Follow by Email

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Registration of reduction lino prints Part 3

Promises promises... to write part 3 about registration so quickly.... sorry about that, it's boring to wait, I know!
This really is the tricky part, to talk about numbers of prints, and to talk about numbers of colors.... it is of course totally personal how many colors or prints you want to do, but for the beginners, a couple of tips that can be very handy.
Numbers of Colors: I usually think like this, the more colors I want, the more prints will go wrong, that is missregister... simple math, for every time you put the print through the press, you increase the likelihood of mistakes...... as simple as that... no matter how careful you are.... it happens, and you should not worry about it! When I started reduction printing, I quite confidently assumed that the number of prints I wanted in the edition, was the number of prints I would get... HAH.... so don't feel bad about loosing prints as you go... rather, always add 2 - 5 pieces of paper to your edition number, for those pesky throw aways. I will add to this though, that I always print all the prints right through to the end! Why you ask? Because any number of times I have seen a print right itself from a missed register towards the end as you approach the darker colors!! That's why... so don't give up on it until you come right to the end... and even then... collage opportunities galore, I have fun with "bad" prints.... sometimes it works, sometimes not, that's life as a an artist......
Order of Colors: as a general rule, light to dark...... by adding some white to the colors you can also increase opacity if you need better cover, although great results can be had from underlying colors breaking through. I sometimes throw in a dark color midways..... it can work, it can not.... so let your own attitude to how creative you are feeling guide you....
Number of Prints: Depends entirely on if you have a specific purpose for printing this reduction? Such as you work with 12 galleries and they are all clamoring for your work? In that case, maximise on your edition, of course, a reduction plate is finished once you are done, so there is no going back! If this is not the case, if you are just starting to feel your way down the rather murky alley of reduction printing..... how about 10? I know, it sounds like nothing, but.... if you are just beginning, it's plenty for you to learn from, any less and you really don't get the "benefit" of making all the mistakes, any more, and you are probably going to live with this print for a long time, although Christmas is coming up!! :o)
Practice makes perfect...... so have at it..... I found in the beginning though, that it is actually quite boring, the printing of a reduction..... it takes a long time, depending on number of colors of course, before you start seeing the result... so if your edition is really large, you will get sloppy..... yes, listen to "mummy" - you will! Been there, done that! So in order to keep interest, and interest means that you will concentrate, and not screw up too many prints, keep your edition small until you settle in to printing reductions.
Also... just a very quiet and personal observation, I almost always have a point in a reduction... round color 3, or midways, when I doubt my original vision.... I think it looks like rubbish and am wondering why I carry on..... this feeling always resolves itself..... I promise..... the times I have given in to it.. put a plate/print aside..... because it felt like nothing.... I have always been very happily surprised when I finally went back and finished it...and no, not blowing my own trumpet, but if you don't believe in yourself, who will? So DO! it is allowed!!
The BAD plate:Another personal observation I would very much like tell you about is the bad plate, at every workshop I have done, there is always someone who feels quite unsatisfied with what they have made (this does not sound like good advertising for me as a teacher ehe ;o) and usually this student want to rush on and make a new plate... a "better" plate...... I believe there is no such thing as a bad plate, there is only a plate you have yet to find the way to print..... this sounds like simple wisdom, but it is generally true... if you are being besieged by the bad plate please consider the following points:
* with a piece of paper, start blocking out areas of the plate..... can you cut something away...create more interest....?
* have you used the "wrong" colors? Even reductions can be "corrected" to a certain extent....
by simply over printing with another color.
* could you add a collagraph/collage/stencil element to the plate..... cut out a resist so part of the plate prints white for example?
* turn it upside down.... you laugh...but it can WORK!! I find abstract prints very hard to do, but have created some, simply by turning the plate in a different direction, using stencils to add another color, or block a color out and over printing with a separate plate......
* you have nothing to loose by carrying on, but everything to gain...... to right something can be tremendously gratifying..... you can prove your skills to yourself and by doing that gain confidence as an artist, and ultimately, you can also just learn by mistakes and have as much fun with a piece of rubbish as you can!
These 2 prints in a way, goes to illustrate the points I am making above... I started with "Heads or Tails" (left) as a straight up reduction print, 4 colors, sure, it all went well..... but hmmm..... it just lacks that little bit of umph.... I don't know what..... so.. I cut out the fish and cut another fish head to complement what I had, so now I have loose lino shapes, rolled them up in blue, and added a chine colle element.... all very simple stuff.... but now, I love it, zippy, fun..... yep, happy.. "With the tide".....
So now I will concentrate on doing what it is that is necessary to make "Head or Tails" spin...
something will!
If you have gotten tho this bit, then good for you, this is a bit rambling, please bear with me, and my quite scattered writing style...... and thanks, for reading it! Happy Printing - Mariann


  1. Once again I can empathise with that last bit about the 'bad' print. A couple of years ago I was in the studio doing a bit of a clear out. . I found a couple of plates I made when I first started doing collagraphs which I hadn't thrown out and which I felt the prints were a bit rubbish.

    Anyway, not sure if it was my natural inclination to horde or what it was that drove me but instead of completing the clear out I decided to print the plates again. There had been an interval of a couple of years between the first prints I made and in the interim my skills had improved and I'd picked up a number of tips along the road.

    The prints turned out great. Images I have repeatedly sold since. A very valuable lesson learnt. Now when I start a new plate, if I'm struggling with it I park it back in my drawer to revisit at some later stage when I can come to it fresh. It usually works.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. I read the article through to the end and I appreciated every word of it. I like your practical and sincere viewpoint and very useful tips.

  4. Ahhh, as I am not anonymous, let me put that again!
    Thanks Carol, great comment and really appreciate your input! :o)

  5. Ghislaine, welcome to my blog, and thanks.... for reading it all the way through! :0))