Monday, 26 September 2011

Making Art Dolls

I signed  myself up for lots of swaps on for making art dolls - jointed paper dolls on a theme  - so as a result I have been making lots of dolls.

Great fun, the room is full of funny little people!

Rather than use a template -(thought there are lots of them on the site and on the internet ) - I decided to draw my characters and then turn them into the jointed dolls.

So I did lots of drawings.

I had 4 themes - mermaids, spooky halloween dolls, failed super heroes and women..

I photocopied the sketches I had made and stuck them on a light box with masking tape. I drew over the images, allowing for the overlapping in the sketches - i.e. I added extra pieces to fit behind other pieces, like long necks to heads so the heads could be fastened behind the bodies, extra long shoulders to the tops of arms etc so the finished drawings were all the bits of the dolls ready to be assembled with paper fasteners with all the hidden bits also shown. Hope this makes sense!

Then I transferred the images onto white paper and stuck the whole sheets to card with PVA glue.

I added some finer details - like the hands - and then coloured them in using Inktense pencils. These are very controllable but look like paint when wetted - you can also add more detail over them without the first coat running. I also used some twinkling H20s for the mermaids' tails and metallic pencils for robotic shine...

Then I laid each join together, pierced them with a - mmm don't know what it is called it is basically a pointed spike in a metal handle - and then used paper fasteners to animate them... I shall be quite sorry to see them go!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Using Chine-collé Dry Point Prints in collaged journal pages

I decided to use the mermaid prints I made at my printing workshop to illustrate a spread on the subject of "Mermaid Tales."
The inspiration is T.S. Eliot's Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock with the mermaid imagery:-

I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

  I do not think they will sing to me.

  I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

  We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown            
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

I used watercolour spray paint for the background and collaged on some embossed rectangles cut from a decorated page and embossed with Cuttlebug textures.

I used two complete chine-collé mermaid prints and then cut out the mermaids from other prints I had made.

I tried to bring the whole page together with an overlay of cut out and collaged waves.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Acetate Dry Point Prints and Lino Prints

 These are the prints I made using the Cuttlebug as a printer.

They have been altered for an Chunky Book swap, so these are 4" x 6" pages.

I cut out doors and windows so that they would open and added collaged medieval images inside the houses, before backing them with strong cardboard.

Then I decorated the houses with Derwent Inktense pencils, and added more collage elements to the outside of the buildings. Again these are medieval images cut out from some imagery of old Books of Hours.

Now I have a terrace of nice little houses, all ready to fly off to the USA once I have "chunkied" them up with beads, ribbons etc....!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Using a Cuttlebug as a printing press for Dry Point Printing using acetate sheets and Lino Cutting

After playing with a borrowed machine, I have just bought myself a Cuttlebug which is an embossing and cutting machine, with potential for cutting tags, alphabets and embossing backgrounds... and I am already using it for that.

However, when I first tried it out, it  also occurred to me that it might be possible to use (or maybe that is abuse) the machine as a printing press...

I have been doing a chunky house swap for, so I had made 6" x 4" drawings of house fronts for that, so I thought that they would make  ideal linear shapes for printing from.

I have to say it took a bit of trial and error!

I used a water soluble black printing ink (Calder colours Ocaldo block printing water colour) rolled it out on a plastic tray with my printing roller and then rolled the black ink over the acetate  plate.  Because it is clear I always scratch the surface with a finger nail before I get started to make sure that the  incised side is facing up.

I had not got any scrim, so after pushing the ink into the plate with a rectangle of cardboard, I scrubbed the ink off using newspaper. It is VERY messy so I used disposable latex gloves. It took several goes to clean the plate and a lot of pressure.

Then I took the gloves off and washed my hands so that I would not be gunging up my new machine!

I had already dampened some coloured card by spraying it with water and then interleaving it between sheets of kitchen roll.

I placed the plate face down on to a sheet of the damp paper.

  Then I carefully sandwiched the plate in lots of newsprint so that
a. there was no stray ink to get on the Cuttlebug
b.there was a certain amount of give when the print went through the roller.

I put it through the machine using the normal configuration recommended for embossing - first plate a,  then plate b, then the sandwich of print, then the other plate b on top and wound it through the machine..

First I made the paper too wet and the print  was watery.

Then I tried again and the prints were too faint (it is sounding like the three bears!).

But I still thought it ought to be possible so  I went back to the acetate plates.

I went over each plate again and cut the lines again with a slightly broader etching needle.

 I also made the printing ink a little more liquid with a squirt of water from a sprayer to make sure that the ink went really well down into the etched lines.

(It's probably not a good idea to change two things at once but I was a dying to see what I got).

And here are my first successful plates.

It also works for lino cutting, though again I had to mess about with different layers of paper filling to get the lino and paper to go through the machine without stressing the machine too much, or without it just rolling through and not printing.

I used a Tim Holtz Distress ink pad which I rubbed over the surface of the lino which was lying in a sandwich of paper - this also printed very well, though  it is easier to take lino prints than the dry point as you can take a print off lino by rubbing the receiving paper on the back with a baren.

However,  I am very pleased with my first experiments -  especially the dry point as it is impossible to take prints from the acetate plates without using some sort of press.

Mmm now for some chine-collee perhaps?

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Making Your Own Rubber Stamps

A couple of years ago I went to a UK ATCsforall gathering and we learned above carving your own rubber stamps.

All you need is a cheap set of lino cutting tools and material to carve.

There are three materials that can be used
1. - lino
2. Speedycarve - this is sold in a set with some cutting tools
3. Really cheap pencil erasers ( I got mine from our local Tesco supermarket, about 40p for a pack of two).

So I decided it was time to try this out.

I wanted a set of stamps that I could use in art journalling - simple words that could be a jumping off point.

First I drew up my letters in a ruled rectangle the size of the finished stamp and then traced it.

Then I turned the tracing over and used the reverse as the template traced onto the carving material I was using for carving the stamps. (You have to reverse the letters so they read the correct way round!)

The first material was traditional lino; I cut the stamp with a variety of tools and left some of the background for a grungy look.

I just used an ordinary stamp pad (a Tim Holtz Distress Ink Pad in Antique Linen) to test the stamp.

Then I used some rectangular erasers and transferred the words from the original drawings in the same way and carved out the stamps, again using the lino cutting tools.

The erasers are really easy to carve as they are very soft, but it is a bit fiddly working on such a small scale.

Finally I tried to make a logo out of my user name intitals - redplantlady-  so I carved RPL in Speedy Carve.

I used all the stamps as a page in  my Art Journal Prompts Journal, using  a Tim Holtz's Distress Ink Pad again  - Vintage Photo this time -  and I can then go on to use the stamps in my journals.