace the printing block so that you can draw the design to scale. Do not use words for this project. Take a photo of your sketches and turn it into Schoology.
A common mistake in printmaking is not carving out enough of the printing block (See photo 1 for an example of a block that has not been carved enough). One way to create a successful print is to start with a simple outline and add marks inside to balance darks and lights (See photo 2 and 3 below).
PHOTO 1-Too Little Carving/Texture PHOTO 2-Simple Shapes filled with Line PHOTO 3-Outline of simple shapes
THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF TOO LITTLE CARVING.
EXAMPLE OF FILLING SPACE WITH LINE WORK
OUTLINE OF BASIC SHAPE BEFORE IT IS FILLED WITH LINE
Here are some examples of different lines and textures that can be used in printmaking.
Next, create your rough draft. This will be transferred to the printing block using an ebony pencil. Remember, the image will be reversed. If you don't want the image reversed, use the light box to retrace your lines on the back of the paper. Place the rough draft backside up when you transfer it to the printing block. After your design is complete, use a sharpie marker to color in all of the positive space (areas that will not be cut out). Study the balance of dark and light. If you have too much of either, your design will not look good. It is a good idea to make a print before completing all of your cuts so that you can decide how much more material needs to be removed without over doing it. Take a photo of your rough draft and turn it in to Schoology.
Final Design Carving the Printing Block 1. Transfer your design to the printing block by coloring the back of your rough draft with an Ebony Pencil. Place the rough draft on top of the block and retrace your line. Next, color in all the areas that will not be carved out with a Sharpie marker.
2. Using the carving tools or an X-acto knife, begin carving away the material you don't want to print. There are several different sizes of carving tips. Choose the size that matches how much you want to remove. For example, use a small tip for fine detail or small areas.
Remember to leave texture by not fully carving out some areas. Although some shallow cuts may show up when you print, plan to leave pieces of the surface as needed for texture. You only need to carve down about 1/8".
3. Start with a partial cut and create a practice print before completing all of your final cuts. This will allow you to see what needs to be removed more clearly. You can always carve more sections as needed. ONCE THE MATERIAL IS REMOVED YOU CAN NOT REPLACE IT. Be careful about removing too much.
4. Finalize your design by completing all of your cuts. Be sure and check to see that you have about an equal amount of carved and non-carved areas. If any area stands out as too large and plain, decide how you can add some texture to break up the space.
5. Print a final draft of your completed design to check for any other needed changes. Once this is complete, you are ready to move on to your final prints.
Printing Options Here are several ways you can finish your print. You may try several variations and choose the best result to turn in as your final photo.
Colored Ink 1. For this print you may use colored ink. We have red, green, yellow, blue, white, and black. Colors can be mixed to create new colors. For example, white and red will make pink. You can create a mixed color or you can drop colors side by side to fade one color to another (see photo below)
This color fade is created by dropping a small amount of different colored inks near each other and rolling the brayer over top. Move the brayer back and forth slightly as you roll to create a blend where each color meets. Roll the blended colors on to your printing block.
Paper Choices 1. Colored construction paper may be used to add an additional color to your print. PLEASE USE THE SCRAP PAPER ON THE BOTTOM SHELF OF THE TURN IN RACK. If the color is not available, please see me and I will cut you a piece. Never take a full sheet of construction paper from storage. Our final print is small. By using scrap pieces, we can conserve the larger sheets for projects that require a full sheet.
2. Old book pages or newspaper can be used to create a unique look. See me for old book pages. Newspaper can be found under the 2nd sink.
3. A painted background can be created using acrylic or water color paint. You may place colors in the approximate area they would be needed for your design. For example, you could paint a yellow blob in an area where a flower will be printed. Colors don't need to align perfectly.
4. Pre-printed paper will add complexity to your design. See me for options or bring something you have at home. Options include scrapbook paper, old wrapping paper, or wall paper.
5. Roll out an ink fade on paper and allow it to dry before printing. This will add color to your background so that the ink texture matches the print texture.
Advanced Techniques 1. Hand painted areas can be created to enhance your final design. Painted areas should be limited since you will need to paint within the printed area. An example can be seen in the slide show above where the printed cat has a green painted iris.
2. Tw0 Color Printing is created by cutting out a shape that will be printed with a different stamp. Your original design will be used so it must be created leaving a little space around the item to be removed. You will use a 2nd stamp print from my recycled block prints. PLEASE DON'T USE A NEW BLOCK SINCE THERE IS ONLY ENOUGH FOR EACH STUDENT TO HAVE ONE. The entire design will be transferred to the printing block. The back ground will be carved out as usual, but the 2nd color image will be completely carved out. The 2nd color image only will be transferred to the the recycled block and carved out. The extra pieces around the image will also be removed with an X-acto knife. The background is printed first and allowed to dry. The 2nd color image will be placed and printed in the area that was removed to create the 2nd color. See the photo below for an example.
Refinement All refinement for this project should be done prior to your final printmaking piece. If your project is messy or needs more cutting, redo what you need and reprint.
Reflection Take a photo of your finished piece, download & fill out the rubric, and turn both of them in to Schoology.