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[Forest in Summer - 8] : Another one bites the dust ...

Posted by Dave Bull at 10:16 AM, June 19, 2009

Continued from [Forest in Summer - 7] | Starting point of the thread is [Forest in Summer - 1]

There have been a few interruptions over the past couple of days (interview Wednesday, gardening on Thursday ...), but the next block (the second tone on the tree) is now done:

Here's a closeup of part of the tangle of grasses. You can see the 'random' cuttings that will form texture on the tree trunk later ...

Here's the latest update on the working hour totals:

1st block (image) : 17.5 hours
2nd block (image) : 17 hours
3rd block (image) : 15 hours
4th block (image) : 22 hours

Interesting that the third and fourth blocks really only differ in the dotted texturing here and there, but that's still a whole extra day's work ...

Now ...

... before I can get going on the carving of the next block, I have to do that quick test printing job that I mentioned in the comments the other day. I need to run a proof with the four blocks that are finished so far, to see if there are any 'white spots' in the image. If there are, I will have to make sure that the next block covers those up.

Registration on this print is going to be finicky, to say the least; I basically have to get it perfect every time, and once the edition printing starts, there will be around 20 or so impressions. I need to get the paper absolutely 'locked' into the corner perfectly accurately for each impression, and there is no way that I can do that 'by eye'. It is far more accurate to place the sheets into the registration marks by 'feel' ...

So after cutting the paper to the correct dimensions, but before moistening it, I brush some clear nail polish on each sheet in two locations - matching the registration marks - to 'harden' it.

It dries completely clearly, but if you hold the sheet up to the light, you can see the hardened corner:

... and you can certainly feel it! It stays hard even after being moistened, and each sheet then goes into the corner registration mark with a firm 'click'. This greatly simplifies registration pressure ... (This isn't an original idea of mine - it's from the 'good old days'. The printers back then had no nail polish of course, so they 'borrowed' some urushi from a neighbourhood lacquer-ware maker ...)

I'll be doing this test printing tomorrow morning, and once the results are in, carving will begin on the next block. Something to mention about that one ...

My usual practice is to do the most time-consuming blocks first. I'm trying to be a 'good boy' by doing that - I can be a pretty good procrastinator sometimes, and this policy helps me avoid 'time trouble' (coordinating story preparation, book-binding, shipping preparation, etc. depends on having a fairly good estimate of when something will be ready ...)

I might suppose that by looking at the four blocks finished so far, you are probably thinking that I have followed my usual procedure this time too.

If only.

Here are the next two ... the third level of tone on the tree (which also deepens some of the grass areas). Yet another run through the grass cutouts, and a million acres of texturing!

And then the deepest 'darklight' areas (how come we have no easy word that is the opposite of 'highlight'?). This is the killer. Most of the texturing on the previous blocks is 'cutting out' - this is the other way around; the dots are being 'left behind', and this is far more time-consuming ...

I said something a few posts back about 'let's see how far we can push this one ...'

No kidding!

Our running total of time spent so far is 71.5 hours ... which is an average of just about 18 hours per block. Any bets on what that average is going to be by the time these two are done?

The thread continues in [Forest in Summer - 9] ...


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