Thursday, August 30, 2012

Playing with colors on the drunken bee print

After the key block is pasted and the design cut (which it isn't!), I transfer the cut design with registration marks included to the color blocks. Again, I don't always work this way and often times prefer to work with a registration jig.
Search for registration jig on this blog or my website to see how to make one.
http://1000woodcuts.blogspot.com/2010/04/registration-simplified.html
or check my website's Studio Notes section for two notes on registration at the bottom of the page:
http://1000woodcuts.com/studio/method.html

But the traditional Japanese method "calls" for carving the registration kento right on the block. My preference is to carve the marks first and then transfer key block, kento and all, to the color blocks. I will post later on how to carve a perfect kento every time!

Back to the color decisions, I tend to print too "primary" most of the time and envy off-color combinations of other artists. To a point, moku-hanga takes care of the too-primary issue due to the delicacy of the resulting color applications.
But it doesn't hurt to "play" first, again in Photoshop, and see the mood change as I darken, lighten, raise or lower color channels, desaturate...

One filter that I have found invaluable in converting a retouched photograph into something "woodcut-able" is the Artistic>Poster Edges filter. Play with it!

In that composite of four versions, from RIGHT to left:

-After cutting out one flower from the original photo, enhancing the main flower with brushes and eliminating most of the background noise. I enhanced the contrast and ran through a magenta photo filter.

-A desaturated, sharpened and lightened version, probably the one that will be closer to the final version.

-Blue and cyan enhanced, brilliance and contrast enhanced. Selected flowers and gave them a magenta filter without including the background.

-Yellow variation, green enhanced, lighter.

How about that, something for every taste? I suppose if I was making an oil based print or a painting I would choose the bluer version, maybe! Now, back to the studio to put my hands to "real" work carving the cherrywood.