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Art Journal Time - One Block Print Many Ways (Part One)

Saturday, August 10, 2019

My art journal is for experimenting and having fun, not for creating 'perfect' works of art.  In my art journal I have the freedom to play with different materials, try out and practice new techniques, and make many mistakes.  Some of my mistakes have turned into my best ideas! I use a mixture of cheap and expensive materials, and whatever I have on hand.
Sometimes I take an image that appeals to me, and I repeat it many times in different ways, to see which looks the best.  A great technique which lends itself perfectly to this is printmaking, because you can make a print of one image over and over again.  Then you can go crazy and have fun adding colour and details to your heart's content.  The image above is an example from my art journal, with the same portait used many times.

Today I am going to take you through the process I used to create the first example, which you can see below.  I will post the other pages soon, as well as some more detailed information about block printing, so if you are interested, make sure you subscribe to my newsletter so I can tell you when I post them.

 
Example One

In the art journal page above (Example One), I used quite a few different techniques to achieve this effect, aways experimenting and playing with each step.  I completed this page over a period of a few weeks, going back to it every now and again and adding new layers as the inspiration took me. 

  1. This journal page began with a drawing in black pen, on a seperate piece of paper, which I then cut out very carefully with a craft knife (This design then became the idea for a future block print).   I left some white paper sections without cutting them out, so that I could use them to create some nice highlights, giving the impression that light is shining on sections of the face. I also didn't cut out the insides of the leaves, so that I could draw details on them later. You can also see some lines of white papre in the flowing hair, which I deliberately left in.

  2. Before adding the portrait to the journal page, I used a paintbrush to apply watercolour paint to the page in two main colours, and applied it quite liberally with lots of water, holding up the art journal and letting the paint dribble around the page randomly. 

  3. After this was dry, I applied black printmaking ink to a smaller hand carved rubber stamp I already had in my collection, which I thought suited the flowing lines of the hair in the portrait.  I repeated this pattern on both sides of the page in two columns, to create a sort of border.  I quite like the effect of this border, as it gives the look of carved wood.

  4. Next, I carefully applied clear glue to the cut-out portrait, and stuck it down on the page, so that some of the painted background showed through.  Little tip here: To avoid getting sticky fingers, and glue all over the page ( which will interfere with any other media I want to apply later, such as colour pencil) I placed a clean sheet of printer paper over the portrait, and pressed down firmly to make sure it was properly stuck.

  5. After the glue had dried properly, I attacked the page with coloured pencils! I used colours similar to the ones I had chosen for the watercolour, adding in some darker and lighter shades, and just having fun adding some interesting texture.  You can see, too, I added colour to the printed border on the left, and kept the right border plain, so you can see the difference.  I also added some details to the leaves using thin black pen.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Miraculous Mosquito Everyday (@miraculous.mosquito.everyday) on

Above is my Instagram post showing the original drawing.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Miraculous Mosquito Everyday (@miraculous.mosquito.everyday) on

Above is an Instagram post showing a quick video of the pencil colouring stage.

For the other two examples you can partially see in the first picture (I will be talking about these in future blog posts), I took the image I had originally drawn, and used it as the basis of a block print, which I printed on random pages in my journal, and then waited for a day when I was feeling ispired to add some different colours and techniques.  The printmaking technique of block printing can be made a few different ways.  The most traditional one is carving into a wooden block and making something that turns out looking like a big stamp.  You carve out the areas that you don't want to show up.  The areas left behind, which will of course be raised, can then have paint applied with a tool, usually a printing roller (brayer) made of very hard rubber, which has been dipped in special thick and gooey printing ink. This gives you quite a clean crisp look to shapes and lines.  Some people like to just dab on some paint, and this can also give an interesting effect, more of an experimental, messy look.  To achieve a similar look to a wood block print, you can use lino, which is easier to carve, or you can do as I do, and use big sheets of thick rubber...so much easier! You can use traditional lino cutting tools, and a craft knife is also very effective  if you know how to use it.  I use the same carving technique I use for my smaller stamps, which I sell in my shop.  
I will be posting more detailed information on how I like to block print soon, so stay tuned.

I hope this has inspired you to go have some fun in your art journal!  I would love to hear your questions or comments if you have any, please respond in the comments below.

Happy Art Journalling!

Regards

 

 

 

Comments

Different Approach

I think, because of your suggestion of practise and discover I am going to think of my Art Journal in a whole new light... NOT PERFECTION BUT EXPERIMENTATION. I think this will give me permission to just play, have fun and let go. No mistakes just learning opportunities. You have changed my thought process which is a good thing. Thank you.

Thanks for your lovely

Thanks for your lovely comment! I'm glad my post inspired you to be more experimental in your art journal. I am also learning to push the boundaries as much as possible in my art, every day.

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