Thursday, 7 January 2016

Printmaking Adventures

During Christmas time I have received a really cool gift: a kit to try out relief printmaking. I have been wanting to try this style in a very long time.

Essdee Kit Review

My kit is from Essdee and it has all the basic items necessary for you to start printing (see the image below):

Since then, I have bought a few more linoleum blocks (the grey ones are normal, but the whites are the soft cut linoleum blocks). The set comes with a handy barren that opens up to hold the linoleum cutters, it's easy to mount and easy to pack up. 

The only down side I found in this kit was that the cutter feels a little bit too small for me.

Here is a close view on the variety of cutters that comes in the set, you get a really decent range of cutters.

Test Prints

Since this was my first attempt with these materials I went for a simple design (maybe it could have been simpler!). So I decided some prints with the stamps that come in the set:

Then I went for the larger blocks and here some images of my first prints:

And in celebration of the new Star Wars movie, I made a print of Rey and BB-8 silhouettes, walking in the desert: 

These prints were all done with "normal" linoleum blocks (the grey ones, shown in the first image), and the final one was done using the soft-cut linoleum block that came in the set:

Some conclusions regarding this set and my first experience with printmaking in general:

- As I mentioned one of the problems in the set is that the cutter is a little to small, it still does the job off course, but a bigger handler would be nicer;
- The ink that comes in the set is water soluble, so if want to use mixed media techniques (like applying watercolor in the print)  you need to buy a water resistant ink.

- The soft-cut linoleum definitely seemed to give better results while printmaking than the "normal" linoleum, I think some of the reasons might be that the "normal" linoleum comes with a slight upward curvature (which makes it difficult to spreed the ink equally on the block) other reason might simply the material (the soft-cut doesn't seem to absorb so much ink as the "normal" linoleum); 
- It's sometimes not easy to find the ideal quantity of ink to apply to the block, if it's to little the impression will have white areas, if it's too much the ink may damage the paper or accumulate in certain areas of the print. So it's important to make a few tests, before the final prints;
- The paper you use for printing is extremely important: if the paper is very thick you will have trouble in pressing it enough to pass the ink, if the paper is too thin you might damage it while pressing it. So take some time to search for the best paper you can afford to print.

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