Archive for linocuts

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.

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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”.

devilsketches

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

Exiled

Posted in Art, Block Prints, Process with tags , , , on February 18, 2009 by scratchyb

Old Scratch has been exiled to the living room. It’s Ladies Night, and that leaves me just a few precious minutes at a time to duck into the kitchen, lest I hear something I truly didn’t care to hear.

A while back I posted about a large block-print I made, which I did with two colors: silver and black. It wasn’t quite the way I wanted, because I failed to plan and had already cut into the center of the subject, which would have been the full silver color, before I realized I wanted to use the reduction method to do multiple colors on this print.

So, now, with the first block all cut up, I broke down and got a second, printed the tree from the first onto paper, and then did a monoprint onto the other block. I’m now cutting only the outline, and with some finagling in registration, I should be able to have a nice set of full two-color prints.

I was just talking to someone about my prints tonight. I explained that for some reason, I’m always drawn to linocuts, even though time after time I swear I’m done with this medium. It’s immensely satisfying, and oddly relaxing, with the combination of physical effort and mental concentration lest you slip and gouge yourself, or wreck your image. Yes, the same thing can be done digitally, but after working all day on computers, I don’t relish the idea of doing it some more when I get home. It’s one of the reasons I no longer write as much as I used to.