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Facts, Hercule, facts!


I spent this grey, windy Chicago Saturday working on the Christine Jorgensen print. My first step today was to tape the drawing to the linoleum block with graphite paper underneath. The image is just smaller than the block at 11" x 15", so I chose the best corner of the block and lined up the paper's corner against those two edges before taping. I will trim off the excess borders on the table saw at the studio before printing, to save myself the effort of extra carving.

Side note: one thing that I learned the hard way about printing linoleum blocks on a vandercook is that mounted linoleum blocks that you can buy at art stores or online are often not cut perfectly square, which can be a nightmare to print if registration is important. (Registration in printmaking refers to the amount of variance and accuracy in the overlapping of different colors in a single print.) An irregular block might look and feel like it is properly locked in to the bed of the press, but every time the rollers pass the block has a tendency to travel quite significantly. The first pass of my first multi-color linoleum print travelled wildly--more than half an inch--and I didn't notice until more than halfway through the run. Disaster! Although this is a one-color print, squaring the image is still good practice.

Now, tracing. Again. This is the 2nd time the image has been traced, after the mirror-flip trace on the light box.

Finally, the fun: carving! After honing my tools to be sure they are sharp, I started carving. This is a detailed print, so carving takes quite a while. It is an engaging process, but let's be honest: sitting down to carve for 5 or 6 hours at a time can make a girl's mind wander towards less hand-aching tasks. I get the least distracted when I carve by listening to movies or the radio; this was a Shot in the Dark/My Blue Heaven/His Girl Friday-length carve.

This might not look like much for 5ish hours of work, but I am quite pleased with it so far.

Back to the block!

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Reader Comments (2)

wow marnie! i never realized quite how long that takes. i'm really enjoying the step by step updates.

November 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertj

Joe, it's the best way to pass an afternoon! The carving process doesn't always take this long, but I had a lot of little decisions to make along the way for this first step, like texture for face vs hair vs clothes since I've only got one color to work with. From now forward, it should be a little easier to dive right into carving.

I'm also going to try to document each step for the book project I'm working on, once it gets a little more out of my head: should be fun!

November 21, 2010 | Registered CommenterMarnie

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