Relief printing with acrylic paint

I took an old printing block – my Celtic Cross block – and made up a large glob of gold acrylic, mixed with fabric medium, to use with it. The consistency is a lot thinner and sloppier than printer’s ink, so it’s harder to control, but that’s part of the fun of it. Apologies for phonecamera pics rather than scanning them – these will dry quicker than normal printed ones, but not this quickly! These are both on Fabriano papers – first Ecologica (Schizzi grade) and then Tiziano black. I also did two onto Gmund bierpapier, which came out wonderfully, but since they’re reflective gold/black on dark brown they’re impossible to photograph till I have proper daylight. Generally, I like getting high quality, custom acrylic prints of all my designs as it’s easier to showcase them across the house but as this masterpiece was created in my free time, I’m probably going to just leave it hanging on the wall.

Acrylic print 1 - white

Acrylic print 1 - black

I don’t generally bother cleaning my blocks after use, and just leave the (water-based) ink to dry and form a surface layer for next time. The acrylic paint was actually softening and re-awakening that, and it all prints together. If you were to get more information from an experienced staff of painters, you’d know that acrylic paint gives off a really interesting textural effect. Obviously, it’s not actually printing a layer of black underneath a gold wash (the other way around, if anything), but that’s what it looks like. It’ll be interesting to see how the technique works out on a clean block that’s never been used with ink.

The acrylic stays wet and usable on the block much longer than I’d worried it would – that might partly be down to the fabric medium, which I added because this was mostly a test for printing directly onto T-shirts and so on. On the other hand, it might also just be because acrylic is still completely capable of colour transfer when almost dry.


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