Archive for April, 2009

Why Block Prints?

Posted in Art, Block Prints, Process, Technique with tags , , , , on April 29, 2009 by scratchyb

I was buying some envelopes for the afore-mentioned  Soar card at the Paper Source, and the woman at the counter asked about the card.  When I  said it was a linocut,  she said she tried that herself, but never could “get it.”  It is hard to get, in some ways.  Really, when you can create the whole style of a woodcut or linocut digitally, without the sloppiness and randomness of hand-printing, why go through the trouble of creating a design, then cutting the design (sometimes multiple versions, if you are doing multi-colored prints) and the aggravation of prints that don’t pull quite as well as you’d like?

For me, a lart part of the appeal is the process.  I work in IT, so I don’t relish the idea of coming home to spend more time on the computer.   I like working analog, with physical objects.  The tackiness of the ink when it’s rolled out onto the block, moving the barren over the paper, the unpredictability of the outcome.  The low-tech approach of hand-made prints is relaxing in its own way.  The level of planning and flexibility that’s required helps keep the focus, because while I can adjust to or correct mistakes, I can’t completely undo them in the real world.

Given the boom of the craft and handmade movement, it seems like I’m not alone in this.  The thing is, I appreciate digital work as well.  But I’ve never been an “out with the old” type, I just add more tools and skills to the pile.  That’s another part of the appeal for me, and I suspect for others, in learning old technologies and processes.  It’s a rejection of the mentality that everything new necessarily has to replace something else.  That’s an idea that I think has cut us off from a lot of great works, especially once some authority declares a movement or a medium dead when it hasn’t even been fully explored.  Ultimately, we all need a chance to slow down and enjoy the work we and others do for its own sake, and stop worrying about being cutting edge.

Recent Projects

Posted in animals, Block Prints, Process, Technique with tags , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2009 by scratchyb

A couple of weeks ago I took a staycation that was supposed to be a chance to catch up on some projects I’ve felt like I was falling behind on.  Of course, that’s when I got the flu.  Not the swine flu, but just the plain old I don’t have the energy to do anything flu.  So, it was a minor miracle that I got some things done.  I got some under-sketches for a series of drawings that I intend to turn into a book, tentatively titled “13 Devils and 13 Demons”.


I also made this block print of a flying squirrel, which started as sort of an upbeat greeting card for a friend (normally, I don’t do upbeat) and wound up being something I was pretty satisfied with.  The card was two colors, easy enough to do just by inking up the top with brown and then the bottom with green.  That’s my favorite kind of dual color print, no need to worry about registration or cutting multiple blocks.  I also did a few single-color prints with some Speedball paper I had.

squirrelcard squirrelprintsquirrelblock

The print and card are available through my Etsy store.

All images © Eric Battaglia 2009

What’s everyone else doing?

Posted in Art, Process, Technique with tags , , , , , , on April 14, 2009 by scratchyb

I’ve taken this week off work, mainly to catch up on some projects (shockingly, I don’t make art for a living, its just a hobby) and procrastinate on said projects.  I’ve also been sick, though, so yesterday was a waste of a day, sleeping, drinking fluids, and reading.  Today was far more productive.  I’ve done the underdrawings for about 4 out of the 13 demons I intend to draw as part of the Old Scratch “13 Demons and 13 Devils” series that I hope to integrate into a book.   Nothing ready to post yet.

I haven’t forgotten my centipede print project either.  But right now I’m low on printing ink, and just waiting to be well enough to venture out and get some supplies.

On to procrastination: today I ran into a couple of cool posts on Drawn! about the tools and workspaces that other artists use.  Since I never went to art school, I’m forever keeping a lookout for materials papers, and brands that various artists and illustrators use, especially those that may not be obvious to me.  Likewise, it’s nice to see how other people arrange their art spaces.

The Tools Artists Use is a series of interviews by Jenny Vorwaller regarding, um, well the tools that artists use.  The Drawn! post about creative workspaces has multiple links that also have multiple links that should keep you busy for the next half hour.  For me, it’s back to work.

On building presses

Posted in Uncategorized on April 8, 2009 by scratchyb

I’m interested in building my own printing press, which probably won’t go any further than that because I have all the power-tool talent of a chimpanzee.  Anything other than light drilling would inevitably lead to a trip to the hospital and a post later on explaining why I would have to give up my art aspirations, as I now have ten toes and two thumbs.  But still, one can look, and I like the letterpress project I found the other day on BoingBoing.  Anyway, new ideas and all, but realistically, I’ll probably stick to printing by hand, and take an official letterpress class somewhere sometime.  Still, it seems like a good fit with some of the project ideas I’ve been having lately.