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.

Etching Induction

In the print workshop I was inducted into the process of etching. We began by creating a hard ground etching onto a zinc plate. The process for doing this is as follows: file the edges of the plate at a 45 degree angle, polish the plate, rub the plate with degreaser, rinse the plate, dry the plate with a hairdryer set to cool, heat the plate and apply the hard ground with a roller, leave the plate too cool, scratch in your design, place in the acid bath for 1o minutes, rinse the plate and finally print. After experimenting with a hard ground we created another plate using soft ground, this uses the same process however the soft ground never sets, so instead of scratching the design into the surface a design can be traced on or an object can be pressed on.

Brighton Beach Rust Photography

For my hard ground design I scratched the photograph above freehand onto the plate. I chose this image as I believed the linear qualities of the texture would work well as an etching. Furthermore the imagery I chose was from my art of the accident project therefore my prints could be used as part of my materials and processes experimentation. I then played with printing the plate in black and orange inks, orange to represent the rust colour. I also experimented with printing onto newsprint, for my project I have been experimenting with the idea of creating a book printed onto transparent materials, as I couldn’t print a plate onto tracing paper or acetate I choose newsprint instead. This was a challenge as the paper was to fragile to be soaked in the water bath so had to be sprayed with a water bottle instead, however the print did turn out successful.

Below are my hard ground etching prints:

Hard Ground Black Ink Etching

Hard Ground Black Ink Second Print Etching

Hard Ground Orange Ink Etching

Hard Ground Orange Ink Etching onto Newsprint

Hard Ground Black Ink Line Work with Orange Overprint Etching

For my soft ground design I traced the photograph above onto the plate. I then used my fingers to create tonal areas.

Below are my soft ground etching prints:

Soft Ground Black Ink Etching

Soft Ground Black Ink Etching with a Hard Ground Orange Ink Etching

Soft Ground Black Ink Second Print Etching with a Hard Ground Orange Ink Second Print Etching

In my opinion my these prints were highly successful, especially the prints where I have overprinted black and orange ink, and hard and soft ground plates. Therefore I hope to find a way to incorporate them into my final book.

Art of the Accident: Tutorial

During a tutorial today with the tutors we discussed through the work I had made so far in the project, specifically my photography of rust and erosion taken at Brighton beach, and spoke about where I could take the project next.

OIL & WATER DO NOT MIX by Anthony Burrill

Screenprinting was highlighted as a possible process for exploration. From the photographs you can clearly tell that the images are taken from brighton due to its prominent bright and varied colour scheme, therefore layering multiple prints of my photos with colours picked out from my photographs could be visually interesting. It was also suggested that I could take inspiration from Anthony Burrill, who used crude oil from an oil spill to make a screenprint on environmental issues, and screen print using a solution made of rust. After doing research however I found that the process for making a rust solution would take weeks to get the amount I needed therefore this idea was quickly abandoned.

“The choice of font was very simple; I needed a heavy typeface to use the oil and sand mixture as much as possible. The corrosive effects of the oil and sand gradually destroyed the screen that they were using to print which resulted in the distressed, rough feel that communicated exactly what we wanted to say. It’s intentionally blank in its meaning, the point of the poster is how it was physically made.” – Anthony Burrill

Continuing with the idea of using screen printing it may be worth experimenting with contrasting the natural textural qualities of the rust with the shapes of the industrial structures it formed on. Portslade is a part of Brighton where there is a large industrial yard, therefore in the upcoming days I intend to visit the area and gather some photographs of the industrial rust and machinery present, this I can then contrast with the more natural and colourful forms of weathering found at Brighton beach.

Creative Process

To help develop my creative process I have decided to make a checklist which I can follow and edit when working on a brief. This checklist will help to speed up my creative process as I will have a clear plan to follow, it will also help to ensure that I don’t miss or spend too little or too much time on certain activities, therefore compromising my project.

Briefing

  • Analyse the brief
  • Identify what is required from the project

Initial ideation

  • Mind map initial ideas
  • Identify initial subject matter
  • Brainstorm ideas/feelings/emotions/etc. associated with that subject matter which I can use to inform my work (for example if my subject matter was dreaming my work could have an ethereal and confusing feeling)

Primary and Secondary Research

  • Research any references suggested on the brief
  • Research any requirements of the brief that I am unfamiliar with
  • Research my subject matter
  • Research how other designers have approached that subject matter
  • Research formats
  • Primary research about methods, imagery, formats, production, etc.
  • Browse my collection of work saved on Pinterest and Tumblr for inspiration

Informed ideation

  • Develop my initial ideas based on my findings from my primary and secondary research

Roughs

  • Roughly design my final solution
  • Identify and plan for any potential issues that may occur during the production of the final solution

Production, Refinement and Final Solution

  • Design my final idea
  • Using appropriate traditional or digital techniques produce my final outcomes
  • Mount/photograph/present my final outcome if appropriate

Critique

  • Present my final solution during a group critique to receive feedback from the tutors and my peers

Post critique amendments

  • Make appropriate changes based on feedback given during the critique

The Art of Cropping

15/11/2016 – 28/11/2016

Brief: Collate a range of diverse visual elements and produce several visually dynamic and spatially inventive abstract asymmetric compositions with the aid of cropping tools. The aim is to develop dynamic asymmetric compositions, master the use of ‘L’ shape cropping tools, and develop an understanding of the role of empty space in graphic design.

I began this project by creating my ‘L’ shape cropping tools out of mid grey mount board and also collating a range of diverse visual elements. The elements we were instructed to collect had to fall into any of the following categories; experimental/abstract photographs, abstract marks, abstract shapes and forms, 10 one line quotes, hand lettering, linear/drawn forms, found imagery, something old/aged/weathered, processed imagery or processed type. To find my visual elements I turned to previous university coursework, past foundation work, my environments and objects that I own.

To explore using the cropping tools I physically arranged my elements and then overlaid my cropping tools in order to experiment with how cropping alters an image. Whilst doing this I took photographs of my several crops, this was so that I could go on to review and compare the crops and then to act as a reference when I went on to digitally render my most successful designs.

screen-shot-2016-12-24-at-02-56-16

An example of a crop made with the cropping tools, this crop is for the composition set ‘Something Old/Aged/Weathered with Processed Typography’

In order to manually arrange my elements I had to make sure they were all in a physical form, this involved printing out my digital images and cutting into and altering some elements that were already physical. Furthermore to experiment with overlaying I printed some elements onto acetate.

In the brief we were instructed to produce design options for 7 different composition sets, and then render the best design option for each composition set digitally. Below are my most successful designs for each composition set digitally rendered.

4-75

Something Old/Aged/Weathered with Processed Typography

4-5

Processed Imagery with Quote

3-5

Abstract Marks with Processed Typography

2

Graphic Shapes and Experimental/Abstract Photography

1

Graphic and Linear/Drawn

4

Hand Lettering with Found Imagery

3

Quote plus Abstract Shapes/Forms

I struggled with this project at first as I found processing my assets so that they were all physical and then going onto manually cropping them time consuming and resource intensive. Personally I felt my work would have been more effective if I experimented with cropping digitally as it would have allowed me to produce more work within the time given, however I do see the importance of using physical cropping tools as it allows you to think more carefully about the work and crops that you are making.

Feedback

Something Old/Aged/Weathered with Processed Typography

The above set I believe varies in quality a lot as illustrates my struggle with this project. For presentation we had to choose 2 from the final 7 designs to print at A2. I chose ‘Something Old/Aged/Weathered with Processed Typography’ and ‘Processed Imagery with Quote’. I am confident that choosing my ‘Something Old/Aged/Weathered with Processed Typography’ image as one of my A2 prints was a good decision as it is the strongest design from the 7 final designs, this was backed up by the feedback given from my tutors during the critique. However I don’t believe I should have chosen ‘Processed Imagery with Quote’ as my other print. This image possess interesting colours and forms however displays very little awareness of cropping. Once again the feedback from tutors supported my thoughts as they suggested working into the image more, possibly further zooming into a section of the processed imagery further and then further experimenting with how the type is incorporated into the image.

Post Critique Amendments

Hand Lettering with Found Imagery

In the time leading up to semester 1 assessments I decided I wanted to improved other projects that needed more work, therefore I didn’t think improving ‘Processed Imagery with Quote’ would be a valuable use of time due to it not being as strong as my other 7 designs. Instead I improved ‘Hand Lettering with Found Imagery’ which I perceived to be much stronger that ‘Processed Imagery with Quote’ and I regret not selecting as one of my final designs. To develop the design further I added in a torn form in the bottom left. I did this as before the image simply consisted of type overlaid onto a photograph, therefore not displaying an understanding of cropping, also the image filled the entire of the print so the addition of negative space would help to break that up.

In conclusion I found this project very difficult to get the hang off at the beginning and by the time I understood what to do I had ran out of time. I know feel like I understand cropping and composition and can use the skills I learnt effectively in future projects, however I don’t believe that is fully reflected still in my final outcomes for this project.