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Posts Tagged ‘lithography’

This set of two is my completed final project for Lithography.

Typically, when I set out to compose a work, I try to put together a window that allows to viewer to see into a complete scene. As an illustrator, I deal with narrative, setting, and continuity. Foreground, middle-ground, and background are all addressed and developed in relation to each and to the boarders of the picture plane. For this assignment, where we were asked to work in a new way, that is not typical for us, I decided to disregard the idea of making a moment in time and to forget the idea of rendering a three-dimensional space.

I have always admired and envied purely decorative arts; things denoted as crafts such as embroidery, stationary, henna, and decorative boarders embellish the everyday objects of our lives and make them pleasing to look at, however they do not receive the same attention or respect as something that is framed–either literally or just by the edges of the image area.

Surface decoration can be just as laborious and complicated to construct as conceptual art but it differs so greatly because of its lack of meaning. It is so simple and upfront and that is why it appeals to me: because it is a change from the image that begs you to think about it. My henna-covered turtle is a simple image that is completely lacking in deeper meaning. It is surface decoration only, with no story, or mood, or space, or even boarders. The image stands alone without an environment and it is exactly what the viewer sees and nothing else. Yet it is still an image that I feel is worth creating because of the simple, straight-forward, decorative pleasure it delivers.

The first state of the image, the black henna on creme paper, was created very simply by drawing the design carefully onto a lithography stone. This was my first time working with a stone and those things are HEAVY. My stone was only 10″x 12″ and it weighed at least 15 lbs. Probably more. That might not seem like a lot to the rest of you, but I am a peanut!

Anyway,

For assignment III, the first state went fantastically and I am very happy with the results. So happy, in fact, that I did an addition of six, instead of the required five. (Yo. I’m selling these prints too….make me an offer)

The second state was made by counter-etching the first state, removing all of the gum so that I could apply more grease. I applied liquid touche (greasy paint) over the entire turtle, covering up all my pretty designs. Then, with an etching needle, and two scratch board styluses, I delicately carved out the same exact image out of the black turtle. The second stare is almost a negative image of the first, but there are obvious differences in weight of the line. When printing my second state, the areas that I had scratched out of the stone began to fill in. I pulled four prints, the first of which was just fine, with the others getting progressively darker and more filled in. So after four prints, I stopped, washed out the image, re-etched it, and then pulled six more copies with a less greasy ink. I had other problems while printing with the amount of ink on the stone and with the paper sticking to the stone and taring when I removed it, but eventually I did manage to get five good prints, though they may not be perfectly identical. Because of depressions in the stone, it was difficult to hit all places with the same amount of ink. The roller was much larger than the stone and so ink would build up on the outside while not hitting enough of the inside. Plus, even after re-etching, some lines still filled in where the ink was just too thick. But I do not mind the slight imperfections, as I think it gives the image character and a quirk.

I am excited to frame these two states together and hang them in my room. If I can somehow manage to craft my own frame out of beach wood, that would be just fantastic. But I will probably end up modifying an old frame from a yard -sale.

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This is the finished version of my second lithography project. After many disasters, I managed to pull four good prints to make an edition. Our assignment was to use a newspaper to inspire our work. What we took from the newspaper, no matter how much or little, was up to us.

I choose to use two pieces from the New York Times to inform my work: an article entitled “Sex Ed in Washington” and a screen cap from the movie “Chicago”. The article is about the issue of sex education in America and whether programs should be locally or nationally regulated. The article takes the stance that the issue should remain a local one because of the differing opinions on sex and its role in public schools from region to region.

I choose to respond to this issue with a pin-up poster—something clearly sexual in nature. Using the screen cap from “Chicago,” I placed the figure in white silhouette in the center of the composition, surrounded by braided and knotted ropes. The knots represent the tension and confusion over the issue, the different kinds of braids, the differing opinions. The ropes are laid next to one another in stripes—like the American flag, or as in the rows of plowed farmland that stretch across the nation.

In the United States, sexuality is fairly accepted and commonplace in the media, making the woman’s figure in the foreground nothing unusual to see. The textured noise in the background is exactly that: background noise. Real-life sex has no effective education system; the nation knows about sex what it sees in the media. The debates about abstinence, abortion, and safe sex are only a concern to the people arguing, and of little consequence to the teenagers and young adults to whom the messages are targeted.

The process:

During assignment II, I had considerable misfortune when gumming my plate. my design called for my to gum my boarders, preventing ink (value) from touching those spots, as well as gumming out the figure so that she would remain completely white. I had to counter etch three times because of gum in areas where it should not have been. (my brush dripped, the sponge dripped, the gum ran, etc.) As a result, while printing, some areas of the image look faded or bleached out because of this gum that I was not able to completely remove. Also, the conte-crayon that I used to draw on the plate before putting anything “permanent” on the surface stained the plate, though I tried to draw lightly, and the unwanted lines showed up in printing inside the white figure. I spent hours trying to remove these lines from the inside of the hand and near the edge of the figure, and was mostly successful, but there are still traces that I could not get out because the lines were so dark and numerous.

In addition, while I was proofing my image for printing, it was rolling up very very slowly and was taking many more than five proofs to move onto good paper. It was suggested to me that I add more shop mix into the ink. After the ink was added, my image started to fill in quickly, and so some parts of the ropes are darker than intended. I received the okay to pull four good prints instead of five because I had already spent so much time at the press during class.

Overall, I think that the image still conveys what it needs to. This piece is mostly about concept, and the image is still strong though more rustic than I originally intended. But that is the nature of print-making I suppose. With such a long and complicated process, things could (and WILL) go wrong at every turn. You never know exactly what your work is going to look like until the very end.


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So I was very nervous about lithography, as anyone would know if they read my “End of the Year Crunch” post. Fortunately though today in lithography I got more than I thought I would be able to done, and will be printing the first state on Wednesday. I thought that I would only get to etch and then have to wait 24 hours before processing because we are working on stones. When working on a stone, it is preferred, according to my professor, to let the gum arabic soak into the surface overnight so that none of the grease beads merge together and fill in. But because my image was so graphic, and no dark values were placed next to one another, there was less of a chance of filling in. So I only waited an hour between etching and processing, which is the process of removing the grease drawing from the stone and replacing it with ink.

I did notice that my lines were darker after rolling up the image with ink, probably because I only gave the gum an hour to sink in, and I only used 3 drops of nitric acid in the gum. (Acid in the gum is used to further prevent the filling in of the image, that is, having the grease beads merge. The darker the image, or the more grease, the more acid needed.) I do not mind this darkening of the lines though, because I used a number 4 litho pencil to draw with and the lines were originally a little grayer than I wanted. So this darkening was actually perfect. Now all I have to hope is that everything goes well in printing.

I cut my paper bigger than my stone, because the stone is small. (Any bigger and I wouldn’t be able to lift it. It’s only 10 x 12 inches, making my image area only 6 x 8″.) So I will probably need to snake slip (which is removing the ink from the stone by rubbing) the edges of the stone where ink will surely catch. 😦

I am very excited about my image though. It is purely decorative! It confronts you directly and is easy and enjoyable to look at. There is very little thinking involved. Eye candy is all I consider it, but I do consider it beautiful and if it comes out nice, it will surely be something to frame and keep forever. Hopefully both states of the image will come out equally as nice. Two states of the image means that I draw and print one image, and then make alterations to that same image and print it a second time.

For more information on lithography, you can visit Wikipedia.

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Really only three more weeks until this semester is over, and everyone–both students and teachers–are feeling the pressure. Those poor graphic designers! They’re reviews are coming up this Thursday and my boyfriend has been in the studio non-stop for three days. Lots of majors are preparing for their portfolio reviews but none of them seem to be as much work as graphic design. I know for illustration, all we had to do was fill out a form and put all of our work into a canvas portfolio. The work required minimal preparation. These poor graphic designers have to create an entire presentation of their work and every aspect of it needs to be carefully designed and laid out. It’s like they have a whole extra project in showcasing their work.

I know that I as the end draws near, I will have a lot of tests and papers to prepare for. Luckily, I think that I only have one final exam to do in class. Then I have two take-home exams. But before I can even get to that I have at least 3 more major papers, a presentation, some sort of science project, a final illustration, and two lithographies to get done. This is not procrastination on my part at all. I am ahead of most in my work. This is the professors saving all of the hard stuff for the end. I don’t know why they do that.

I know that Illustration will be no problem. In that class, all of the assignments were spaced out evenly and I will have plenty of time to finish this last one. But most classes, I have not even been assigned my projects for the rest of the year, so I cannot even get started!! Lithography is very much troubling me. We need to do two state of this current project, and because we are working on a stone, and have never worked on stones before, we need a see a lot of demos. And we are encouraged to do a lot of the process in class. BUT we do not have enough class time to get it all in before the end of the year. So there’s going to be a lot of time spent outside of class trying to do something that we’ve never done before. And if we mess up there will be no one to help us!! Gah. I definitely do not have the confidence to print outside of class but I will almost certainly have to.

I just finished my second-to-last illustration and flapped it for the critique on Tuesday. I may wait to put up pictures of it though until after the crit. Incase there is anything i missed that should be fixed. I will give you all a word of advise. When removing masking tape from the edges of an artwork, always pull AWAY from the image area. Sometimes the tape will catch the surface of the paper and tare off the top layer. If you pull towards the image area, you now have a lovely gash running through your picture, but if you pull away, your image will remain untouched.

In other news, I posed in some photographs for a friend’s paintings today. That was awesome.

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I got into my major! I passed the sophomore review with a score of 98. I also received a certificate for having one of the top portfolios in my grade! My work is currently on display in the Hartford Art school hallways. 😀

Today in drawing for illustration we learned about ears. Apparently, there are a lot of professional, working illustrators out there who can’t–or don’t–draw ears right. My professor showed us examples of very incorrect ears in Marvel Comic’s books. Also, there seems to be a huge problem out there with perspective, and placing the horizon line too low! One of the examples shown to us in class was of a digital illustration in (if i remember correctly) News Week, an internationally read magazine. Most professional illustrators, published in magazines, are paid thousands of dollars for their work. And though it may be rendered beautifully, there are fundamental drawing issues.

There are even a lot of really bad anatomy books out there, meant to instruct learning artists how to correctly and accurately draw the human figure. A lot of them are vert wrong. I’ve seen them. You go to Barnes and Nobles and flip through the drawing books and something just feels off about a lot of the figures. Obviously, drawing from the figure itself, or the skeleton is a good way to learn. Even pictures are useful. But when drawing from drawings, be cautious.

On a lighter note, I have added a new piece to the main artwork gallery. It is a print from my first edition in lithography. It is a self-portrait, believe it or not. Basically, I feel that there is so much that makes up an individual that it cannot be contained or summed up in a simple still life or collection of symbols. A person needs a large space. Therefor, I drew a landscape, a vast open desert, rocky and beautiful, lit up by the setting sun. There are clouds in the sky, but also a suggestion of a roof over the scene, suggesting that it is inside of something. The ground is split open and there is a heart inside of a rib-cage structure that echos the shape of the roof. There are electrical lines running to the heart, as well as rail road tracks and tunnels. There are windmills in the background–all signs of productivity and motivation.

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