Printmaking Process Series 2
First off, I'd like to explain a bit about what an edition is and why I felt that this sketch would make a great print edition.
An edition is a group of identical impressions or prints. In some cases there may be more than one edition. A trial edition or proof is one in which the artist may print a group of images for himself to see how things are looking during the process. An edition is usually labeled in the bottom left hand corner below the image. The format is to write the number or sequence of the impression as printed over the total number of prints in the edition. i.e. 1/23. So that would be the first impression printed of 23 printed total at the that time. Most hand printed editions are limited due to the amount of images that can be run from a plate before the plate will begin to warp or wear away. Another reason they are limited is to add value. The more editions made the less value the prints will have. Many times artists may choose the change the state of the print before making another edition. This means the artist has changed something on the plate or matrix causing a change in the printed impression. This creates a new edition and does not devalue a print bought from a previous edition.
Another area of confusion is when people hear the word print, they may assume that it is the same as a giclee prints. Giclee a french word meaning to spray or spurt liquid, in this case ink, is a commercially or digitally printed image of an artwork. These are NOT hand printed or hand plated. These are the ones you may see labeled A.P., B.A.T. etc. These are images of the real artwork, sometimes touched up by the artist or painted on top of to add value.
So the beauty of a hand printed and hand plated artwork is that all of the work is done by the artist, therefore in an edition of say 30; there will be slight variations between images making each one almost like an original artwork. This is what makes each piece or print so special and beautiful! Some printmakers will even skip the whole idea of an edition and just keep changing the state of the plate or print it in different colors, so each print from that plate is different and a unique print.
Back to why I chose this piece for a printing edition verses say a painting or other media...
When I finished my drawing, I thought that many people might be able to empathize with my feelings, so an edition of many to go to those who felt and understood the idea would be perfect. Being able to create more than one of an image is a benefit of printmaking verses any other fine art media.
After my drawing, the next step for a print would be to create a master plate, a plate that I will use to tranfer the image to multiple plates. It is usually the last plate printed in a multi-plate process. I knew I wanted this project to be very colorful, but also have some delicate details as well. From experience I knew that wood relief prints worked really well for multi-color projects, so I chose to use 4 woodblock plates one for each color: Blue, Green, Orange, Red. Then, against the odds, I chose a zinc plate for my master plate, because my drawing had a lot of delicate areas that might not show up as well on a wood plate.
I say against the odds, because there is some risk of the images not matching up properly, due to the fact that the paper must be wet to print a metal plate. When paper is wet, the fibers stretch and contract, causing the paper to get larger or smaller, so it may be a challenging process to make sure all the printed images from all the plates are printed on top of each other in the right place.
THE EXECUTION...Read about I carved up all my plates and some the bumps and I ran across and how I solved those issues.