Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lurker at Sea in Color and Block Print - Process Post

So I decided to redo Lurker at Sea (original ink sketch here) in color and use a block print (my current obsession).  I thought the block print would work perfectly for the waves.  It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be (even harder than the stamps!) but I learned a lot along the way.

First I traced my old Lurker at Sea on tracing paper after lining the shape of the linoleum block as the outer boundaries.
Then I tried transferring the drawing onto the linoleum block.  Uh that didn't go so well and most of the lines were too blurry to make out.  I redrew them on the block.
Next up was carving up the block.  This was my first time carving linoleum.  It's way harder to carve up than the Speedball Speedy-Cut Block I used for the pug stamps and at the end of the carving my right hand and wrist hurt so much!  Is there any way to do this without getting carpal?  On the other hand (hehe), in some ways linoleum was easier than the Speedy-Cut because it was easier to get some really thin and small cuts.  The Speedy-Cut is so soft it gives too easily sometimes.

I forgot to take process photos when carving (the throbbing in my hand must've made me forget), so I took some photos of the carved up block now.  It has a bit of ink residue on it.  I also included my muse in these photos.

Pug on pug
She's really sleepy and used to me putting objects on/around her and sticking my camera in her face.
It's a little curved now I think from the water after I rinsed off ink a few times.
It took several tests before I got the block to where I wanted it.  I had to carve a lot deeper than I thought.  After a test stamp I'd go back and carve some more and then do another test stamp.  I got a little impatient and decided to move forward after I got a semi-decent print.  I can always go back and clean it up more, and I was planning on painting over some of the ink anyways.
Those white dots bug me on the whale.  I think those were little linoleum nubbies that got stuck in the paint.  Argh!  Another lesson I learned is that you need the right paper to do a print.  I wanted to do it on watercolor paper since I planned on painting the whale and boat but the hot-pressed paper I had showed too much texture in the waves.  I had always planned on painting over the whale to add some dimension to it and distinguish it from the waves since I only have one blue-colored ink.  So I decided to paint over the waves too.  I may try another one on different paper and keep the waves strictly as a print, since I love the look of an ink print.

Next up I just used water and a brush to smooth out the whale.  I love ink.  It has such a great transparency to it.
Then I smoothed out the waves a bit and added some outlines using a 0.1 copic pen.
Then I used my gouache paints to paint the boat, pug and bunny.  I also added some layers of blue, green, and purple to the whale and waves. (Sorry for the crooked photos, for some reason I have real issues with making things straight.)
Here's a photo with the original ink sketch, the carved up linoleum block, and the finished product.
And here's the finished product.  The last thing I did was use a white gel pen to clean up the whale eye (I messed up the block print with that - I had carved out a piece for the white of the eye but I guess it wasn't deep enough) and the waves.
I really enjoy doing block printing but it's hard on the hand and more labor intensive than I'm used to.  I will definitely be doing more later on.

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