I started off today thinking I would go out painting.
Then it rained.
Then the sun shone.
Then it rained again.
So, I decided to tidy up my studio.
Now that my studio was (sort of) tidy, I sat down to review the latest linocut design that I started before #DrawingAugust. My printmaking took a back seat throughout August and there’s a risk it could do so again now that #PaintSeptember has started. So, here’s a reminder of what Fox looked like;
I thought I’d familiarise myself with this work in progress and try to get it a little bit further along the design and transfer process. This design is 25 cm x 25 cm so there will be a lot of cutting out to do before I can print. I don’t want to get this wrong and have to make amends or start again. I decided to isolate the fox and have an afternoon of experimenting with him. If I spend time getting him right now before I transfer the design it will make the other stages in the lino-printing process less pressured.
So, here’s what I’ve been playing around with;
Lots of positives about this one but I wasn’t sure about all the small black marks. I decided to take it back to the base outline and slowly cut out.
No 2: Base outline, a good starting point. I’m sure that this isn’t enough detail so decided to start with the head as that’s where the viewers eyes will go first.
No 3: Although the marks are too uniform, this is definitely an improvement. Decision made: face must have random hair marks on it.
No 4: I thought I would experiment with keeping the body black and putting more detail into the tail (or brush). Okay, I don’t think this works, I prefer the tail the way it was originally. I don’t want to draw onto another lino block so I thought I would experiment with larger marks on the back of the fox …..
No 5: I think these marks are too long, so where am I now.
Now I can’t do anymore with this block so I’ll have to start again with another fresh piece of lino. I could go back to the whole design as I think I know where I am going with this now, but I may just have another small practice taking on all the decisions that have been made. So, just to recap I’ve ended up back towards No1, only I won’t have any of the small marks that are down the back legs.
This is a really good exercise to undertake if you’re not sure about something. I’d rather spend time getting this right and not waste hours cutting out the whole design only to get to this part and mess it up! By the way, in order to keep using the same block for proofing, I used water based inks today. They are easy to clean off the lino so the whole process isn’t too disjointed by having to clean oil based inks off the block.
I’d be interested to know your thoughts on the fox, so please let me know what you think.