Saturday, 30 April 2011

Dry Point printing using acetate sheets

I have just done a course on dry point and chine-collé  run by Claire Morris Wright of Leicester Print Workshop at the Unique Farm Cottage Studios near my home in Lincolnshire UK.

Dry point is a technique known as intaglio where the image was drawn on an acetate sheet using a sharp pointed tool.

You can add texture with dots, cross hatching etc.

I put an acetate sheet over a sketch I did of a romantic lady surrounded by butterflies.

Water based printing ink was spread onto a glass plate and evened with a roller and this was applied to the acetate. The ink needs to be scrubbed into the lines and the excess removed with scrim or a soft rag.

The acetate went face down  in the printing press between newsprint on top of well dampened paper  and the image - reversed - was then printed.

I used the same technique for the leaf prints which I intended to scan to use as digital backgrounds. The second  image  has had an extra coating of ink rolled on after the plate had been  prepared for printing.


Chine-collé is a wonderful technique for adding colour and texture to a dry point print. We added light weight papers, fabric, and text to the prepared acetate plate. These additional pieces were laid right side down and then the backs of the added papers were covered in glue (using just an ordinary glue stick).

On the printing press the plate was laid on top of newsprint and the dampened paper for the final print was placed on top of it. More newsprint was laid on and the print went through the press.

The collaged papers become part of the print with the printed lines on the plate showing through the collage paper.

This is a really interesting technique and I am going to a Practice your Printing workshop on May 6th with some ready prepared acetate sheets to try out some more ideas!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Using Fold Out Journals - a Night and Day Panorama

In the Strathmore Journal Workshop 2 Linda Blinn showed how to add fold out pages to your journal, so now I decided to use the spread I made to make  panorama page. I had added a full page to the right hand side of the journal and a three quarters page to the left.

Then I used acrylic paints to colour the spread from dark to light

I used an  journal prompt on "Night and Day". I wanted to use bats for night symbols and butterflies for day. So I drew some bats, chose the one I liked then traced it and scanned it. I lifted it off the background using the magic wand in Photoshop and made a page of bats

I chose some quotes on night, day, butterflies and bats from an internet search:

"The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough. "
Rabindranath Tagore
"Bats drink on the wing, like swallows, by sipping the surface, as they play over pools and streams" Gilbert White
 “You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It's just a matter of paying attention to this miracle.”
 Paulo Coelho quotes (Mystical author, one of Brazil's most successful novelist)
“Night brings our troubles to the light, rather than banishes them.”  Seneca quotes (Roman philosopher, mid-1st century AD)
“May we be fearless... from friends and enemies...from known and unknown ... from night and day...May all the directions be our allies.” Atharva Veda quotes
“A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” Oscar Wilde 

Almost done!
I used some alphabets from Dover clip art to label the pages "NIGHT AND DAY" and "DAY AND NIGHT"

I used collaged quotes on the dark pages and tinted them so they were not so stark and white

On the light pages I used the image transfer technique for the quotations so the colour shows through the text.


I used a waterproof sepia pen and added some personal journalling on thoughts and feelings about the night and the day, and then added a few more butterflies to fill in any places where the page looked empty.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Digital mixed media recipe - how to bottle a mermaid

1 picture of clear bottles
1 picture of a bottle stopper
2 mermaid pictures
1 picture of a human skeleton
1 picture of fish skeleton
Photoshop or similar image editing programme

This is a good way to practice the reusing old journal pages as in the instructions for  the Strathmore Workshop 1. I wanted to make a display of "preserved mermaids" for a chunky book pages swap I am doing called Cabinet of Curiosities; the idea is that these belonged to an old collector of oddities.

I found some old mermaid pictures I had drawn and scanned and opened them in Photoshop.

Using the lassoo tool  and a graphics tablet I drew round the mermaids, and cut them out.

I mermaid had open eyes so I used the lassoo and the clone stamp tool to remove most of the eyes so they appeared closed.

I used the fish and human skeletons to help me to draw a mermaid skeleton, and also lifted that from the background using the magic wand tool.

I lassoed the bottle stopper

Then I dragged and resized the images so they were "in" the bottles. 

I flipped one of the skeletons, made it smaller and put it upside down in one bottle for variety.

I used the vibrance tool to make the mermaids look pale and pickled!

Changing the opacity puts the skeleton "deeper" into the bottle - I did not use this option as the final pages are only 4" by 4" and I though the detail would not show up enough on such a small scale