Your First Print : Support Forum

Half-koban kakemono "Girl in dress"
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Author:  David Bull [ Wed Sep 10, 2014 10:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Half-koban kakemono "Girl in dress"

Yes, if those are the only tools you have, making an ambitious print like this is not going to be easy!

A normal 'rule' for this type of printmaking is to use the largest brush possible for any given block. If the brush is too small, you spend far too much time rubbing around here and there, trying to get good coverage, not to mention that it simply doesn't hold enough pigment, and you have to keep reapplying …

Your re-tying job doesn't look so bad; way better than many of my own first attempts!

Author:  Franz Rogar [ Thu Sep 11, 2014 12:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Half-koban kakemono "Girl in dress"

I know (truly know 'cause I'm trying to print it...) The problems you mention are the ones that make printing with these tools a hell:
> Wasting time spreading pigment implies the woodblock dries
> Not holding enough pigment implies I always have to reapply pigment for each and every print

Well, the second problem I have it almost solved as I'm able to have consistent color density between prints but the first problem (plus the dry air) is making me suffer... So, I'm trying to add a new brush to my order (only one, a 10,7 cm, which is what I can afford now after all that I've already ordered).

Thanks for your comment :-) The hardest part (apart from needing a third hand for the tying itself) was to know when to stop rubbing the skin... My arm aches when I look at the rounded stone I used to rub the bamboo (which I use as paperweight on the table :roll: )

Here is a photo of some test prints. Basically, they show:
> Nº 1 had the "keyblock" printed the last, which helps in "hidding" the extremely yellow hair (which can be seen on nº 2)
> Nº 2 shows the color I will use in the prints (when the true paper arrives)
> Nº 3 show a try on barenzuji for the sky... which will probably won't be on the final print (but it's a try at least)
> Nº 4 show a better bokashi (the light kills some of the softer parts but the gradient is almost properly done). I want to remember this was one of the first test prints (when the summer hadn't arrive yet).

Also, nº 1 is of my last batch of "size it yourself"-test sheets. Comparing to the first time, at least, now they're not transparent... but still unusable (too stiff). Luckily sized hosho sheets will arrive soon...

Author:  Franz Rogar [ Mon Oct 27, 2014 2:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Half-koban kakemono "Girl in dress"


Finally, I could run a batch of test prints using the *yellowish* sized hosho. The first thing I noticed was the thickness of the paper... which proved, just in the first woodblock, to be a problem (these woodblocks were carved with the old tools and with only thin paper available so I didn't take care of how deep to carve).

As I wrote, just after the first color printed (I print the black the last to avoid spreading black pigment onto the color blocks for test print), I noticed heavy marks (now I know why you wrote saying so much support wood wasn't necessary at all...) and pigment transfer unneeded... So, after test printing 8 sheets (4 full print, as this design is double), I recarved all blocks (forgot to take a picture, will post later tonight) and run another 12 sheets (6 full print) which are now drying.

Of all the process, I learned many things:
> It's more important to carve at a better angle than deeper
> The camellia oil is truly needed... if you forget to apply you might destroy the paper (forgot to take photos of the back, will add to this late-night image pool) rubbing with the baren
> The wood that have been already printed is a nightmare to recarve (you'll see in the photos tonight)
> The knife, 3 different sizes bullnose chisel and the shallow gauge are the *basic* tools (less is a living hell)
> Printing on a thick paper needs extra caution 'cause sharp lines in the wood will "transfer" to the print yes or yes...
> Spreading the pigment is not needed in the registration marks at all... (so no brush brush brush without thinking at all)

And, after the prologue, the meat:

1 - This was the first print set. Apart from the obvious problems and related nightmares, I tried to "join" the print. Literally, they are glued with a dip of carpenters' glue. I'm null cutting properly, so the design at the join got a bit misplaced.

2 - Here are the 2nd and 3rd prints. I haven't used the new big brush yet (all is done with the small ones) 'cause my idea was to test registration and other things.

3 - This was my first idea for presentation. I've not ditched it for good. Basically, the middle "small corners" would hold the top print with the bottom one at its back, tightening both and letting you hang it wherever you wanted. I ditched this design because of the glue and the difficulties to properly adjust the print.

4 - And this is the presentation I think will work best. The outer is a basic folder and the "holder" is a single piece for top and bottom prints.

5 - You can see the "holder" opened so you can place it wherever you want. I didn't trim the prints so people can choose to cut top, bottom, both or none.

6 - Here, you can see there's a 0,5 cm fold locked. This is meant for when you unfold the holder the print overlap itself (for continuity reasons).

And, well, I hope you like these test prints. Their behavior is so different from the paper I've used so far... I'm still not sure if I printed it hard enough or too hard...

Well, later tonight, photos of the recarved blocks (side of the old ones if I find the pics), and some of the prints back showing the wear of the back (though I used camellia oil, but probably not enough oil).

Author:  Franz Rogar [ Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Half-koban kakemono "Girl in dress"

Well... one day of delay but, here they are, the promised photos.

First, the back of the first test prints. While printing the second, I noticed that the damage appears not on the zone I'm rubbing in but into the paper that is not... Hard to explain. Anyway, here is the photo:

And... before the comparison between "new vs old", some info. I will post some photos of the second batch tomorrow (probably) and will run a third after some minor carving needed (I forgot to remove some wood near the lines...) and hopefully, it will be a "OK, not perfect, but nice"-status for the prints :-) Without having to cut the koban sheets I have (for the Taketori series), I can print another 20 prints (full doubles) so I think the 3rd run will be of 5 complete prints (just in case something goes wrong) and the 4th (and hopefully the perfect one) will be of 15 full prints. I'm still not sure what kind of paper will use for the mounting but I think black cardboard for the prints and tan-ish for the cover would be a nice match...

And, at last, the photo... which is quite large... just scroll down for a...

...for a "thanks for reading" :-)

Author:  Franz Rogar [ Mon Nov 03, 2014 6:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Half-koban kakemono "Girl in dress"

Well, I waited until having had printed the third batch, 'cause I think a "1st, 2nd and 3rd" side-by-side comparison would be better than just pics of the 2nd print run. Here it is.
The improvement, IMHO, is *good-enough*. Problem is the thickness of the paper. The 3a and 3b test print run differs in the paper. The 3a is the sized hosho and the 3b is some sheets I got in a Japanese basic printing kit. It's strange. It's thin and machine-made, pure white. It has not enough dosa but is printable; and it's alive... like silk.

Also, another thing I have problems with is the thickness of the paper. On the next photo, you can see the paper you, Dave, use is much, much thinner... How would "flatting" the sheets a bit before printing would affect the printing process?
The sized hosho is (a), which is a 25 monme (~100 g/m2 if I'm not wrong). The paper (b) is a unknown Japanese paper. And, of course, THE paper... (c) from one of the Ukiyo-e Heroes Chibi... Stiff, thin, soft, wonderful...
I wrote about the sized hosho being yellowish. Well, side to side to Ichibei-san paper, it's almost the same color (didn't notice that).

When working with the paper, if when you align it to the kento marks, the paper should *flow* to the block, am I right? I mean, it should not make a fold in the paper... Would that mean "not enough wet, the paper"?

Thanks :-)

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