Archive for March, 2009

Books about Printmaking

Posted in animals, Art, Block Prints, Process, Technique with tags , , , on March 30, 2009 by scratchyb

I’m a sucker for books about printmaking, even though, realistically, I’ve only been practicing a very basic form of hand-pulled relief prints.  So naturally, I have to recommend The Printmaking Bible, by Ann d’Arcy Hughes and Hebe Vernon-Morris.  Yes, it’s got a hefty cover price, but it’s worth taking a look at if you can find it at your local library, or if you have the means to buy.  I love reading about the process of all types of printing, from lithography to intaglio and relief printing, and I love seeing the results.  This gives you both, and from a contemporary fine-art point of view rather than a “look at the pretty curtains I printed” crafty attitude that’s all too common with how-to books and web postings.  Now if only someone would write a book for self-imposed outside artists, I’m golden.  The one problem with flipping through The Printmaking Bible was that I wanted to take printmaking classes that I don’t have time for and buy equipment that I can’t quite afford.

In case anyone’s been keeping track, I’m still only on number four of the mixed animal series.  That’s pretty far short of my original goal, but I’m sure as hell not counting.  I’ve got a few more definite, must-draw beasties, and then I think I’ll call it quits and look for a show to hitch these things to.  I can’t wait to get to my next idea, something more appropriate: 13 devils and 13 demons.

Centipede Print final version

Posted in animals, Art, Block Prints, Process, Technique with tags , , , , on March 27, 2009 by scratchyb

Here’s the final centipede print, including a few little pill-bugs (another block I cut just in time for this project).  The pill bug will probably get its own dedicated print, because I like it so much.  This was the quickest shot I could get, but a better one will be taken soon.


I’m going to be doing a number of things with the centipede blocks, including having the segments printed on separate panels strung together.  Creating seven separate blocks gave me a lot of flexibility for creativity.  It’s giving me some other ideas for future projects.

All images © Eric Battaglia 2009

Centipede Print

Posted in Art, Block Prints, Process, Technique with tags , , on March 21, 2009 by scratchyb

I’ve been working on and off on this seven-block centipede print for the past year.  This is basically what happens with block prints: I get an idea, and it seems really good, but I never really factor in the amount of work that is involved nor the nature of the medium I inevitably choose to work with.  Then I slowly work on cutting a number of linoleum blocks and think about how to create the final print.

In this instance, I discovered that I couldn’t find a long-enough sheet of printing paper, and had to force a few curves into the print, also leaving an annoying empty spot in the center, that tomorrow I’ll be filling in with a couple quick pill-bug prints.  But the process was fun to do.  I don’t have access to a press, and with a project this large it’s probably not practical anyway, so each print is done with seven blocks arranged and printed one by one, in a painstaking process.


The result is better than I feared, but not quite as nice as I’d hoped.  Still, what I like about relief printing is the relative simplicity of it all.  I simply need a material that cuts easily, paper, and water-based ink.  No acids, no major processes necessary, just a baren, or in this case my hands, and lots of ink.  Eventually, I just started standing on the whole thing and using my feet as a press.  It was fun in its way, although my girlfriend may never get used to my habit of swearing loudly and aggressively with every minor mistake.  The final result, for now:


All images © Eric Battaglia 2009