Fox – My latest Linocut

It’s been a really busy week in the Stevens’ household so I haven’t got much more done on Mr Fox.  I’ll hopefully spend the afternoon doing more cutting out for colour number three, but I thought I’d take stock and share with you the journey so far.

The last post for Fox was on 23rd September and if you click here you’ll see where I left off. but a lot of work has being going on since then, I promise!

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A reminder of the original design

So, where am I now.  Well, This is quite a large print for me at 25.5cm x 25.5 cm but I have to say it’s going well so far.  (I may live to regret that statement!). The advantage of going large is that you can get a lot of detail in the picture, small size lino blocks make this tricky.  There’s also a lot of cutting out with larger blocks so that makes it time consuming.  The first thing to do is cut out everything that you want to remain the same colour as the paper, like so.

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I thought I would use a golden yellow as the first colour, however, when I mixed my red and yellow together I found a nice light orange that I quite liked, so decided to use this instead.  Now with a large block you need to make sure you have plenty of ink mixed – you don’t want to run out mid print run.  I’ve used Intaglio Etching Ink from Intaglio Printmaker These are Artist quality, finely ground single pigment inks which are lightfast and have a high colour strength.  I’ve used these inks a lot and really like them although they are supposed to be used for etching, aquatint, engraving, and drypoint rather than relief printing.  I’ve also used extender to bulk up the quantity of the ink, this also has the effect of increasing the transparency of the ink to make it more ‘see-through’ and therefore less intense.

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first colour inked rolled on.

You’ll see a pencil line around the print in the photo above.  That’s the registration lines for the paper.  As this will be a multiple colour print, I’ve got to make sure the printing is in the same place every time.  Otherwise the print will be ruined.  Each piece of printing paper has marks on it too that correspond with the two marks halfway along each line.  That’s my register.

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colour number one – light orange

I had a pressure issue which you can see on the first colour print.  It should be the same coverage all over the printed area but the bottom of the prints were coming out less intense than the top.  It hasn’t affected the second colour but I had to reset the rollers on the printing press.  Some goblins have been playing with the knobs that set the roller level and it wasn’t level any more!  With my first colour down, I now need to decide the areas that I want to leave light orange and cut those out of the lino.  I wanted this colour for the leaves on the trees.  You’ll see on the second colour print below where I cut out the lino to leave the light orange.

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colour number two

The second colour compliments the first by using the same colours for the mix – Vermillion and Lemon Yellow.  To make it slightly darker I’ve added ultramarine as blue is a complimentary colour of orange and can be used to darken without ruining the brightness of the colour.  Black wouldn’t give as good an effect.

I’ve 26 prints drying on the rack and I’ve now got to decide what I want to remain dark orange.  It’s looking a good colour for the fox itself but I need to work out how that fits with the experiments I’ve done previously to design the fox himself.  Remember this blog post?  Well, I’m still mulling it over.

I’d rather spend the time thinking rather than diving in and cutting away.  I’ve invested a lot of thought and time into my picture and wouldn’t want to throw it away with rash judgement.  There’s no deadline I need to hit, so as in my picture, my fox is slowly navigating the woods on her way home, so I am slowly navigating my thoughts to make this a great picture.

Hope you enjoyed reading this journey!

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