24 March 2006

Going for the Grain

Lauan Ply Grain

The way I carved the lettering for the "Serenity Prayer" print -- digging the letters out of the background rather than carving the background away to leave the letters remaining -- has dictated a lot of what will follow. I don't want the letters to be white, so I need to overprint the lettering block on a field of color. But the color can't be too deep, because I'll be printing a number of layers over it.

Above is a thin piece of cheap craft-grade lauan plywood that I got from Dick Blick. I really like the circular grain, so I decided to use it as the base for this print. I tried using a wire brush to bring out the grain even more. Here's how it printed (click for enlargement):

I wanted the circular grain to show up more, so I placed a circular cut-out piece of paper on top of the washi before I burnished it with the baren. Here's a close-up of the circular area:


I have a design sketched out, but now I have carving to do, so I'll dry out these prints until I have a couple of blocks ready for the next round of printing.


Annika Sandin said...

Very interesting! I'm following you step by step :)

tom said...

Hi Annie,

Sosuku hanga artists often used woodgrain, but somehow this has dropped off in popularity and there is scant advice out there on best techniques. My 2 cents; Go for deep contrast, grey is good and you can overprint colour. Use no rice paste, use gum to give your ink some body. Try for repeated impressions at various pressures to build up tonal depth to the pattern.

Cin said...

Hi Annie,

I'm so curious to see how this one turns out, I love the texture of the woodgrain!

and thanks for your comment (and e-mail) I'm amazed you knew it was Brad from my scribble. He'll be speaking again this Thursday and twice more in April, very exciting!

danielle said...

I love the wood grain in there. I don't know enough about computer illustration, but is this maybe one of those places you can say you couldn't necessarily get through computer design? I know that's been something you've been trying for, and it seems that such an exquisite grain piece (I especially love the "not lined" edges...you can see where the different grains line up differently on the top and bottom) has to be from actual wood, not a computer rendition. I know you can probably do it computerized, but would it have quite the same allure?