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Printing Process: Part 1

For the first print in Monkey-Rope Press's ongoing collaboration with writeyourprincipal.com, we are creating a portrait of Christine Jorgensen, the first widely publicized person to have sex reassignment surgery (1952). She was an actress, a singer, a photographer, and a vocal advocate for trans rights, speaking with wit and candor about her experiences to university campuses and other venues across the country.

Inspired by Angel Zammaripa's bold portraits of revolutionaries, we decided to create two prints for each portrait: the first a single-color linoleum block portrait, and the second purely typographic, serving to (briefly) narrate the history of the icon.

After determining the final size of the prints, the first step was to draw a loose sketch of what the print would look like:

Since the image has to be reversed for printing, I traced the image on the back of the drawing on a light box with a brush pen:

Rather than shading, I fill in the gradation with directional contours. The final print will not directly follow the lines marked in the drawing above, but it will serve to guide my carving.

The majority of the decisions about light/dark balance will be made in the carving process. With the rough contour drawing complete, the next step is to tape the drawing to the linoleum block with a piece of graphite paper below and re-trace the drawing, transferring the image to the block.

Next: carving!

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