1000 Heads: the book

1000 heads, my illustration book

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22.11.07

Dry point prints and a special dry point technique

These days I'm working in different print techniques in a workshop with my friend José María (Pep) Alaminos. He's a true master and it's a pleasure to learn and practice with him.

Several years ago Pep discovered that cardboard can be treated in the same fashion as traditional drypoint engraving and it's possible to print them exactly the same way as copper or zinc plates.

We don't know how to call this technique, but for the moment (showing our amazing imagination) let's call it Dry point on cardboard plate. You should use cardboard sheets like those in boxes or notebook covers, with a laminated surface or with a light plastic layer. Wherever you incise this surface, the etching ink will remain, making this process possible, with some evident advantages:

  1. It's far cheaper than metal-plate drypoint: almost any cardboard with the aforementioned surface will do. You can even reuse old boxes or wraps for this printing technique.
  2. It's much easier to carve or incise the surface: you can create the drawing as easily as you draw with pencil or pen on paper.
  3. The plate itself is a work of art when you've finished the printing series.
  4. The results are surprisingly good.

The main disavantadge is the short print run that cardboard can withstand (up to 20-25 prints). If you want to maker small series anyway, this isn't a problem, then, and you have advantages only!

See the acompanying example (click for a much bigger version to see every fine detail) This drawing was made at the workshop and it retains all the immediacy and determination of a pen or pencil drawing. Title: Celebration I. Proof number I. Size of the print: 24 x 17 cm.

7 comments:

Annie B said...

What a cool and simple technique. These are some nice prints you're making!

Joan said...

I was surprised to see how well the cardboard behaves as a printing plate. The only difference with normal, metal-plate etching is the need for a more fluid ink: we mix some linseed oil with the ink for this.

Patty said...

I've been using this technique, and I'm in love with it!! And here's a tip for protecting your cardboard before printing: seal it with a light coat of wood sealer, up, down and sides, then proceed to print. This will keep your work of art longer.

Joan M. Mas said...

Thanks for sharing your tip, Patty!

Fi said...

I'm really impressed by the quality of the line in these prints, fantastic. Please can you tell me what you used to incise the cardboard? I use a diamond drypoint tool normally when I make up a plate but am guessing you have used something else for this surface? I love the idea of saving my finger joints :p. Thanks for any help, Fi.

Fi said...

Just an update. Have been happily using this technique since my last post - obviously the joint issue disappears because the cardboard is so easy to incise. I tried both sealed and unsealed and prefer the latter but only when using a glossy card and Akua inks. Even with detailed work I am getting editions of 10-15. I will still use acrylic and copper plates too as they have different characteristics but am in love with the freedom and pace that this form offers. Thank you.

Patty said...

I ALSO USE AN X-ACTO KNIFE, SO YOU CAN CREATE MANY WIDES OF LINES BY LIFTING BETWEEN PARALLEL LINES AND THEN CAREFULLY PULL OUT THE CARBOARD BETWEEN THEM. ALSO YOU CAN CREATE DIFFERENT FORMS AND LIFT THE CARDBOARD TO GIVE MORE DIMMENSION. HAVE FUN

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