Magnolia Blossoms – Block Print

Magnolia Blossoms

Magnolia Blossoms

This is my second attempt at block printing. I carved a soft rubber plate (3.75×5.25 inches, 9.5×13 cm) mostly using the smallest V shaped Speedball cutter and an xacto knife.

Magnolia Plate

Magnolia Plate

I created the image on my iPad from a reference photo that I took in my backyard. I used the ToonPaint app to alter the photo to a high contrast image and I used the Sketch Club app to clean it up and alter the composition a bit. I then streamed the image to my 3M projector and flipped the image horizontally in the projector and projected the image onto the rubber plate. I traced the projected image with a fine tip Sharpie pen.

I used a Speedball soft rubber brayer to spread out the water soluble ink on a sheet of glass. I taped the plate down to keep it from moving around. Here what my setup looked like.

Magnolia Plate Setup

Magnolia Plate Setup

I did a small series on inkjet paper.

Magnolia Blossoms First Edition

Magnolia Blossoms First Edition

I learned a lot from this project. It takes a long time to carve. I learned that I don’t have to cut out the white spaces quite so deep. Even shallow cuts print well. I also learned how to ink the plate and how to hand rub the plate to transfer the ink to the paper. I found I got better blacks if I inked the plate in two passes instead of one and the ink transferred better if I first rubbed with a baren and then a metal spoon. It is pretty easy to cut thin white lines, but it is hard to cut away and leave thin black lines. Also, the later prints printed wider black lines. I don’t know if I was pushing down harder or rubbed longer or if the ink built up on the plate or all three.

Next I want to try other plate materials to see if they are easier and faster to cut. So much to learn. So much fun.

Jim

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