Project 3: Back-drawing

26/04/16

Back-drawing

Another variation is back-drawing. This is where a design is impressed on the back of the paper, often with a pencil, after it has been laid over an inked printing plate. The result is a soft drawing where it is possible to achieve a considerable amount of detail.

Back drawn design on the reverse of the printed paper - A4 print on A3 cartridge paper

Back drawn design on the reverse of the printed paper – A4 print on A3 cartridge paper

 

 

I decided to create a positive and negative masked two colour print of the palm tree. I then lifted the paper, cleaned and re-inked the plate with black ink. Re-registering the paper I then used a positive mask to draw round the shape of the tree and then added smaller palms in silhouette to give an impression of distance as a back drawing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two coloured, positive and negative masked print with back drawing in black ink

Two coloured, positive and negative masked print with back drawing in black ink

 

The result of the back drawing showed a light print of the black ink in places. The outline of the tree was strong although, the silhouettes were a little subdued. I did not notice straight away, however, that the large palm tree back drawing was the reverse of the print. I had forgotten that the positive mask I drew around should have been turned over to match the print. Although, I must say, in retrospect I quite like the balance it gives the shape on the finished print. This is something to be aware of and remember if this method is repeated. It was a happy accident in this case though.

 

 

 

 

Palm tree and smaller trees - back drawing

Palm tree and smaller trees – back drawing

 

I tried again just using a fresh sheet of paper and black ink on the plate. The larger tree was again drawn from the outline of the positive mask, with a little detail added to the leaves and trunk. The smaller trees were drawn free hand with a few birds in flight for good measure. I kept this as a simple line drawing to see what the effect of the single ink colour would be.

 

 

 

 

 

Monochrome monoprint of back drawing palm trees

Monochrome monoprint of back drawing palm trees

 

I quite like this result as there is some random texture from the solidly inked plate that softens the outline made with a sharp pencil. I decided to leave this as is – less is more this time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back-drawing from Life

Now you are familiar with the back-drawing technique, try working on the spot by taking a prepared plate with you.

As it was, yet again, pouring with rain outside (not to mention sleet and hail stones) I decided to work from inside looking out of the French doors in to the garden. My apple tree must be the most drawn tree ever!

Back drawing from life - view from the French doors

Back drawing from life – view from the French doors

 

Going freehand with this one, I thought I would use textural marks as well as outline drawn in pencil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back drawn view from my window 1

Back drawn view from my window 1

 

Very disappointed when I lifted the paper! I admit I got a little carried away with the inks on this one. I tried to place the ink colours roughly in position all in one go. Consequently there is a gap in the middle and the free rollering has made it difficult to see the drawing. I’ll put that one down to experience!

 

 

 

 

 

Back drawing from life number two

Back drawing from life number two

 

 

In my second attempt, I moved the view along a little bit to the other side of the apple tree which was slightly less chaotic, yet still had some interesting textures.

 

 

 

 

 

Back drawn view from my window 2

Back drawn view from my window 2

 

This time I decided to follow the advice in the brief ie working with lighter inks first. I inked the printing plate with yellow, laid the print paper down and drew the previous design onto the paper. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo of this stage. It did work but was a little indistinct because of the colour. I wiped the plate and laid down some red. I re-registered the paper and traced over the original drawing for the foreground objects. Lifting the print, I thought it was worth re-drawing everything with varying pressures. This worked really nicely and I like the way the main objects are strong and the background is more faint as it should be. I also like the areas where unintentional pressure on the red ink has given the impression of extra foliage and leaves on the tree.

 

 

Back drawn view from my window 3 - loose drawing on A3 newsprint

Back drawn view from my window 3 – loose drawing on A3 newsprint

 

 

I thought I would try again on different paper from white cartridge and made a looser drawing on newsprint to see what the thinner paper would produce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back drawn view from my window 3 - A3 newsprint

Back drawn view from my window 3 – A3 newsprint

 

 

 

I actually re-used the print plate from the previous back drawing but replaced the print paper with the newsprint. The yellow ink has been lost in the previous print so just the red has printed. It is difficult to see in the photograph but in reality the previous back drawing may just be seen. With re-using the plate and using the thinner paper, the line is much finer and less deep in colour.

 

 

 

 

What is the quality of the line you have printed? 

As noted above.

Can you think of ways in which this method might be used for sketching or making spontaneous drawings?

I would think that this may be great as an under-drawing or painting to continue to be worked into – particular with pastel, either oil or chalk. I understand that Degas used a similar method as a base for many of his pastel paintings. I’m not sure I would necessarily think of this first to make spontaneous drawings due to the preparation required, however, it may be a great way of taking an image further into the unexpected.

Try another print of this type without re-inking your printing plate. Did you notice any change in the quality of the line?

See last print above.

 

Project 3: Variations using Masks and Multi-Colours

20, 22, 25/04/16

Variations using Masks and Multi-Colours

Now you have started to explore masks and printing from a printing plate you can begin to experiment. Try out some new ideas using masks, layers of colours, painted printing plates and so on.

Here I followed instructions on how to create a three colour masked monoprint. It uses two colours with a negative mask for positive prints and one positive mask to give a negative print as a background colour.

Three coloured monoprint - with additional overprinted without the masks

Three coloured monoprint – with additional overprinted without the masks

 

 

I was disappointed with the initial result as the yellow was too far over, although I purposely was not trying to print each colour on top of the other. I then tried overprinting with both negative and positive masks removed. This wasn’t really what I was after but it’s good to play and experiment and I can’t expect it always to be effective.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three coloured monoprint using 2 negative masks and 1 positive on A2 white medium weight cartridge paper

Three coloured monoprint using 2 negative masks and 1 positive on A2 white medium weight cartridge paper

 

 

After the first attempt I decided to just follow the instructions and see what happened. I also decided to use the medium weight cartridge paper again as it is more of a brilliant white and thought it would look good against the mix of colours. This worked well and although the yellow is a little over, it still looks pleasing to me.

 

 

 

 

 

Varied Masks of Natural and Found Objects, Textures and Solvents

The idea here was to experiment with textures and colours to achieve unusual and creative effects in the monoprints. This was a huge learning curve of how to use found objects as masks, consistency of inks, colours, papers and printing pressure.

Man-made objects and solvent on A3 newsprint

Man-made objects and solvent on A3 newsprint

 

My first attempt is an A4 print on A3 newsprint. Using red and yellow oil inks overlapping to mix colours on the print itself. Coiled string, bubble wrap and gauze were used as masks, ink was lifted out with a brush handle and solvent was dripped and splashed onto the print plate to achieve different effects. Several layers of printing were used to produce this and this is evidenced by pure colour on white, and the colour beneath coming through in places.

 

 

 

 

Ghost print on A3 newsprint

Ghost print on A3 newsprint

 

 

As there was still a substantial amount of ink on the plate after the above print, I decided to take a ghost print on a fresh sheet of newsprint. This was still quite distinct and the drops of solvent show up even better almost like bubbles with less ink with which to print. The bubble wrap is also much more obvious as I would guess the top layer of yellow ink was spent in the first completed print and the bottom red layer has remained. This was a fascinating experiment and was worth noting the results for how to achieve effects in the future.

 

 

 

A4 print on A3 white cartridge paper.

A4 print on A3 white cartridge paper.

 

Using two colours of yellow and blue with layering producing green as the third. Again using man-made masks of gauze and bubble wrap, with natural masks of dried sliced orange. Drops of solvent, although not so much as before, disperse the inks letting the pure colours come through. Again, the ink was scratched into with a brush handle giving nice clear squiggle patterns. I was a little disappointed that the orange slices didn’t really show as much definition as I’d hoped.

 

 

 

 

A4 print on A3 white cartridge paper

A4 print on A3 white cartridge paper

 

This time, still using two colours I decided to use blocks of pure colour and join them with the masks and patterns in the design. I used a small piece of fabric mesh, bubble wrap (the same piece as used before which had ink on it so printed itself), some solvent drops and a squiggly pattern made by a brush handle again. I have reused many of the same methods and masks, however, it is fascinating to me how different each print still is.

 

 

 

 

 

A4 print on A3 white cartridge paper

A4 print on A3 white cartridge paper

 

Here a yellow layer was inked first with a some large drops of solvent attempting to make some flower like shapes. A second layer of blue with more drops of solvent, trying to vary the sizes and dragging some of these drops to make stems. Some scratching into blue layer for texture and added organic shapes. This illustrated the unpredictable nature of printing as although I was trying to create a flower like image, it did begin to resemble underwater coral or water based plant life. I think the colours used also contributed to this.

 

 

 

Using What has been Learnt to Create a Landscape

When you can see the possibilities of this process, make a print depicting a landscape or town scape using the print of different items.

This was a fun task and involved some working into the inks with a rag, cotton bud and using layers of colour to create others. Even though this was a landscape, I used both natural and man-made items to create shapes with a little solvent to give blurred “cauliflowers”. I managed to build some tone into the image although it could have had more and it is more expressive than realistic. Having said that, it sort of works.

Landscape built from layered ink and textures. A4 print of landscape on A3 cartridge paper.

Landscape built from layered ink and textures. A4 print of landscape on A3 cartridge paper.

 

Project 3: Two Coloured Masked Monoprints

18 & 19/04/16

Two Coloured Masked Monoprints

In this project you will continue to use your masks from the previous section, both positive and negative, to make a two-coloured print.

First attempt at two coloured monoprint - lots of lessons! Oil based ink on cartridge paper.

First attempt at two coloured monoprint – lots of lessons! Oil based ink on cartridge paper.

Method of two colour print:

  • Select two contrasting ink colours
  • Select which colour for each positive and negative print
  • Have two clean printing plates ready
  • Ink one plate with positive print colour and the second with negative print colour to suit mask size (A3)
  • Lay negative mask on colour that will have the positive print (blue)
  • Lay positive mask on colour that will have the negative print (yellow)
  • Take negative print first (background colour yellow), lay printing paper over mask, ensuring the registration creases are prominent from the plate
  • Take the print and carefully remove
  • Line up the printed paper on the positive blue inked printing plate correlating the registration marks with the edge of the plate
  • Take the print and carefully remove the paper

All seemed well except for a couple of crucial points:

  • I was not at all sure how to accurately line up the negative and positive masks on their corresponding printing plates so that the image would match – so they didn’t by some way
  • I forgot to clean up the inked edges before printing

As the positive and negative masks were so out of alignment that I was definitely going to have to try again, I removed both masks and reprinted both colours on top, again using the registration marks so at least the ink would correlate. Initially, I thought “what a mess!” although since, in a strange way, I quite like the effect although it could be somewhat neater. Anyway – take two…

The main issue to address was the alignment of the negative and positive masks on their corresponding printing plates. I decided to mark the A3 paper size on the reverse of each plate with masking tape so I could align the top right corners of the negative mask and a piece of A3 paper on the plate that would be for the positive mask. The main problem was placing the positive mask in the correct place as there were no landmarks to use. I then realised that if I tape another negative mask of the same design against the A3 markers underneath the glass printing plate, I could then align the positive mask to the negative. This would ensure that the positive and negative prints were matching – as in the below photographs before I get any more confused!

Positive Printing Plate - Masking tape underneath the printing plate, marking the top right corner to help place A3 negative mask on top.

Positive Printing Plate – Masking tape underneath the printing plate, marking the top right corner to help place A3 negative mask on top.

Negative Printing Plate - Masking tape marks top right corner for A3 negative mask to be taped underneath the plate to aid positioning the positive mask.

Negative Printing Plate – Masking tape marks top right corner for A3 negative mask to be taped underneath the plate to aid positioning the positive mask.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once all the alignment guides were in place, I could again ink the plates with the appropriate colours and take the two coloured prints as intended.

Two coloured monoprint using positive and negative masks in contrasting colours. A3 print on A2 medium weight cartridge paper.

Two coloured monoprint using positive and negative masks in contrasting colours. A3 print on A2 medium weight cartridge paper.

Second pull of two coloured monoprint using positive and negative masks in contrasting colours. A3 print on A2 medium weight cartridge paper.

Second pull of two coloured monoprint using positive and negative masks in contrasting colours. A3 print on A2 medium weight cartridge paper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Very pleased with this attempt after such an abject disaster initially. The blue ink on the first pull could have been a bit more consistent and there are a couple of dots of blue where they shouldn’t be, but generally not too bad. The second pull, although fainter seems to have eliminated the previous two issues.

Next I reversed the colour-way for a contrasting print.

Two coloured monoprint using positive and negative masks in contrasting colours. A3 print on A2 medium weight cartridge paper.

Two coloured monoprint using positive and negative masks in contrasting colours. A3 print on A2 medium weight cartridge paper.

Second pull of two coloured monoprint using positive and negative masks in contrasting colours. A3 bleed print on A3 light weight blank newsprint paper.

Second pull of two coloured monoprint using positive and negative masks in contrasting colours. A3 bleed print on A3 light weight blank newsprint paper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the first print, the medium weight cartridge paper was used again and positive mask (negative print) again produced a chunkier horse silhouette, which combined with the lighter positive image against the dark background, made for a more heavy-looking shape. However, on the second pull, having received my newsprint paper, the lighter weight paper slimmed down the negative print (positive mask) so much it was fairly bang on matching. This has proven my theory that for a positive mask, the thinner printing paper moulds to the contours of the shape much better.

I decided to carry on and choose another design to work on, plus being smaller ie A4 and to use the A3 newsprint as printing paper.

Two coloured monoprint - A4 size printed on A3 newsprint

Two coloured monoprint – A4 size printed on A3 newsprint

Second pull of two coloured monoprint - A4 size printed on A3 newsprint

Second pull of two coloured monoprint – A4 size printed on A3 newsprint

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The above are two prints using two colours as before but as the size was A4 printed on A3 it was less cumbersome in practice, plus using the lighter weight newsprint as the print paper, the distinction of the positive mask in particular was much more defined.

 

Graduated background of yellow and red with third colour positive print. A4 on A3 newsprint

Graduated background of yellow and red with third colour positive print. A4 on A3 newsprint

Reworked ink on graduated background of yellow and red with third colour positive print. A4 on A3 newsprint

Reworked ink on graduated background of yellow and red with third colour positive print. A4 on A3 newsprint

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The idea here was to mix yellow into the red ink to achieve a sunset effect. This almost worked except the amount of ink at the top where the colours were mixed was more concentrated and unfortunately the neat red ink at the bottom of the print was less dense and looked a little patchy in comparison. The second print, where more of the red was added had the opposite effect as the yellow was lost.  The other issue I came across here was that the mixed colours were too thick and squishy and, as I lifted the print paper away, it also pulled off the mask as it had stuck to the print paper also. This was just an experiment and could work if more care was taken to mix the colours properly rather than relying on the roller to do this.

Lessons Learnt:

  • When using larger print paper and two or more printing plates, clear all superfluous items from your workspace – trying to control the paper, align prints and avoid contamination is not helped by clutter around the area
  • Forethought in preparation to register the prints and align masks on separate printing plates is key to success
  • Consider appropriate paper weights for desired results
  • Clean around printing plate to remove excess ink
  • Think, plan, print!