Chapter 7 – Simple Printing

Creative Sketchbooks, Module 1
Chapter 7: Simple Printing

Activity 7.1:
 Make a print using a piece of fruit or a vegetable.
Activity 7.2: Make repeat prints using a potato to make the printing block.).
Activity 7.3: Make repeat patterns using a card printing block (stamp).
Reflections: What can I say? I loved, loved, loved working on this chapter – I just adored print making, and the way you can use quite ordinary, everyday items to create patterns, images, pictures… And you get the most extraordinary effects if you keep overprinting, creating layer upon layer in different colours. And there’s an element of unpredictability, which I rather like.
As for making my own stamps, I would never have thought of doing that in a million years, but it was so simple, and so brilliant – initially I used card, stuck on mountboard, but found thin sheets of crafting foam easier to work with. They’re fairly easy to clean, and once they’re stuck on mountboard they’re surprisingly robust – they stiffen up after you’ve used them for the first time, and are better if you use them once, then give them a coat of varnish or glue.
I used acrylic paint mainly, but tried inks and fabric paint as well, and I did some printing directly into the sketchbook, and some on the decorated papers from Chapter 4 – and I’ve got a stash of printed papers that aren’t in the sketchbook that I’ll hopefully be able to use for something else!
I hope you don’t mind, but I was enjoying myself so much that after completing 7.1, 7.2 and 7.3 I branched out and ended up experimenting with odds and ends from the house and garden, with varying degrees of success. Then I got even more sidetracked and tried monoprinting, which was FANTASTIC. To start with, I made a plate with gelatine, but it’s not a very stable medium (although it does give some lovely textured-looking effects), and it smells a tad peculiar. So I bought some acetate sheets and played around with those, building up layers, and underpainting, and overpainting, so I’ve included some of those in the sketchbook.
I could have been a bit more organised in my approach – the prints are a bit all over the place, and some are the finished thing, and I was pleased with them, while others are things that didn’t go as planned, or things that I could go back and do more work on, and some I was just messing around. But they give an overview of what I’ve been doing. Most of the prints have brief notes scribbled on them, but they’re not very legible, so I’ve numbered them all and included a key (at the end) because I hopped about from thing to thing, they’re not in the sketchbook in any sensible order. So here are the pages. 

 Key To Prints:
1.      Cauliflower in green acrylic on orange painted paper from Ch 4.
2.    lengthways carrot & large courgette circles, in acrylic on decorated paper
3.    Apples cut the other way to usual, showing seeds as a hidden star.
4.    Messed up apples – surface not even, paint too sticky!
5.    Half an apple overprinted in different colours. Love this!
6.    Potato prints overprinted in different colours. Love this too.
7.    Apples and cut-up apples from home-made card stamp.
8.    Apples and cut-up apples from home-made card stamp.
9.    Apples and cut-up apples from home-made foam stamp
10. Apples and cut-up apples from home-made foam stamp.
11.  Large star made from potato print triangles.
12. Small stars made from potato print triangles.
13. More potato prints from the triangle!
14. Potato prints on plain paper (same as 6). They were random cuts, that weren’t meant to be anything, but lots of them printed together look like little monks or nuns marching along in a procession.
15. Monoprint. Blue ink wash, overlaid with blue acrylic print, then rubbed with metallic wax crayon, and a pale purple ink wash applied. This needs ds more purple I think. Or another colour. But I like the effect.
16. Purple ink wash overlaid with monoprint using white acrylic and stamp.
17. Two samples of fabric, printed with selection of screw and nail heads, washers, buttons, a small cork etc, using fabric paints and a silver stamp pad. I was really pleased with these.
18. Two monoprints. Top one was blue ink wash directly into sketchbook, then monoprint made with blue acrylic and textured wallpaper. Then when it was dry I scribbled over it with a metallic wax crayon, and applied a wash of purple ink. Bottom one was a monoprint using same wallpaper, in white acrylic, on white deli paper (stuck over a print which went wrong), and second monoprint, in pink acrylic, using washers, screws etc . Bit fiddly as the paint dries very quickly..
19. Messy leaves. Honesty seed pods which look far less effective than the real thing. The top bit of poppy seed heads, which look almost mechanical, like little gears or something. They’re worth persevering with
20.Cauliflower monoprint – green acrylic brushed on acetate sheet, then bits of cauliflower pressed in. Very simple, but quite effective. Am toying with idea of adding an ink wash…
21. Photo of my home-made stamps – the two at the top were made from thin crafting foam, the two at the bottom from thick card.

About chrisharding53

I'm a former journalist and sub-editor who loves needlework, reading and writing, and is still searching for the Meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything. Until I find the answer I'm volunteering at an Oxfam Book Shop and learning about Creative Sketchbooks!

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