Friday, April 5, 2013

Learning Zone—experiments with gelatin plate printing

water-based-relief-printing-ink
One of my little tutorials that probably frustrates the hell out of anyone who likes things spelled out in plain english. Sorry about that, BUT, gelatin printing is all about experimenting, trying something new, allowing things develop, and leaving creative space for the random and unexpected.
I am actually, literally, often AFRAID to begin a session, characterized by the strong urge to make another coffee, check my facebook page, again, and a burgeoning headache. I’ll find any excuse not to go downstairs to my basement (wet-work) studio.  And that’s because I like things to be predictable, and the jellies are anything but. And yet, the very unpredictability inspires me—it just takes me awhile to get going.
The important things are, plenty of ink in lots of colours, so that I’m not afraid to scrape the glass clean and start over again if I make mud instead of rainbows.
And plenty of cheap pre-cut paper. Card stock is your friend. Really.  Cardstock is cheap enough to toss into recycling without shedding tears, and good enough to frame up and hang as a finished print for that special Eureka! moment.  I go through plenty.
Today, I got brave, and tried out a whole bunch of things, often on the backs of other ‘failed’ prints and proofs that I save for this purpose, and some onto fresh card-stock, a few of which will be turned into finished prints, many of which will go out with the newspapers.
gelatin-printmaking-tutorial The background is my usual collection of ‘textures’ swiped onto an inked gelatin plate. The purple is hand-written backwards onto a wet gelatin plate using water-soluble coloured pencils. 
finger-painting-on-gelatin-plateand then it was time to get my hands dirty, and do some finger-painting. I’ll likely be turning this one into finished work (the photo doesn’t do the colours justice), but finger painting can build up subtle beautiful layers.
monoprinting-with-brushand who guessed I like manga by the way I do faces???  The background is once again textures with glasswhere, but I painted the face with a rigger brush directly onto the gelatin, and placed the paper on top, QUICK, VERY QUICK. I was using the printing ink, which is water based, so I ran the risk of it drying out. I’ll need to find out what happens if it drys and needs to be spritzed to re-wet it, or place dampened paper on top. SO MANY VARIATIONS, which is why there is no ‘step by step’ in this tutorial, just a million possibilities to present.

1 comment:

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

very nice little tut :)

i know its not real gelatin, but i never clean my gelli plate off. apparently tho if i put more paint on top of the dried stuff, it will come off when you pull a new print without having to clean it. really need to get the plate out so i can make a mess again with it :p

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