Printing Backgrounds with Acrylic Ink

I have finished working at the school and am now working with the hospital team again. No rest for the wicked.  I thought I might have a few days off for half-term, but no.  I did have a lean few months before Christmas, so the life of a temp is to work when you can and is why I can take a few weeks off in the summer in the off-season.  I managed to find time over the weekend to make a few pretty things, even though I didn’t know what to do with myself.  Here is something I may actually put in an art journal.

I got out my 6×6 inch gel plate and the stamp platform.  I received a new stencil in the post, hearts.  This isn’t usually my thing, but it was cheap and I thought I might find a use for it.  I have a lot of Acrylic Artist’s Ink and thought I would try it on the gel plate to see what would happen.  I started with yellow.  The ink beads up on the plate and you get a lot of white spots.  I tried the cyan and the same thing happened.  However, because the ink is translucent, there was optical blending on the print and I still managed to get white spots.  See above left.  The effect is like putting salt on damp watercolor.  Registering the print with the stamp platform is so easy now and I don’t have to worry about the pulls not lining up.  As the ink is translucent an wet, there is virtually no paint left on the plate to worry about and wipe off.  I added process magenta onto the plate and placed the heart stencil on and pulled the print on the left.  The stencil is smaller than the gel plate which gave me a nice border.  I pulled the stencil off the plate and managed to pull a ghost print on the right.  The ink does funny things on the gel plate, but I like it.

I pulled some more prints onto drawing paper using yellow, blue, and a green.  I really like this watery effect and thought I would use these as backgrounds to collagraphs.  I have something fishy in mind.  I also found some cartridge paper I had pre-cut and made some more as I was in a zone and wanted a better quality of paper for the collagraphs.

It is amazing how each one came out differently.  I decided I had enough of using green, blue and yellow and wanted to use the primary colors to see how that would work.

The prints turned out differently depending on what color I put down first.  As these colors are translucent, they should optically blend on the paper.  If you were to mix these colors together, you would get brown.  However, that didn’t happen here and I got some lovely clean mixes.

I had a couple of prints that didn’t turn out so great.  One was a pick up print.  I got my trusty seagull stencil and placed it on my print and used indigo blue on the gel plate.  I may still get out some colored pencils or paint to tidy them up a bit, but I learned a while ago that if a print doesn’t come out well or if it is too busy, then only keep part of it with a stencil.  I like these better now.

Not only do I have some nice backgrounds to print on, I also have a library of backgrounds that I can print off in the future for any collage work I may want to do.  Win-win.  Thanks for stopping by!




The Dew Pond – Monoprints

CollagraphsHere are the before and afters of The Dew Pond collagraph that I printed with Hawthorn ink.  The original printing process did not go according to plan and I am not sure that this is a very successful collagraph to print from, however I am persistent and have not totally given up on it.  I decided to embellish my prints with water soluble pencils.  The print on the lower left was embellished with Derwent Inktense pencils and the one on the right with Derwent Graphitint pencils and a little Inktense.   Although the prints look better, they will not go into an edition, although I may label them APs and frame them for myself as I am emotionally attached to them being my first print babies.  I feel I still have a lot to learn  with working with the water soluble pencils and won’t try these again until I am more confident with using them.  These were the first prints I made on the Xcut Xpress and I have learned a lot about ink and paper since then (only a few weeks ago!).

I made a few adjustments to the collagraph plate by adding carborundum to the cattail heads and added extra linseed oil to the ink to make it easier to wipe.  I also purchased some inexpensive stencil brushes to use for painting the ink onto the plate.  It was a bit hit and miss, but as I wasn’t expecting much, I managed to  get some reasonable prints for embellishment later.

Collagraphs-001I used the Caligo Safe Wash inks in Burnt Umber, Yellow Ochre, Black and Burnt Sienna (all the colors I currently have).  I was able to take a second print from the Black and Yellow Ochre.  I used an acid free, mixed media paper in white (A4).  It actually takes water quite well, so I am looking forward to adding a little something extra to these above with some watercolor and creating a small EV (Edition Variable).

As I was scanning and looking at my prints, I had an idea to make a further adjustment to the collagraph plate, and if it works out I may have another small, but different, EV to show you.

A Collagraph Revisited

IMG_3839This is a collagraph that I had made for my printing class.  There were some things I could have done better and which I eventually did when I made another, smaller one.  The prints I made with it at home didn’t turn out very well as I tried to print it by hand.  When I took it to class and ran it through the press, we got these.

Surprisingly, there was still a fair amount of ink left on the plate.  The ink above is water based Ocaldo relief ink.  After playing with the Xcut and my new version of this collagraph, I thought I would have another go with this again.

I used damp paper on a higher setting than I previously used.  You can see the result in the upper left, which is the first print I pulled.  I mainly printed with dry paper and got better results and then as the more I printed, the more the color from the very first print run started to show through.  I used damp paper to pick up the last print on the bottom.  Here is what my plate looks like now.


The string is a little bit more flattened out as it has been through the press a few times.  The first time I used this plate, the ink was rolled out onto the collagraph.  This time I used a bristle stencil brush to push the ink into the spaces.  Since making this, I have learned that when using relief ink on a collagraph, it is better to use dry paper.  I have been doing both and it might be a good idea to start with dry paper so it doesn’t pick up too much ink and then use damp paper towards the end.  For me, it is all about experimenting at the moment until I can work out the best way forward.  The thing about collagraphs like these, you are never going to get a print to work out all the same as the collagraph changes each time it goes through the press, along with how the ink is applied.  Therefore, this will end up being a varied edition.  Once all of the prints have dried, I will have a chance to embellish them if I want to.  I may even print some off in dark colors only.  The possibilities are endless!