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Blotchy Prints
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Author:  Tom Berry [ Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:02 am ]
Post subject:  Blotchy Prints

Hi There,

I'm having some problems getting the uniform smooth colours that are so attractive in japanese woodblock printing.

At the moment, most of what print is pretty blotchy. I have tried very little water, lots of water, different papers, dry/wet papers, and differing amounts of pigment, all largely to no avail - I did have some improvement with using lots more paste.

Materials:
Magnolia wood
powder based inks mixed with water & alcohol
methyl cellulose paste (I also made one from flour)
plastic baren
ho sho paper

I wonder if the glue I used to stick my original outlines to the woodblocks may be ruining the printed surface in some way? had a permanent mounting spray, so used that..

Will upload some photographs as soon as I get my hands on a camera, in the meantime any advice or observations would be much appreciated -

Thankyou!

Author:  David Bull [ Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Blotchy Prints

Hi Tom,

It sounds from your description as though there is too much loose water in the mix. Either the pigment mix is too watery, or your brush is too wet. The pigment (usually) should be of a consistency that wouldn't quickly pour out of the bowl if it were knocked over. You can see a typical example at around 4:50 in this video I posted recently on YouTube.

Author:  Tom Berry [ Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Blotchy Prints

Thankyou David.

I did try with quite a dry pigment but maybe there was too much water on the brushes & block by that time. I will try with a drier pigment and let you know how it progresses.

Tom

Attachments:
IMG_3268.jpg
IMG_3268.jpg [ 156.04 KiB | Viewed 18134 times ]

Author:  David Bull [ Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Blotchy Prints

It's really difficult to tell from looking at your image, but perhaps the paper was too dry? The paper has to be quite 'soft' (not particularly 'wet'), with the same level of moisture/softness across the entire surface. Did you moisten it at least a few hours before trying to print? (We usually do ours the evening before a printing session ...)

Author:  Tom Berry [ Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Blotchy Prints

Hi David,

Thank you for getting back to me so quickly.
Yes I have moistened the paper overnight and consistently get blotchy prints.
Could the permanent glue that I used to paste my hanshita to the block be dispersing the pigment? I suspect that might be the problem although I heard that sometimes people varnish their wood blocks, so I could be wrong.. I'm going to try with a water soluble glue instead, will report my results !

Author:  David Bull [ Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Blotchy Prints

Tom Berry wrote:
Could the permanent glue that I used to paste my hanshita to the block be dispersing the pigment?

Not sure ... I have never had any problem with such a thing. I use strong white wood glue to paste my hanshita down, and it seems to wash off easily.

When you brush the pigment over the block, does it seem to sink in properly ( to the wood )? Perhaps try lightly sanding some areas to see if it affects the situation.

Author:  Tom Berry [ Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Blotchy Prints

Hi again David,

I tried a different glue and had the same problem, so it wasn't that.
I will try sanding - thanks for your help

Tom

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