This one was truly horrendous to ink & print from. I ended up cutting away most of the plate rather than simply leaving the raised area, since the sheer size of the open areas means it’s almost impossible to avoid inking the cutlines and then rubbing the paper down onto them. In the end, I managed to pull a half-dozen good prints, but produced quite a lot of offprints in the process – I’ll have to find something interesting to do with them. My normal reflex for this sort of thing is to cut scraps, varnish the hell out of them, and turn them into earrings, pendants, or the like, but this ink doesn’t take varnish well. I’m going to experiment with a protective coat of spray varnish before putting the good stuff on, but that will take a warm day and more energy than I have right now.
That’s the first proof from a block I’ve had waiting on my workbench for ages, waiting for me to work out how the top of the dragon’s head should go. Since I took some WIP pictures of the block, here they are – first, while it was waiting, then all finished and ready to ink.
And this one’s all inked up and ready to print. The masking tape is there to stop as many as possible of the traces of ink on the open areas getting transferred – as you see from the proof, it’s only partially successful.
As for where next – I’m happy with the image itself, but I need to do more work on the open areas, and get a more consistent transfer of ink from the right-hand edge. The effect there is partly down to the surface of the block – it’s standard with water-based ink on a new vinyl block, and tends to tone down when the block’s built up a suitable layer of ink over time – but I’m fairly sure it’s also in my brayer technique. One of these days I really must find some others in different sizes.
This is another version of the same dragon – I resized a cleaned-up version of the black & white outline I did, printed it out onto some parchment-textured paper I found in my stash, and then inked it. Literally inked, that is – the green & red are calligraphy ink, applied with a pen, but the bronze outlining is acrylic paint.
This is the first stage of an attempt to illustrate the firework dragon Gandalf conjures for Bilbo’s Party at the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring. I was inspired by these posts on Tor.com, where Kate Nepveu is blogging her Lord of the Rings re-read. I’m going to colour it, but I wanted to post the black and white version first.