03 December 2005

I Love This Paper

I spent most of today printing the first block for "Climbing Out of Sleep." I'm using a paper called Echizen Kozo that I got from McClain's and it's great: thick yet soft, takes the pigment really well, and seems very strong. I did three impressions of one block. I decided to try a pale grey impression first, to add depth and some texture. I was trying to get goma zuri (sesame seed pattern) on purpose, but it appears to be easier to get it by accident.

Then I printed the whole block again in a yellow ochre.

And finally, a bokashi (blend) on each side with burnt sienna.

Now I'll start cutting this block some more.


Mike Lyon said...

Goma-zuri ('sesame seed' = grainy printing): with clean brush, using no paste at all, only pigment and water (the binder and sizing in the paper will hold the pigment just fine). This should produce very pronounced goma. If you are using prepared water colors, those contain some wetting agents which tend to resist goma to some degree, but will still produce grainy printing when sufficiently dilute.

Your bokashi (gradation) appears to have pretty pronounced edges and it appears to me that your block was dry... Several things you might try:

1st, dampen the block well beyond the light side of the bokashi -- if printing pronounced, very dark to very light then little or no dampening on the dark side. Always use the same brush oriented the same way (kinda like a rainbow roll) to produce consistent gradations from print to print and it's best if the brush is wider than the bokashi so the light side of the brush has no pigment... Then the gradation may flow more smoothly from dark to nothing.

2nd, at the light 'border' of the bokashi on the block, try applying a line of paste (just a little, not a big glob or it'll build up too much in the brush and you'll have other problems) so the pigment dispersion is faded into the pasty area and stops there. Once the paste begins to build up in that area of the brush, stop adding it until you need more. The paste makes a kind of dam which helps prevent the bokashi from growing print to print.

Finally, it generally takes two or three printings (first wide and subtle, then narrower and deeper) to produce an intense smooth and startling gradation -- don't be hesitate to over-print numerous times in order to obtain the desired effect -- stack your papers so that just-printed areas (damper) rest against dryer areas of previous prints and allow time for water to migrate -- if you become impatient, your papers will become too damp and you'll have trouble.

Hope that helps!

-- Mike

Mike Lyon said...

OH! Another thought about goma-zuri -- the effect is enhanced by over-printings! If you want a really pronounced strong goma, begin by printing (no paste!) a bit damp and with very little pigment -- print all papers (for huge goma, use lighter touch with baren), allow time for dampness to migrate, then repeat. The pigment in subsequent passes tends to build up in the same dotty areas again and again and this produces quite an intense effect! Dots will be up to about 1/4" if you print a bit 'wetter' down to VERY tiny if you print several layers very 'dryly'... Experiment a bit, and you'll see what I mean!

-- Mike

Anonymous said...

Another cool thing to try is to spread your ink without paste, as Mike describes and then lightly mist the block with an atomizer spray. Print fairly firmly. The fresh water tends to displace the pigmented water producing even more contrast in the results. This way you can get an intense bokashi with extreme goma-zuri in one hit. I find it is more useful to try this with sumi and then overprint the colour.

Thanks for the continuing Blog effort.