Monday, August 3, 2015

Reduction Prints

I joined a Carving Consortium swap that focused on multi-color prints using either multiple blocks or a reduction printing process.  I've never done a reduction print before, so I decided to try that technique.  I drew out my design first-- a modern Kwan Yin (bodhisattva of compassion) listening to the suffering of the earth.  Took me awhile to get the design worked out to the proper size (and then as you'll see, I was still off).  Then I colored the design to give me a template to work with.

Then I procrastinated forever because I was really scared of this process.  Finally I started with the first color which was Kwan Yin's skin color.  I cut away anything that I wanted to be white (the dharma wheel design and the white's of her eyes) and printed.  Didn't look like much:

But I printed something on the order of 70 of these because you have to start off with as many as you'll want plus room for goofs.  Then I had to cut away anything that I wanted to stay skin colored before I printed the next color. This took me a while to wrap my brain around-- cutting away what you wanted to stay.  Finally started sinking in at the end, but there were a couple near goofs and outright oopses.

In all, I ended up doing 7 colors for this series.  I learned several things.  One, if you're working with stamp pads as I was, you will need re-inkers or multiple wet pads.  My pads started dying out after just a few prints.  Unfortunately that meant that my best, most vibrant colored prints were my test prints.  Finally wised up to this and started re-inking or using similar colored pads, but the prints I was hoping to give away or sell are pretty faint.

Two, even with the jig I set up to register the prints, things still got messed up.  Thank goodness I did make so many extras.

Three, make sure to test how inks will interact before hand.  This I did do and was grateful.

Four, if the inks don't interact well, it's okay to mask part of the stamp when doing a layer of color. I did this for a few different colors (mostly for the globe).  I wish I'd been a bit more precise with this however, as it did effect the later design a bit.

Five, be flexible.  I had originally thought for example, that everything would have a black outline.  Then I decided that was too much so just used black for Kwan Yin.

Six, don't be attached.  You will not end up with a usable stamp at the end!