Thursday, August 26, 2010
One drawback with the direct draw method is that the design will be reversed in printing, but with some years of practice it seems I have learned to "flip on my head" and end up drawing exactly a flipped version of what I really wanted.
Another simple method is to draw on tracing paper or any light weight paper. The drawing can thus be more elaborate and "worked" because the drawing and erasing is done off the block and can be tossed and redrawn infinite times before transferring to the woodblock.
In the case of tracing paper, the drawing can simply be pasted down on the block with rice paste and the carving proceeds right through the paper.
One of my favorite types of carbon paper is a red paper sold at http://www.imcclains.com/ that is soft and transfers even the slightest line. I am also the proud owner of a stack of about 400 sheets of old typing carbon paper picked up on eBay for about $2.98. Pressing down too hard when transferring with carbon paper can leave a dent in soft wood blocks.
I use laser transparency film and print on an ink-jet printer. The ink-jet ink remains wet and much care is needed not to drop it on the way from the printer to the studio, since it will invariably fall on its "face" (like the proverbial buttered toast) and will make a mess out of both the transparency and the floor. Not that that's ever happened to me.
In any case, the procedure is simply to work out the drawing or photo on the computer, print on the transparency, place the transparency face down on the block carefully and apply hand pressure to transfer the ink. Excellent detail can be achieved with this method.
Moving right along, this year I'm in an experimenting mood and I acquired some "Studio Paper" a wax coated paper, also from McClain's and a few sheets of iron-on transfer for ink-jets from my nearest office supply store. The last method, and the one I use most often now, is the traditional hanshita from Japan; I purchase prepared paper from the Baren Mall http://www.barenforum.org/ but it is easy enough to make my own.
The illustrated story of those last three methods in the next post, the dreaded sequel: Methods of transfering design to block Part Deux.