With only a week left in my print class I wanted to squeeze in just ONE more print. Originally I wanted to make a color print to go with my Harrier Hawk image, but after I over burnt the image I wasn’t going to have enough prints. Likewise I did not trust my T and Bar lineup because I was too lazy to cut the edges of my pages so they were flush. I can pretty much guarantee that I won’t be able to get a good line up. So instead I did a super fast speed draw. This time I wanted to focus more on the tusche wash and so I prepared it more methodically. There are two ways to prepare tusche – with water and with solvent. Once a can as designated as a water or solvent tusche it should remain that way (although water can be converted to solvent it cannot be converted back). I only worked with the water tusche. I poured in a few tablespoons of water and got to swirling it in the can. This took a while relatively speaking. After even minute or two I dabbed a bit of the solution onto some newsprint to see how dark it was getting. I wanted a deep rich black to start – I could always dilute it later. Straining the tusche makes it more like India ink – if you use it straight out of the can you get more granulation from little chunks of pigment. Once I felt the wash was sufficiently dark I strained it through some cheese cloth into a container. I strained it again through the cheese cloth into a different container – straining it about three times before calling it done. You can see it is a dark glossy black with no chunks in it. It is ready to use immediately or to store as it can be reconstituted using the same method later. DRAWING: I did a super fast drawing and transferred it to my properly counter etched plate. I began by drawing in the detailed areas with the little stub that remains of my dermatagraph crayon and then I freely painted in with tusche washes. Then I prepared my plate by etching it as usual. One difference is that I didn’t tap on my gum arabic. I got lazy – I just massaged it in. No harm done it didn’t move any marks or damage the image so I didn’t photograph that part. The second etch is where it get’s interesting. I was very gentle in washing out the image, and I tried to be very thorough. Still you can see it’s almost impossible to get all of the tusche wash out. Buffing in asphaltum… And inking up… Yeah okay. So because of my issues with the tusche wash not etching last time I was a bit more heavy handed with this drawing. DANG it came out way too dark, but oh well. I can always print it in gray or possibly a color. I suppose this is one of the pitfalls of plates but I can’t be sure. A lot of mid tones were lost, I wonder if a slightly heavier etch would help – it may be something I try. Here is a shot of the process of ‘stripping’ the gum instead of buffing it. It has a medium-tight pull when you peel off the paper. After letting it cure overnight it was time to print. I set the plate up on press and proceeded to follow the typical steps:
- Stick the plate to the press bed by spraying some water on the laminate and smoothing/scooting the plate around until it ‘sticks’
- Wash out the old ink with mineral sprits, using the moist heat of the breath to loosen any sticky spots.
- Buff in asphaltum or if you are printing in a color – colored ink (asphaltum can add a ‘brownishness’ to the ink which isn’t good if you were printing in say – yellow)
- Wipe the plate with a damp sponge to remove excess ink and asphaltum
- Ink up – this may take 4-5 cycles, or sometimes more.
- Add newsprint for proofing, three sheets of newsprint packing, and a greased sheet of tympan
- Adjust press pressure to hand tight, lift the scraper bar and turn it another half turn.
- Mark the bed with tape if it doesn’t have locking pins so you know how far to let the press travel.
- Print and repeat until you’re ready to switch to good paper.