Keeping Crafty: Jagalchi Woodcut Finale!

Here it is, the final steps to my jagalchi woodcut!

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Tracing the outline, ft. Kitty washi tape from Japan!
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Transferred to the wood block using the good old "rub the tracing paper so hard your knuckles bleed" method.
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Carving much more lightly today. I think a lighter touch created a much nicer result (apparently prying the board apart is NOT the way to go!)
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Patch of ink to test. Most recommend a light wash of india ink before carving...didn't have any.
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The black plate before printing
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All three plates ready to go! I made a jerry rig out of foam to center the print consistently. Unfortunately, the red and green boards curved over night, making the rig more or less useless.
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First prints looking.....meh. Honestly, I was very unhappy with how they turned out. The paint was very tacky and dried on the roller before I could make my print! To compensate, I had to use a LOT of ink per print. I tried watering it down to add some moisture, but all that did was make it run into the small details and obliterate them into blobs. The ink was so tacky that it left a visible layer on the page.
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The black plate before printing
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After only 8 prints! Painstaking details gone. The first prints were very spotty (ink did not transfer well), hit a sweet spot and produced one very good print, then the lines became blubbery and messy, producing very chunky prints. Unlike Linoleum, I couldn't really wash off the block between prints. The wood curling overnight did not help either. Moreover, the paper I chose was pretty grainy and stiff and didn't take ink well either.
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The ink left a spiky, almost foam-like residue on the block. These "spikes" appear on the prints themselves, and giving them a "popcorn ceiling" texture.
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The brand in question. I bought this at Tokyu hands for roughly $14 CAD. The colour variety is nice, the size is convenient, and it's better than having no ink at all, which was my previous situation, but I have so say I really am disappointed with how the bad quality of this ink impacted my prints. I have read on other blogs that the tackiness/quick dry problem is inherent in most water-based inks, and is remedied by printing on dampened paper, but....ain't nobody got time for that! Time to experiment with oil based ink?
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The very first print of the set. Very satisfied with my line work and alignment, but spotty ink transfer muddles the image.
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The best print of the bunch. A little bit of chatter on the outside, but the lines look great, colours are bold, and the alignment is spot on. Shame the mesh didn't show in the green sections, after so much hard work γ… γ……γ… 

All in all, I give this project a C+ for the result. The wood and ink were definitely of poor/cheap quality, which I think contributed to its meh appearance (although I can’t discount the hack carving job I did on the first two plates). There was definitely a transitional hump between eraser carving techniques (cutting rather vertically with a knife) and woodcut (planing horizontally with the tool), which caused me to wear out my tools pretty badly. BUT, I did learn a lot about technique, particularly drafting and carving  (as opposed to cutting), and am curious to experiment more with wood. I’m very pleased with the concept/draft of this print, and am definitely going to make it again with linoleum this time as a comparison. So, although I rate the aesthetic result pretty low, I rate the learning experience an A+. It didn’t leave me in awe going, “Wow, I’m really talented!” and patting myself on the back, but more, “Hmmmmmm…I see where I went wrong here. Back to the drawing board!”

To the drawing board, we go!


5 thoughts on “Keeping Crafty: Jagalchi Woodcut Finale!

  1. We learn with you! I haven’t done this sort of thing since college days, so it’s fascinating to see the process and what issues come up. I love the illustration despite the glitches.

    Like

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