Fine Art Printmaking Year 1

Fine art printmaking present an exhibition as part of our editioned print project. Our work spans a variety of print techniques and mediums, stemming from the traditions of screen print, relief, lithography and etching as well as the photographic and digital. 

Escarpment by Jill Flower

The print above caught my eye in particular from this exhibition held by first year fine art printmaking. During my latest group critique for the project “art of the accident”, Andy Vella suggested that for the cover of my book for my final outcome I could print onto metallic paper, therefore this print onto metallic gold paper relates to this idea. The print itself is also similar to some of the work I had produced for the project, gestural and focused on mark making, conveying a sense of texture.

It does not say how this print has been created, however from the design I assume it to be a relief print, possibly a linocut or an etching. I have previously explored etchings within my work and I would enjoy returning to the process to create the cover of my book, however for my final outcome I wanted to increase the scale of my book to a3 and an a3 etching plate would be quite expensive. An A3 piece of lino on the other hand would be much cheaper to use, although the quality of the line would not be the same it would create its own aesthetic.

Kerning Exercise

Brief: Use Adobe InDesign to format 4 landscape A4 sheets, each sheet will have a single word in 4 different styles and all will be kerned. On each sheet the chosen word will be in a serif typeface and a sans serif typeface, and will have an uppercase and lowercase version of each. The words notoriously difficult to kern are: railway, predictability, woodland and masquerade. 

For my kerning exercise I chose the font Baskerville for my serif font, and Helvetica for my sans serif font. Below are my final kerned outcomes.

I found this exercise quite challenging, however this was not due to not understanding the brief or how to kern but because I found it hard to know when to stop kerning the words. I became too precious with the exercise and spent a lot of time readjusting my kerning, however after a discussion with the tutors I finally settled on the above outcomes which I believe are resolved.

 

Art of the Accident: Group Critique

The feedback that I received during the group critique for my book was very positive, the tutors and the other students enjoyed the work that I produced and the feedback given was to help move the work on.

It was suggested that the book should be more monumental and could be printed A3 or A2, however due to printing costs the largest I could print the book for a reasonable price would be A3 spreads with A4 pages.

Another suggestion was that for the cover of the book I should consider using iron filings to actually rust the cover, however this process would be quite time consuming. I could also choose to screenprint with metallic ink or use metallic card and laser cut into it. There was also the option to laser cut into a metal cover, however attaching covers to the book may put too much strain on the binding and tear the book apart. I chose to use metallic card for the cover, online I purchased 300gsm pearlescent card in a copper colour resembling rust, this card is also dyed all the way through therefore when trimmed the edges would remain a copper colour and not go white. I decided to not laser cut into the card a gaining access to the laser cutter during this busy period leading up to deadlines across all courses and years was difficult.

For the final presentation of the book it was suggested that I contain the book within a thin metal box that needs to be cut into to access the book, however once again gaining access to the facilities needed to create the box is too tricky during this busy period, I would also need to be inducted into the workshops as previously I am not.

Finally it was suggested that I add text to the book, this could be scientific information about rust or a timeline of rust. I chose to include scientific information on rust as this book includes photographs from both Brighton and Portslade, therefore two very different kinds of rust are documented meaning two separate timelines would be required which could cause confusion if documented throughout the book.

Introduction to Book Layout and Preparing for Print

Introduction to book layout and introduction to preparing for print are two separate inductions that are both based in Adobe InDesign and both work hand in hand. Introduction to book layout covers how to set up and create a document for a book in InDesign, then introduction to preparing for print covers how to save and export the document correctly for printing as well as imposition.

When creating a document for print it is important to keep in mind the following:

  1. Audience
  2. Format (book size)
  3. Construction (binding)
  4. Extent (number of pages)
  5. Elements to include (special features, pop ups, flaps, gate folds)
  6. Deadline
  7. Printing needs (colour or black white?)
  8. How is it being printed (digital, litho, screen printing, letterpress)
  9. Book cover (soft or hard?)
  10. Do I have everything I need? (Photos, illustrations, 300dpi scans?)

Before creating the document it is important to create a flat plan detailing what will be included in the front matter, content and the end matter. Once this is done you can go onto creating your document. In this induction we looked at how to create a new document with facing pages, then how to create a grid and determine the font size and baseline grid. We then went on to learn how to create master pages, one for our grid to go onto and one for our numbering system. Finally we looked at type and how to create paragraph styles, frames and adding columns to a frame.

After setting up our documents we moved onto introduction to preparing for print. We began by learning how to find information on the images within the document in order to check their actual and effective PPI, as well as the colour settings for the document. Once all of those settings had been checked we started to look at how to export the document as a PDF for print, this included making sure the correct version of PDF was chosen, making sure the document was exported as spreads instead of pages, including marks and bleeds, and checking the correct colour conversion setting is selected.

Once the document has been exported as a PDF it can be opened in Acrobat Pro where you can use the colour output preview settings to make sure the document is exported correctly, as this is how the printing company will view your document when you send it to them.

Finally we looked at doing our own imposition for our documents, despite the fact most printing companies will do this for you it is handy to know in case they request you do your own or for printing your own mock ups before going to print. This stage included a lot of technical information as Adobe InDesign is not designed well for doing imposition, in order to correctly impose our documents we had to add a postscript file to our software. Once this had been done we went through the process of creating imposition preset using this postscript file as the printer. Using this preset we selected print booklet, chose the booklet type we wanted and the signature sizes and printed the file. This file when printed had to be saved with a .ps extension instead of an .indd extension, the .ps file could be opened once saved and then exported as a PDF which is the file type most printing companies will request.

This induction was incredibly helpful, especially preparing for print. Previously I had been afraid to produce books as final outcomes for my projects as I was unsure on how to correctly set up a document and how to do the imposition for my pages, although I could easily find information online on how to set up a document I was unable to on how to impose my pages therefore this information was invaluable to me. Since doing this induction I plan on creating many more as part of my coursework as I can now confidently and efficiently create the documents and print them, therefore allowing me to focus more time on creating high quality content.

Art of the Accident: Material Exploration

For my final outcome I have decided to produce a book juxtaposing the bright and vibrant photography of erosion and weathering at Brighton Beach with the industrial erosion found at Portslade. Within this book I want to include sections of acetate with imagery printed onto the sheets, this was inspired by the book o.T. designed by Unica T and featured in Experimental Formats.

“The ‘o.T.’ book was created by silkscreening abstract collages onto large sheets of rigid perspex, which were then cut down to the final page size. The resulting book forms a series of fragmented images that when bound together build up into a deep and complex whole, broken only by three divider or chapter pages printed in solid yellow.” 

The idea of building up layers of imagery suits my concept well as when objects erode and weather rust can build up layers on top, but also paint and materials can chip away revealing layers beneath, therefore the build up of imagery through a transparent material seems fitting.

Above I have begun to experiment with printing onto acetate. As acetate can only be printed on one side if I printed both pages of the spread normally the image on the right page of spread would be the wrong way round when the acetate was folded, therefore I discovered that before printing I had to horizontally flip the image on the right side of each spread. I also found that the acetate I was using was not transparent when folded and was instead foggy and misty, therefore higher quality acetate would need to be purchased for my final book.

As well as experimenting with printing onto acetate I also experimented with how acetate could be integrated into a book. The easiest way would be to bind single sheets together which could be done Japanese stab sewing, however in my book I want to include paper sheets with double page spreads containing full bleed images, therefore a perfect bound book would be more appropriate. A problem with this however is working out how to include both acetate and paper sheets in my book and how to order my content. As I also want to include full bleed images across spreads some of the pages within the book have to paper, therefore working out how to include both paper and acetate in a bound book was a difficult task.

After creating many mock ups I decided upon the structure above for my book. The plan above represents one section within my perfect bound book which consists of 2 sheets of paper with 2 sheets of acetate on top which is then folded in half, this equals 16 pages. The pale yellow in the plan represents pages made of paper and the pale blue represents pages made of acetate. The dark grey represents the back of the acetate which can’t be printed on due to the material being transparent. The bright yellow represents a page of paper that can’t have any imagery on, this is because that piece of paper would be visible through the acetate and would therefore interfere with the imagery printed onto the acetate. As I begin to organise my book content I can simply duplicate this plan to create more sections, therefore allowing more content to easily be added to my book.

Art of the Accident: Zine Workshop

Due to a change of plans at university the graphic design students were invited to join in with the zine workshop for the illustration students. We were given a handout with various book structures on for us to experiment with for our zines. Having previously made poster books in my book arts induction and for explain the unexplained project earlier this semester, I decided to create a zine that used french binding, a bookbinding technique I have had no previous experience with.

As graphic design students were not initially meant to take part in this workshop we arrived unprepared with no imagery or work to put into our zine. What I did however was take my monoprints which I had just created for my art of the experiment project, these prints I deemed unsuccessful as they lost most of the detail from the original photographs I was basing them on and therefore did not link clearly to my concept of weathering and erosion, however I still liked the marks made within the prints. For the zine I took the prints with the most interesting marks and cut the A4 prints down to a5 sheets of paper, cropping into the most visually intriguing sections of each print with help of my cropping tools.

For the prints to be french bound the a5 sheets then had to be folded in half, the A6 pages would then be bound on the long

 

edge opposite to the fold. What I discovered unintentionally about french binding is that it is a good binding technique for monoprints. When producing my monoprints I rolled out water based ink onto perspex, then I place paper on top of the ink and worked onto the back of the paper with pencil and charcoal to pick up the ink on the opposite side. By french binding my prints you can view the marks made on the back of the paper by gently prying open one of the folded pages to view what it inside. These concealed marks are visually interesting, show process and add another way in which the audience can interact with the book.

The style of binding I used to hold the pages together was Japanese stab sewing. I first used a boning tool to create folds in each of the pages, so that when the pages were bound the book could lie flat. I then drilled holes into the folded pages along the long edge opposite the fold. Finally I used stringle to sew through the holes and bind the book.

I found this workshop to be very helpful as it allowed me to take work that I felt was previously unsuccessful and turn it into a successful book. I did not initially think of moving these prints forward by using process however by creating a zine I’ve allowed the imagery to not go to waste.

Art of the Accident: Duotones and Tritones

Original photograph

Blue and black duotone

Blue, black and red tritone

Red and black tritone

Red, black and blue tritone

As suggested in my tutorial I began to experiment with colour. Using colours from the colour schemes I have previously created I experimented with creating duotones and tritones in Adobe Photoshop, which is a process I had never tried before. I liked the outcomes however I felt that the duotones and tritones took away from the initial imagery as the original photographs had a larger range of vibrant colours. Therefore from this I concluded that I did not want to edit the photographs from Brighton Beach in order to preserve their initial colour palettes.

Brown and black duotone

Brown and black duotone

Brown and black duotone

Instead of making duotone images from the Brighton Beach photography I made duotone images from my Portslade photography. I choose to edit these pictures as the original photographs were bright and vibrant with a yellow and blue colour scheme, this did not reflect industrial erosion which is orange and brown, these colours also clashed with the less saturated colours from my Brighton Beach photography. I find these edits to be far more successful as they remove the bright colours and make the images feel more industrial, as well as helping them to integrate well with the other imagery.

METHODOLOGY OF THE EDITION: 50X50=75 Exhibition

Methodology of the Edition: 50×50=75 is an international printmaking project consisting of a box set of 75 editioned original prints by 75 staff and students from three universities and three countries; University of Brighton, Nagoya University of Art (NUA), and King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology, Ladkrabang, (KMITL) Thailand.

The project offered students and staff the same task; to produce a printed image on paper dimensions of 50x50cm using any print media from traditional, digital and hybrid processes. This opportunity to share creative learning, through creative approaches to printmaking and to engage with cross-cultural exchange has enabled student-staff interaction through professional educational opportunities and real world challenges. In keeping with ‘Practical Wisdom’ of Strategic Plan 2016-21 this is an example in which ‘our research and learning are informed by real world challenges and opportunities’.

In Edward Street today I visit the Methodology of the Edition. I particularly enjoyed this exhibition due to my interest in print as well as in Asian design. Furthermore as my current materials, processes and art of the accident project focuses on the use of print to produce imagery this exhibition has helped to inspire me about possible techniques to utilise now or in the future.

Below are a selection of my favourite prints from the exhibit.


 

Cass Pad Competition

Brief: We’re giving one lucky winner the opportunity to be featured on the front cover of one of our award-winning pad ranges. An exclusive print run of your custom design will be available to buy online and in-store at Cass Art. Shortlisted works will be selected by CEO & Founder of Cass Art, Mark Cass, Head of Design at Cass Art Naj Ellwood and award-winning designer Angus Hyland, Creative Director at Cass Art and Partner at design consultancy, Pentagram.

The competition requirements were very open as the design did not need to have a concept and could be created using any medium, the only requirements were that the image was 203 x 206mm. As I am currently working on the materials, processes and art of the accident project I decided to utilise one of my experiments with print for my competition submission. Many of the current CASS Pad designs are abstract prints, therefore I thought the medium would fit well into their range, however I did want to make my work stand out and therefore contain a slightly figurative aspect.

I choose to use my favourite etching taken from my etching workshop, this can be seen below. I believe that the overlapping of imagery and linear qualities are figurative but also maintain an abstract quality when zoomed into and cropped.

Soft and Hard Ground Etching Inspired by Rust

Below are some thumbnails I produced where I played with different crops into the image. For my final design I selected the last crop.

After some editing using levels and colour balance in Photoshop I finally produced my CASS Pad design. I really enjoyed creating this competition entry, the openness of the brief allowed me to choose whatever imagery I saw fit and therefore utilise my etching prints which I really enjoyed producing for my current project. This also meant I had the opportunity to enter the competition and possibility gain publicity through it, without having to sacrifice spending time on my university work to produce an entirely new outcome for the competition brief.

Introduction to Better Typography

In this induction we learnt how to use many of the features and functions in Adobe InDesign for typography. We began by learning how to reveal hidden characters within a block of text, which is especially useful if the text is provided to you by a client as you are able to see where paragraphs have been inserted. Then we moved onto how to apply paragraph styles and special character styles, as well as how to insert footnotes, hanging punctuation, ligatures, tabs, indents, bullets and rules. Other important skills we learned was how to balanced ragged text and remove runts/stubs, which is something that is always necessary when working with large bodies of type.

Out of all of the software inductions I have been to so far I felt that this one has definitely been the most beneficial to me. With many software packages a lot of the information can be learnt online however this induction covered a wide range of skills and tips that I otherwise would not have thought to look up or would have struggled to find information on, for example how to reveal hidden characters which is not a function I would have ever thought to use.