Last year, I signed up for a printmaking course at the local community college. It was cancelled due to low enrollment and I vowed to explore the topic on my own (pokey) time. Fast forward to a year later… I gradually began buying supplies when I found them on sale and then my sister gave me a book and a few more tools for Christmas. So, today I whipped out my trusty Sharpie marker and started sketching all sorts of summery/floral designs. I transferred my drawing and cut my first design. The photos above are what resulted — not the clearest prints (also not the greatest inks), but not bad for a first try.
Should you feel inspired to try block printing, YouTube is a great resource! These are the items you would need to get started:
- brayer (small roller)
- baren (or something else to apply pressure with, even a spoon or mug could potentially work)
- ink (block printing ink – I used Dick Blick inks but there are many other brands, for those on a budget perhaps even liquid acrylics or a stamp pad)
- thick paper (cardstock or a brown grocery bag)
- carving surface (I used Speedball Speedy-Carve, but there are other options)
- lino cutter (this multi-tip tool is handy, also by Speedball)
- smooth surface to roll your ink (a piece of plexiglass, a plastic tray, etc.)
First, you’ll need to freehand or transfer your design/artwork onto your carving surface. A hint for transferring: flip your drawing/artwork over (you should be able to see your design through the paper), scribble over the back of the design using a pencil. Flip your paper back over (design/artwork side up), and set it over your carving surface. Now, trace your work with a stylus or draw on top of it with a pencil, and as you press down, the pencil scribblings from the back side will allow the image to transfer onto the carving surface.
I won’t go into the details of carving and printing, as it is much easier to do an internet search and watch a video of this (this one is fairly helpful: http://youtu.be/WNsTQpVlmw4
One last little fun tip: in addition to carving artwork, you can also make prints from natural items (nature printing) such as leaves and feathers. A little tricky when starting, but fun once you get the hang of it!
I’m looking for ideas for my next print – any suggestions?