I've been invited to participate in an exchange print portfolio by a group of Boston-area illustrators called "Limited/Unlimited." The image area (8" x 9"), paper size and type (12" x 16", probably Rives), and ink colors have all been chosen. Interpretation of the theme is up to the artist.
The ink colors are red and blue, which I've found VERY limiting. I just can't stop seeing Shepard Fairey's Obama poster in my mind's eye. I've always wanted to try doing a portrait, and I have some portraits coming up in my Pilgrims series, so I finally decided to give in and try a portrait.
Rather than do Obama, I've decided to work with Lincoln as he is portrayed in the Lincoln Memorial statue. I found a photo online and used it as a base for my carving, pasting the printout right onto the block. Here I'm peeling away the back of the paper to reveal the image:
Then I wipe on some mineral oil to make the image completely visible:
I've always carved my blocks with a toh, a flat-blade knife, in the ukiyo-e style of carving but for this print I'm using only gouges. This is more western style, especially reminiscent of the German expressionists, and I'm trying to do a loose kind of drawing with the gouges right on top of the printout reference.
Here's a closeup of the hair and forehead:
And some swirls in the beard:
Using a proof of this block as reference, I'll carve two more blocks, one for areas of undercolor and one for background.