Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Drawing for print

For the next four weeks, we are getting our inductions into the print studios. For two days each week we will be rotating through the 1) etching, 2) lithography, 3) relief printing and 4) screenprinting studios. As an initial introduction, this week we've had a workshop in 'drawing for print'.

1) Intaglio (etching)

Intaglio prints are where the ink goes into the groove of the mark thats been made into the printing plate. Find out more here.

We will mostly be doing acid etching, with which you can get different line qualities depending on how long the metal plate is exposed to acid. Our first exercise was to experiment with drawing using different line weights.

Etching is also very 'line' based - with virtually no flat areas of tone. You have to build up tone using just lines and making textures using lines (eg cross hatching). So the next exercise was to do that (can't say I'm very good at cross hatching!).

There is a way of adding flat tones to etchings, and its called 'aquatint'. To think about how that might work, we did an exercise in drawing with line and washes of tone.

2) Lithography

Lithography gives a much softer quality of print. It works on the principle of drawing with wax (or anything greasy) onto a smooth surface; then after treatment, greasy ink gets rolled onto the surface and only sticks to the greasy wax marks. Prints are made from this. Although possible to cover whole areas with a lithographic crayon, it wasn't advised, and we did an exercise making a tonal drawing using a black wax crayon and seeing what kinds of textures we could get.

3) Relief printing (collagraph)

Relief printing is the opposite of intaglio - as in the ink goes on the raised surfaces left after a tool has been used to remove bits of the plate. For example lino printing and the old childhood favourite of potato printing.

Collage is another way of building up layers of texture (or relief) which you can then ink up and use to print (see my collagraphy from my foundation year here). Apparently thats the kind of relief work we'll be doing so we had an exercise which involved making up bits of paper with some drawn textures (imitating the bits of texture from fabrics or found objects we would have used in a real collagraph), then cutting bits of those and making a collaged image from those.

4) Screenprinting

Traditionally silkscreen-printing was done with lots of stencils. You can get nice blocks of flat colour with this technique, as did Andy Warhol.

Apparently at the UWE screenprinting studios they really focus on the more modern photo-stenciling method. We will be given a transparency-like sheet which we can draw straight onto - using all kinds of media. So our last exercise was to do a drawing using a mixture of graphite and wash and ink etc.

I start my rotations with the screenprinting studios next Monday, so come back then for a more detailed account of the process and what we get up to.


Claudine said...

I love printmaking! But have only come into contact with it sporadically. The drawing exercises you did to become familiar with intaglio are really pretty clever. I think they are a good illustration of the processes. Have fun!

Yoon Kit said...

ah, etching... Its been a while....

what plates do you use? I had to bring a whole load of zinc plates from Malaysia cos it was cheaper when I did my A levels.


sue bulmer said...

Hi Mithi

Have you ever tried lino printing? I'm trying to have a go but am hving trouble getting my hands on some lino. Good luck with the print module, can't wait to see the results

Anonymous said...

i loved the soft, crayony effect of the litho too. boohoo. reminds me of my stint in college. missed out on screen printing. looking forward to coming back.

Anonymous said...

Lucky girl! I never had the chance at college to do lithography. I came across your blog yesterday and have really enjoyed reading about your adventures! Fantastic drawings by the way.