Assignment 4 – Collatype Collage Block Prints


Assignment 4 – Collatype Collage Block Prints

Task 1 (Project 11)

Present two prints of your textured collage test block with a descriptive statement

Descriptive Statement

Test block sectioned with items glued down ready for sealing

Test block sectioned with items glued down ready for sealing


The materials are listed from left to right, top row first.

Number one, the double stripped trim printed well and depending on the pressure used when inking, gave a variety of marks ranging from parallel fine lines, to more solid, thicker ones. It was easily malleable into shapes and could be twisted for interesting patterns.

Number two, the textured knitting yarn printed as a broken line mostly which occasionally linked up, it was very flexible even more so than number one.

Number three, the wide gauge embroidery mesh was stiff and unyielding, its main properties were that it gave a distinctive grid and could therefore mimic harder substances such as iron mesh or bars. It could easily be cut into specific shapes and would stay stable when being glued.

Number four, the gauze bandage was extremely easy to manipulate. It could be stretched, twisted, laid flat or layered and easily frayed at its edges. It could give the impression of flowing movement and shapes and was particularly useful for describing tone. I was a little disappointed with the straight relief inking with the black ink, however, when inking with a dabber and wiping, the results could be very versatile.

Number five, the ribbon. This was great to use as it was flat and the longer strip lent itself to being twisted and was still sufficiently stuck down with the glue. It worked well with the relief printing but I particularly liked the effect when the ink was gently wiped away to some extent. This then gave lovely highlights and really replicated a silky texture with the edges being more defined.

Number six, the bubble wrap was quite interesting particularly where the polythene creased. I was less drawn to the more solid bubble shapes than I was the twisted and stretched appearance. It was also flexible enough to twist although it needed a fair amount of glue to stabilise it. From this I think I would also like to try using some cling film, scrunched, twisted or creased

Number seven, the netting used to package supermarket fruit was a great texture. It was similar, although stronger to the gauze bandage and wouldn’t fray. It would particularly print well with the black ink and gave a random texture that could be very useful.

Number eight, I was unsure as to what results the handmade paper would achieve. It is a lovely texture that when torn, behaves almost like fabric in the way that it frays. I have used it before in mixed media painting where water-soluble paint clings to the frayed edges in an interesting way, hence my trying it here. In effect, it gave a nice texture but in a way that the source was not identifiable.

Number nine, the buttons were a fun addition, although, they really did just look like printed buttons so maybe not as versatile as the other materials.

Number ten, the dress making pins printed much better than I anticipated although again as the buttons, I don’t think I would use them very often.

Number eleven, dried spaghetti also printed well. This could be really useful where straight lines are called for, they can be broken into different lengths, used at angles, spaced apart or brought close together for texture.

Number twelve, porridge oats. I had obviously raided the kitchen cupboards for these few materials. These were a little disappointing in pure relief yet with more ink added and wiped, they could be useful for textures and tone, and also for using in conjunction with other similar materials of differing sizes (see number fifteen).

Number thirteen, long grain rice is a hard substance when raw and is surprisingly random when printed, great for texture, tone and highlights if wiped. The grains also printed very cleanly when printed in relief.

Number fourteen, Florists’ Winter Fauna is the name on the packet. a useful dried bundle of organic matter that florists use to enhance display designs. Theoretically, it could be used as a collage material in a clump or pulled apart to separate the strands as here. However, although it printed well the main challenge is getting it to adhere to the block as it is so curly and not overly flexible.

Number fifteen, gardeners’ potting grit. Fairly small-grained grit that gives a lovely random texture when printed. It also sticks down very well.

Number sixteen, dried, broken egg shells. These have been saved over time and are really useful for collage. If the pieces are too big when being stuck down, they can break down further and give an interesting, almost tortoise-shell effect.

Second relief print of test block with black oil based ink

Second relief print of test block with black oil based ink

Mix of relief and intaglio printing in multi colours from test block

Mix of relief and intaglio printing in multi colours from test block






I have selected print two of four for the black and white prints and print one of four for the coloured prints. A slightly different choice than previously made at the end of the exercise due to the clean appearance of the black and white relief print.

Task 2 (Project 12)

Present three versions of your collatype collage block print exploring a representational theme and a variety of collage techniques accompanied by a critical statement about your choice of subject and the way you have translated it into print.

After deciding to create a triptych type print series for my project, I have selected the three images below to represent my subject.

Final three selections from each image for assignment 4

Final three selections from each image for assignment 4

Critical Statement

I initially quote from my write-up of Project 12 itself:

“Over the time my previous assignment was in transit and with my tutor for feedback, I began thinking about what subject I would like to tackle for this project. Many things were in the news at the time not least the effects of climate change and the continual, nonsensical 140 character ramblings of the new president of America.  This one particular morning, the two collided once again, and the short-sighted lust for dollars over having a sustainable planet for the future of humankind hit the headlines. I had my subject.”

The more I explored ideas around my subject, the more I realised that one image would not suffice to put across my intention of drawing focus to this potential backslide to planetary destruction. Attention had to be on the misuse of power, the concern that this attitude may grow and continue in the wake of such an influential climate denying government and the dramatic results of such. As with many messages conveyed through the visual arts, I have tried to simplify and symbolise the message.

The portrait of POTUS stands as a figurehead for all those that ignore, deny and seemingly despise the science and evidence before us. Going back to my initial sketchbook thumbnails, the objective was to create a portrait of Donald Trump to illustrate the smugness with which I perceive he has taken power of one of the largest nations on the planet. That planet is under threat by human hand and he and his band of climate deniers are ploughing ahead with many policies to further the business dollar at our future’s expense. I need the portrait to describe this smugness and for his image to be recognisable. The use of some of the collage materials, in my mind, lend themselves to a pixellated image not unlike a comic book illustration. The use of orange flesh also help to give the impression of the real life caricature I see. It also serves to remind us not to dismiss the apparent incredulity and initial ridicule that we may think protects us from such people’s attitudes and opinions, they are not alone.

The combination of the portrait and landscape in a more linear image serves to illustrate that the shapes that we make and the decisions that we take are intertwined with all that is around us. Eventually, we as humans will become part of the landscape. We as individuals are merely blinks in the eye of time. We are transient but our attitudes and actions have repercussions and will carry on – we need to ensure that we make the right ones for humanity’s future. This I have tried to describe by bringing the two outlines together with stripes of colour, loosely relating to earth, sea and sky. No one human being is all omnipotent – hence the amalgamation to reduce their self-perceived power, the natural world will overcome its challenges, if given the opportunity.

The final image is to represent the earth’s warming, the melting ice caps, rising sea levels and the decimation that may ensue if we allow it, such as encroaching deserts and then little by little, in the loss of our familiar flora and fauna and so on…


Overall I have enjoyed this particular section of the course. I feel it has allowed me the freedom to experiment with many types of materials and techniques without being overly process driven. This, now I read it back, seems contradictory as I have begun to develop my own process. I have acknowledged the need for organisation and structure to produce better quality and clean print productions. However, what I think has happened is that I am now doing this more naturally and everything feels less forced.

Measures against criteria:

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills – I have become less concerned about the lack of specific materials in my location and have begun to see this as a way to think differently and be more creative in how I achieve outcomes. I am more patient, and in particular in Project 12, by expanding the brief and creating different images, I have been able to organise the stages of work and maintain productivity ie performing a process on one image whilst another dries etc. The sketchbook work has also allowed me to improve my design and composition, by visualising images and simplifying them for printing.

Quality of Outcome – allowing myself time  to experiment with technique and material options, to work through ideas and visualisation and very importantly, to change my mind as a result, I feel I am closer to realising my ideas when I commit to the final work.  In these projects, I have had less mishaps with the actual printing and the results have been cleaner and sharper than in those previous.

Demonstration of Creativity – previously, I always felt that my skills were very representational ie drawing from observation etc, and my real shortcoming was when asked to use my imagination and create from scratch. I now feel that once I have my subject, I am brimming with ideas to illustrate its concept. As for the subject itself, combined with finding my personal voice, I’ve discovered that as long as I have a passion for that subject, I can drill down into it and find a “hook” to work with. From being able to draw fairly well, I now feel I can actually be creative from within myself. The more I do this the more confident I become.

Context – I realised some while ago during this learning process, that I am naturally a reflective person, I am also very self-critical – particularly negatively. This has good and bad connotations, although I am learning to turn that criticism into a more objective trait, particularly with making choices about ideas to take forward and selecting my work. I still enjoy the research aspect and have learnt to filter out what I need and want from it rather than become swamped in data. I try to keep my learning log succinct and easy to navigate, not least for myself to refer back to past projects.

Going forward, I feel more in control of my own outcomes, not least in having learnt to let go of the control and let things evolve. I like the elements of contradiction and experimentation that have emerged from these projects.


Assignment 2: First Relief Prints


Assignment 2: First Relief Prints


Task 1 (Project 5):


Two printed test cuts (mark making).


Task 2 (Project 6):


Three single colour linocut prints



Other single colour linocuts


Task 3 (Project 7):


Three multi-block prints



One impression in a single colour of individual lino blocks

In Addition

To support your work you will have drawings, comments and ideas for further experiments in your learning log.

Concepts and Ideas for Further Experiments  "Contrasts & Female Misogyny" Ideas

Concepts and Ideas for Further Experiments
“Contrasts & Female Misogyny” Ideas

I have been exploring concepts and ideas with meaning and an emotional connection to me. I have considered contrasts as a subject, which has been explored in page 19 of my sketchbook, and also a subject that strikes me often in everyday life and news, misogyny by other women. I have encountered this first hand throughout life and it never fails to surprise and disappoint me – from school days when apparent friends discuss others’ faults behind their backs, to the workplace (particularly in male dominated environments) where a female manager saw others as a threat, to mothers judging childless women as lesser emotional beings. These occasions are frequent, however, they are dealt with by conflict or taking the higher ground as appropriate. It is particularly prevalent in today’s society, where social media (a misnomer if ever I heard one – more anti-social), is used by anonymous keyboard warriors to spill their vitriolic opinions. However, I am interested in exploring why this is the case. During my brain storming, it transpired that the latter example was the one that meant the most to me. It is a personal journey that I am beginning and may be cause some offence and indignation to some, however, that is exactly how I have felt on many occasions being the recipient of such judgement.

Concepts and Ideas for Further Experiments  "Contrasts & Female Misogyny" General Brainstorming

Concepts and Ideas for Further Experiments
“Contrasts & Female Misogyny” General Brainstorming

How can this be brought into my artwork? That is a very good question, and is probably why I have not tackled the conceptual element of art so far. However, working through my thoughts and feelings in my sketchbook is beginning to forge a path through the minefield (pages 19, 27-29). I have come to the conclusion that it is best tackled in a series of images and considering that this is a printing course, the use of symbols is a good place to start. I am also exploring the use of text within an image. I concede that these are not original elements, however, I am hoping that they will put across the message. The message that everyone has their story and is entitled to their privacy and not to be judged unfairly or cruelly.


Concepts and Ideas for Further Experiments  "Female Misogyny" Mothers - Childless

Concepts and Ideas for Further Experiments
“Female Misogyny” Mothers – Childless

Concepts and Ideas for Further Experiments  "Contrasts & Female Misogyny" Mothers - Childless - Totem Pole Designs

Concepts and Ideas for Further Experiments
“Contrasts & Female Misogyny” Mothers – Childless – Totem Pole Designs










Demonstration of Technical & Visual Skills


This was a big learning curve, from the Soft Cut to authentic lino, water-based to oil-based inks and different types of paper. I have discovered a preference for authentic lino and oil-based inks, types of paper will be an ongoing experiment and often depends on the outcome of the proof print.


Learning which type of cutting tools to use for the desired effect will be ongoing. I was particularly held back when cutting away larger areas that I didn’t want printed until I thought about using the square ended tool. The registering of the paper and block successfully is crucial to a clean print, particularly when using multi-blocks. I had some success with both methods, by eye and using a jig, however, as noted in my write-up, the jig method gave me more confidence. The multi-block linoprints were a lot of work, however, they are versatile in that I could make the required change to the first block, which I wouldn’t have been able to do with the reductive technique (not that I’ve tried it yet).

Observational Skills:

Looking for suitable subjects appropriate to single colour and multi-block techniques, and to my current skill level was sometimes difficult. Composition is still key and I drew on previous courses to consider fore, mid and background, the rule of thirds, using the frame to fill the space, playing with scale etc.

Quality of Outcome

The single colour linoprints were of variable quality due to the subject and materials chosen plus obviously, skill level. My favourite composition for the single linoprint was of Montana Roja, even though I forgot to reverse the transfer! I still feel it has impact and am pleased with the marks replicating the light and dark, texture, scale and perspective elements. I would like to try this subject again, the right way round, in the future. Regarding the multi-colour linoprint, I am relatively pleased with the result for a first ever attempt. However, I can see may improvements to develop:

  • Use genuine lino for the block to increase crispness of cut
  • Be more adventurous regarding the detail marks as was begun in the flower bud/sheath.
  • Introduce outline where appropriate

Application of Knowledge:

I think this played a big part in my subject choices. Previous courses in drawing and painting influenced how I structured my compositions as note above.


This improved throughout the projects. Initially the test prints were a little messy on the edges. As I progressed I was more aware of superfluous marks and smudges and tried to eradicate them prior to actually printing the image. I haven’t addressed the subject of editioning as yet because I haven’t had a long print run – although I have taken on board the theory.


This is improving, which is probably why I stalled for so long during Project 7. I felt that the initial composition wasn’t right for several reasons and it was not until I found my subject by accident that I was happy to continue. Selecting the most successful prints is becoming easier too. I am extremely self-critical and will continue to be so, however, I have to accept that I am learning and “mistakes” are a crucial part of that process. Sometimes “mistakes” are actually more exciting as I noticed in the first multi-block print where the orange infiltrated the background. Had it not also contaminated the actual flower,I would have preferred it to the attempt at “perfection”. Perfection, whatever that is, is becoming more monotonous to me.

Conceptualisation of Thoughts:

This is still in its infancy – I have concentrated on learning the techniques so far. However, I am being encouraged to attack this more confidently by my tutor. I have begun to formulate an idea to take forward. this is being explored in my sketchbook. I need to consider symbolism, the message and the image itself and I am now excited to push this further.

Demonstration of Creativity


My main learning process so far has been from life – trying to attain proportion, accuracy, perspective etc. All are invaluable aspects and skills, however, I feel at the expense of my intuition, imagination and creativity. The exploration of my embryonic conceptual idea is going to push this forward and I am feeling more confident that I can explore more deeply into my own feelings.

I enjoy experimenting with different media and effects and I think this will help me with bringing out my imagination and creativity. I feel that I can often see the unusual in the ordinary and trying to reproduce this vision is what is going to aid me with fulfilling this criteria.


This is a skill in itself. I am now more questioning, observant and critical when researching and viewing other artists’ work. I look deeper, not just at the technical aspects, but for what is being said and why. I am more intrigued with the ambiguous and expressive. I would rather return to such works many times and still come away with questions as well as answers. I feel art should make the viewer work to fully appreciate it. That is a tall order to give myself, I realise.