Collagraph

Ready to print my first large collagraph at Cato Press, if my paper ever arrives from Lawrence Art Supplies (Brighton).  Not their fault, just the delivery firm.  The only place to buy a good range of print paper in Bristol is Bower Ashton art college (University of the West of England) but they are shut for the summer.  I need a wider than average sheet for this relief print.

Athena’s Shield proof

Since making this proof I have altered the image quite a bit but  hopefully this will be the final effort.  Time to start work on the next one.  I feel at home with collagraph and I can work on the image without special equipment – just glue, knives, card and other thin material – in my studio at home.

Having spent a lot of time recently on my plywood toys and models – now on sale at Basically Wooden – I hope to give more attention to print making.

Collagraph

Having joined Cato Press, Bristol in April I have begun experimenting collagraph printmaking, both intaglio and relief.  I began with an ambitious piece, a 50cm circle with a variety of shaped and textures, and a number of smaller studies for this piece.

I wanted use text but cutting this by hand is tedious so I used my Cameo vinyl cutter, cutting card and vinyl.

Using a vinyl cutter for vinyl is quite simple (as the name suggests) but for paper and card requires more trial and error.

Collagraph study detail

Card can vary in density quite a lot, some paper is hard on the cutter blade due to the high chalk content.  The prints here (not great pics) are quite pale but that suits the subject.

Collagraph study, A4

There is no text on this study, just hand-cut shapes.   Something to aspire to, here is a rather more advance image by Suzie MacKenzie. 

Trace

I have enjoyed using Affinity Designer and it’s sister products Affinity Photo and the beta Affinity Publisher, but the lack of a trace function in Designer is a serious drawback.  Compared to CorelDraw (£599) or the endless cost (and irritation) of Adobe Illustrator, Affinity Designer (£50) is fantastic value for money and there are no extras or pressure to use on-line ‘services’.  So, why is it taking the developers at Serif EU such a long time to add trace?

Designer was launched almost five years ago and whilst Serif have never specifically promised to have a trace function users have always wanted it, and eventually gone elsewhere – Illustrator or CorelDraw.  Inkscape (freeware) manages a trace function but Inkscape can be clunky and it’s interface a little daunting.  The power of current computers is such that the trace function should be straightforward.  Come on Serif!

Paddle craft, model and toy

A little work to correct some errors and it is ready.

Paddle craft, self-assembly toy, 3mm laser-cut plywood, approx 20cm x 10cm.

 

 

 

 

This is the rear paddle version, which proved easier to design and seems to be well received.  On sale soon.

Boats

RoRo Ferry approx 20cm x 10cm

A trip through the rain to Basically Wooden in Devon to collect many laser-cut toy boats, ready for packaging and hopefully for some sales.  Sue and Andrew at Basically Wooden design, laser-cut and assemble fine objects for the gaming world, and some other items.  They have just made a new dice tower, really lovely.  They use quite a lot of fine, detailed engraving, something I have avoided with these toys.

Tugboat, Helicopter,Lifeboat and Trawler all about 20cm x 10 cm

My toy/models have moving doors and a working winch.  They are suitable for children over 3 (small parts), come with visual instructions, glue (not strictly necessary but makes a more permanent toy), and string for the winch.  I am selling on Etse and ebay , £11.95 each including UK postage, add £3 for postage worldwide.  Buy all five for £50, (plus £5 for shipping outside the UK).

 

Hokusai and Hiroshige, Japanese prints

A visit to a terrific, free and very popular exhibition – closing soon – at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, the first of three looking at woodblock printing in Japan.  This one is concerned with landscapes, the next on starts on January 12th and is focused on the city.

There is also an on-line exhibition for those who can’t get to the museum.

The museum also currently has a small but interesting display of African fabric, mainly made-up clothing.

 

Vectors

Working on a steampunk design for a helicopter, I have struggled the last few days to get a look that will translate to plywood.  The devil really is in the detail.  My plywood laser-cut toys are plain and unadorned but steampunk is not about clean lines.

Circle grid window

I spent a while this morning drawing this window in the style of an old diving helmet, here as a .png file (WordPress won’t allow vector files, if anyone wants a copy let me know and I will send).

Affinity Designer is perfectly adequate for 2D drawing like this.