I decided to include some things Not To Do when making a print block and also some little extra tips I’ve learned along the way. If you make mistakes and not learn from them, then you’ve never learned at all!
If you have an image that has a definite left and right side it is necessary to transfer your image in reverse. Think of letters or words. They will come out backwards if your print block isn’t reversed.
An easy way to transfer reverse images is to use tracing paper. I outline my image with pencil then flip the traced image onto the printing block and trace over the image again. The image will easily be transferred and you can peek as you go along.
Another tip I remembered is to use a single edge razor blade to cut the block with. It cuts smoothly and very easily. You should also use a T- square ruler to make sure your sides are even. I hold it firmly in place as I am cutting my piece.
Safety is the number one tip to remember when carving your printing block. ALWAYS cut AWAY from your fingers not towards them. See how I have my fingers in a safe place in the second photo? Don’t mind the un-manicured fingernails. No time for a manicure if you’re busy making art, right!
I know I mentioned decorative papers in the past post (that sounds funny!). There are many papers available and you can even make your own. Here are just a few that you can pick up at the art or craft store. I found mine in the scrapbook-making section.
You can also use newspaper, maps, and sheet music which give wonderful results. It’s best to use black or dark colored inks on patterned papers though otherwise your print will get lost. EXPERIMENT!
To make your own decorative papers, you can load two colors onto your brayer. Spread the ink onto card stock or other good paper by rolling it back and forth until you get color all over. Allow to dry before you print on top of it.
Another way to make some interesting papers to print on is to take a scrap piece of cardboard and cut some ‘teeth’ into it as shown. Put a little glob of ink on your paper and spread it around with the cardboard. You can also use a bunched up paper towel and blot your colors onto the paper. Even finger tips work well!
Kitty was lounging while I was working! He’s cute, isn’t he?
Here are all the different prints on all the papers I tried. Notice I didn’t use the one in the top photo. Ick! That one didn’t come out so good!
Shown all together, they look like a finished piece. You can add a border if you like (see left side) or leave it plain. It’s all up to what you like!
I will tell you how to finish this piece in the next post. You’ll also see how I print all over a large piece of good watercolor paper for a completely different look. Until then…….. 🙂
Oh and also…..stay dry! It’s been raining for days. Enough all ready!