March 1, 2010

Linoleum Block Prints

I really like printmaking as a medium/technique/whatever. I have a lot of fun with the process, and find the end result very rewarding--especially because I do so much digital work, it's nice sometimes to end up with a finished piece you can hold in your hands, where the physical object is the original. Because I love it, and in spite of its time-consuming nature, I'm taking a class this semester called The Illustrative Print. As you can no doubt guess, it's a printmaking class with a narrative focus. So, here's some work from the class so far! On the left is my second piece for this class, which is titled "It Wasn't A Good Thing." My subject for the semester is Neil Gaiman's collection of short stories. This one is from "Closing Time," which is a very interesting sort of ghost story. It's a total of about 30 inches tall, hence the photograph instead of a scan, and I mixed that particular shade of red ink myself. Below is the first piece for the class, which was based on a limerick about a man with a beard and birds nest in it. Less compelling story, but I do like the piece.
And this is just something I thought people might be interested in, since those who don't do linocut often ask about the process. This is my current piece in progress--or rather, the sketch for it. When I work in lino, I like to do a super rough sketch on paper, then scan it in and go over it in photoshop to give me stark blacks and whites for a better idea of how the finished print will look. This one will be a two-layer print; the hand, in black, will be on one block, and the paw, in red, will be on another. Then I'll print both blocks, in their different colors, on a single sheet of paper for this layered effect. There's going to be a lot more texture, due to the cutting, but this is the actual image that I transfer onto the block and cut around. The source for this piece is a short story called "The White Road," which you should read. It's in Smoke and Mirrors, the earlier of Gaiman's two short story collections. I might upload a photo of the blocks while I'm still cutting them if people are interested.

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