Monday, 27 September 2010

A small drawing for a future print

This is a little drawing for a future print. Its roughly 16x16cm, and will be 30x30cm as the print. I wanted to understand the scene, and by drawing it roughed out how the print would look.
The drawing and the original photo are side by side, to give you an idea of the tranformation in my head.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Mrs Fix-it on Friday.

Recently, I have been experiencing trouble with my prints, ie the darkness is way too light. After hours of study from various books, websites and friends, and sleepless nights there was just one thing for it; do some tests. It would seem, that either the plate hasn't been in the rosin box* and/or the metal is milled densely, therefor the acid needs more time to bite into it. ugh. 
We all stood round the plates, comparing a good plate to a weak one, our fingers stroking the rosined (aquatinted) areas. We looked like a Glen Baxter cartoon. After much chin stroking we deduced (like Sherlock) that a good strong aquatint tone feels like sandpaper on the plate, and so I had to bite the plate for much longer.

*big monster box with powdered pine sap whirling round and settling on plate like snow to make a resist against the acid, so making tiny dots of resist which helps the ink stick to and so making a lovely dark tone. 
This one, 'Tabletop' (300x134mm), is from a drawing of the table in my flat, where breakfast, the computer, letters and a Xmas tree have to share the space. Not a lot of room. The first version of the print was very pale, the start of trouble with acid bite times. so, instead of re-applying the aquatint, I decided to do close hatching and redrawing with a compass point on soft ground, then put in the nitric acid for about 8mins. it worked and so everything is good again.

The print above is called 'Gnarly Trees I' (265x440mm) , and was put in acid for a second time. This time I re-applied the aquatint and put in the acid for 16mins. Mammoth time I know, but this metal seems to be quite dense.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

The Old-school Drawing Test

This is quite an old drawing, from 2008, done to test my skills in drawing. You know, you've been doing graphics for a bit, and oops, have I got rusty? Well, thankfully not, I summoned up all my self-control and paid attention to the pile of shoes in the middle of the floor.
I have a feeling its going to be a print...

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Dark drawing for gnarly trees

I was working on this last night, while listening to the XX... It was started last week as a study for the latest print, as a way for ideas to come and to understand the subject matter. It is 19.5x38cm.
It puts me in mind of the Moomin illustrations and a bit of Mervyn Peake drawings.

Friday, 10 September 2010

"House of the Trembling Madness" bistro

This is a lovely medieval building in York, which has such an atmosphere of eccentricity and history. Everything is at an odd angle through movement over 600 years, and the little windows to the right give a great view towards the Minster.
The drawing was done there, which I prefer now because you get a stronger sense of place. Then I watercoloured it and finally gave it some extra definition with Neocolour I crayons.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Candy Cakes, London

Another slightly chaotic drawing, which was done at the Cafe Candy Cakes, Monmouth Street in Covent  Garden. Then took it home to add watercolour, then jazzed it up today with Neocolour I crayons. The drawing is 50x20cm on Khadi paper. It may become an etching in the next month, there's a giant piece of zinc about to be cut up for etchings.

Seven Dials/Covent Garden is my favourite part of London, and a link below shows you what you can find there:

Gnarly Trees

Good morning, and here's the latest print, a study of gnarly trees inside a huge hedge. The hedge (in Levens Hall Gardens, Cumbria) is 30ft tall and supported by thick stakes. It is very spooky in there, very reminiscent of Grimms fairy tales, which I wanted to show in the style. After working in publishing the print has a subconscious 'storybook' quality, and also employing my usual bold dark lines. The plate took a day to make, and is 45x27cm, my largest so far. After making small prints I really wanted to stretch out and make something with a lot of instant impact. 
The print may have darker tones added next week just to give it extra punch.