Mom’s birthday is Saturday and she’s coming up to visit. She’s always loaning out her books (she’s an English teacher) and never remembering who has them or getting them back. So I made her a pile of bookplates. Well, 30. Maybe I’ll do more tomorrow, we’ll see.
I’ve had a lot of trouble with the ink when block printing in the past (it was always too thick, but if I didn’t put it on so thick, it wouldn’t print, and so it was always all clumpy and lumpy and awful,) and so I did a bunch of reading up before I did this run. Whatever it was that fixed my earlier problems, I do not know, because I changed almost everything, but it was a lot better this time around. One thing I did try that clearly helped a ton was to dampen the paper before the print. I bought new ink for this – just Speedball black, but I think it might be a notch better than the stuff I was using before (smelled different, anyway) – and I got a soft brayer instead of my old hard one, which I also think helped a lot. I still haven’t found what I would call an ideal substrate, but the Utrecht generic Easy Cut stuff did me all right this time. Far from perfect but far from lousy, too. Lots better than that beige true linoleum I used to use ages ago, that dried out constantly.
Most of the prints are on mulberry paper for sumi-e. It’s incredibly thin and porous – the ink comes out the back side of the paper as you press. But it looks super and it should work out well for bookplates, I think. I did a few on watercolor paper too.
Here’s the result on the left and the drawing on the left (drawn normally and flipped so I could use it for reference. I also coated a piece of tracing paper with graphite and traced my drawing onto the block, with very blurry results – redrew the whole thing with pen onto the block before carving) –