Polyester plate litho, round two

a caravel at sea and a very small house

Yesterday was lo-fi lithography session two (read about out first session here). This time we came at it with drawings more suited to the medium– fewer tonal areas to get blocked up by  ink. I’d read that thinning this type of ink is generally necessary to bring out fine detail when using polyester plates, but had none of the suggested thinning varnish to hand. We  attempted thinning using a few drops of linseed oil instead, to poor results. The linseed oil made it far to easy for the ink to stick to the white parts of the plate, so I’ll have to order some varnish. With simpler images, however, the ink straight from the can worked well, though. Above are two of the images I worked with, each measuring about 2.125″ square. (The caravel drawing is new, inspired by the way the waves in the Viking Funeral came out; the tiny house was in an old sketchbook.)

One problem I ran into with my caravel plate– the original image had pale grey stripes on the sails, and after a few prints they gradually wore away. I don’t know if it was because I had to clean it several times, and the abrasive in the toothpaste made it come off, or if it simply needed more heat-setting, but by the 5th printing, the stripes (as you can see above) were completely gone, and the thin lines were getting thinner.

In July I’m looking forward to experimenting with another printmaking method, the more traditional dry point technique (although I will be doing my initial designs on plexiglass, not on copper plates). Minu has links to her fantastic how-to videos regarding this method here, if you’re interested or curious.

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