Wednesday, May 7, 2014

"A Closer Look" Printed and Colorized!

Artist At Work

My studio has been busy! These past few days I finished carving the block for the collaboration puzzle woodcut print Red Rock Canyon: A Closer Look.

Finished block, ready to print

Fast forward three days, printed proofs are beauties!

A very small edition, chillin' in the studio
Few printing problems, just like any other puzzle print, the blocks don't all behave the same when inked with a rather large roller. After a little tweaking, some begging and a lot of cursing, eventually it all works out. I basically maxed out the length of my press bed, the prints are 42 inches wide by 20 inches high.
I printed 10 "good ones" and am mulling the thought of printing about 6 more. Depends on how I feel in the next few days. Maybe that's just good enough!

Photoshop Colorizing Tricks

I planned this particular print as a hand-colored print so next step was to import the image into Adobe Photoshop to try out a few "watercolor" schemes. Briefly, I create a couple of layer-copies from the background, then by selecting the paper color and deleting the selection, I have a background layer and two additional layers with just black lines. 
I colorize the middle layer and leave the other copy on "top" to maintain the black line fresh. 

As I brush the transparent color (about 55%) over the lines on the color layer, the black lines of the woodcut get dimmed so the top line layer prevents the drawing from disappearing under the color.
Having the extra layer also allows me to "erase" some of the color (and consequently the black line) without affecting the top black-line layer.
The background remains in the...well, the background! and provides the nice tan paper color.

After trying out about three different color schemes and tweaking the hue and basically playing all day long, I came up with several finalists. My cats and my husband decided on the winning scheme. 
Next few days I break out the real watercolors and take brush to paper...wish me luck!
Red Rock Canyon: A Closer Look - the color grand plan!