Into the woods

I did a drawing I was pleased with, because of the trees, textures and path. It was pencil, but when I took a photo of it in less than perfect light conditions, it turned sepia, which suited it, I thought.

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I’m now trying to turn it into a print, drawing it again, simplifying and changing it a bit, ready to be cut, possibly as another black and white print using both wood-cutting tools for removing the large areas of light and wood engraving tools to make patterned textures and greys/mid tones. I’m not experienced in doing this, so it’s exciting, but could be a disaster.

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I’m using vinyl flooring again. It’s a surprise how well wood engraving-type cutting prints on this stuff. You’d think fine lines would fill in, but they didn’t on the last plate I made using this method¬†http://wp.me/p4W8Uu-a0

This is how the latest one turned out, after a long time removing the sky to show the trees with lino cutting tools and using the same plus wood-engraving tools on the foreground.

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I was pleased with the print, but wondered how it would look if I made a second plate with more trees on it. I printed it first in a light grey, then printed the main trees on top. I spent a long time fiddling with the tones, and trying to stop the light grey trees showing through. Where they crossed the black trees there was a kind of ghost image, but I don’t think it matters – it looks a bit like shadows.

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More handmade books

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I’ve improved the method. On the plus side the books hold together better and are stronger and neater. On the negative, they still take a long time to make, even when I do several of the same size at the same time. For each book Somerset paper is torn by hand ¬†into 15 pieces, which are then folded and smoothed flat with a bone folder. They are carefully sewn together on to an inner spine of bookcloth. Boards are cut for the covers with bookcloth cut to fit between and hold them together, then two prints are cut to fit front and back. A liquid wax-like coating is then brushed on to the print to protect it.

 

New tree

There’s an amazing tree on a lane where I live in Devon. It arches over the road and fills the sky. I wanted to portray it, but not on its own as I usually do, so I’ve put it in its landscape.

I drew straight on to the plate, which is a piece of smooth vinyl flooring, using soft pencils and a little white pen for highlights. The image below is in black and white – the plate is actually blue, as you’ll see if you scroll down.

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I thought I’d cut the tree out as a silhouette, then if the rest of it went wrong, I could perhaps trim the plate and save the tree to print on its own.

I also thought I’d try using some wood engraving tools alongside the usual wood-cutting ones, so I could add texture and some greys on the fields and hedge, so it would work as a black and white print, but I might also add colour somehow at a later stage.

Anyway, the cutting has taken a week – pretty quick for me.

From this:

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To this:

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I wasn’t convinced the fine texture on the fields created with the wood engraving tool, would actually print, as it could hold too much ink and just turn out blobby. The pic above doesn’t show the final version, as I also cut texture into the road and the hedge.

After lots of fiddling and problems, the print looks like this:

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Still more fiddling to do, e.g. on tree and a bit on the hedge and fields, but I’m pleased, as it’s exciting to have some success with the wood engraving tools adding texture and greys.