Friday, December 20, 2013
Oops! More Common Moku Hanga Printing Errors.
In the lower example, the mottling of the green background is caused by too much moisture rather than pigment. It seems the wetness breaks down or washes out the size and this mottling won't go away with overprinting.
The paper won't really accept any more pigment and multiple printings don't seem to get any darker or more even.
The texture left in the paper surface from western paper screens during their manufacture remains and the pressure generated with the baren often isn't enough to print color smoothly.
A stronger baren, really firm pressure and certain papers are more accepting than others.
In the lizard print below, the red dewlap (skin flap) printed evenly while the blue background did not. It is printed on Magnani incisioni which can be printed smoothly with a lot of effort (as can Fabriano Artistico).
The easiest of Western papers to use for moku hanga printing is probably Rives lightweight and I've had decent results on that paper.
Harder to illustrate is the effect of too-weak size.
Prints will simply be "flat" or "lifeless" or the colors will never seem to really be vivid or strong despite multiple overprintings.
Again, sometimes this is a nice thing.
Sometimes it is a distraction.
In this case I liked it and as in the prints above, I kept all of them, defects included.
They serve as reminders of things to watch out for going forward.
But they also record my progress (or lack thereof) as a printmaker. As I struggle to become more professional it's helpful to look back and see where I've been. There is a naivety to some of these works that is still very appealing and I'd hate to lose that freshness and vitality in a search for clean edges and even color application.
This discussion will probably remain active for as long as I make prints. Stay tuned for the next disaster.