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Half-koban kakemono "Girl in dress" 
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Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:55 pm
Posts: 59
Post Half-koban kakemono "Girl in dress"
Hello,

Meanwhile my new blocks arrive and to use all the "old" size blocks for good, I've just finished selecting and coloring the design I will carve.

It's not mine as I got it from a public domain book [1] and customized it *a bit*.

[1] Girl from page 317 at https://archive.org/details/japanitsarchite00dresgoog

It's going to need 10 blocks (in my case 5 woodblock two-sided) which is more than the 4 that each design of *old* Taketori prints needed:
> Keyblock x 2
> Robes (pale pink) x 2
> Robes (pink) x 2
> Floor
> Sky
> Face + hair + shoe
> Geometric dress pattern (bottom reddish and top, though grey, probably will end up as embossing)

And here's the design:
Image

I will be updating the process.

Sincerely,
Franz


Mon Jun 30, 2014 6:05 pm
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Post Re: Half-koban kakemono "Girl in dress"
Since last message, some things have changed:

1st) My last woodblock provider prices raised up so high it's now cheaper for me to buy directly from Japan instead. That mixed with a travel I have this summer result in having no new block until September so I will have to administrate 'em better.

2nd) I realized I uploaded the wrong image (the proportions are not right). Here's the proper one:
Image

3rd) I've been able to "reduce" the required number of block by one (total is going to be 4 woodblocks two-sided) just mixing the robes into single blocks (instead of needing a whole woodblock for each): all "light pink" in one block and all "pink" in other.

4th) The geometric pattern design of the neck will definitively be embossed.

And, back on topic, here's the progress so far:

The keyblocks in one woodblock, yesterday morning:
Image
Image

The carving state on today morning [yesterday night], alongside with the carving tools [hangito knife, flat chisel, U-gouge) I have and, yes, emptying that whole sky-zone is going to be so funny with those huge tools...:
Image

The carving on today midday:
Image


I'll give another push tonight and we'll see if I can finish the first keyblock (hopefully).

Sincerely,
Franz


Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:51 pm
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Post Re: Half-koban kakemono "Girl in dress"
Franz, a couple of questions ...

1) Is this going to be printed on two separate sheets of paper - two prints that will be placed together for viewing? Or are you going to print it all on one long sheet?

2) I have a bit of bad news about your plans ... you have prepared the images on the block such that the woodgrain is running the short way of the image. This is going to cause trouble down the road. As this block ages, the wood will contract slightly across the grain, and almost not at all in the long direction. Also, as you moisten it for printing it will expand slightly, also in the across direction. For a long and tall print like this, the expansion/contraction may turn out to be a very large amount, when considered over the entire height of the design. Registration may become 'difficult' later on.

Paper - good quality hosho paper - also expands mostly in the 'across the grain' dimension, and only a little in the 'long' dimension. This is another reason why we always try to match the direction of the wood grain and the paper 'grain' ... rather than have them criss-cross, as you seem to be planning here ...


Wed Jul 02, 2014 11:51 pm
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Post Re: Half-koban kakemono "Girl in dress"
Ask as much as you want :-)

1) The idea (and therefore the composition) is to print two different sheets as it's meant to be a kakemono and not a tanzaku. That's why I left some overlapping in them so people can choose to cut from top or bottom print to present the final composition.

2) Thanks for the warning and info. I could tell an horror story about how I planned it to be that way but truth be told I didn't. But, for the first time since I have memory, I've been (to call it somehow) *half-lucky*. I've checked the other blocks and I can carve all of them *across* and, 'cause I still don't have neither hand nor a *sizing guy* to size the paper, all paper I can use is standard paper I can cut in the same *grain* direction. Of course, to avoid the problem when I finally can lay hands in the sized hosho, will be *marking* the print as "across-the-grain" printing (or simply slice the properly-cut koban by half and thus having the paper automatically *across*).

So... resuming, I didn't *plan* it but, except the problem of expansion/contraption height/width ratio you commented, there shouldn't be a major problem if I remember to cut the paper "across-the-grain"; if I've understood rightly what you wrote...


And today midday, I finished the first keyblock:
Image

I'm burning while waiting for a test print tonight... not just because I want to see how it went but also because I *fear* I will have to carve deeper in the sky... :(

Sincerely,
Franz

Off-topic: I got yesterday my last batch of your Ukiyo-e Heroes (Trouble Afoot, Flight of Fantasy, Infestation & Soul Eater) and all I can say is they are GORGEOUS!


Thu Jul 03, 2014 12:47 pm
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Post Re: Half-koban kakemono "Girl in dress"
Sorry for the delay but on Friday I went to finish my tattoo after morning working and in the weekend I had a family reunion (aka driving 1200 km for one day put).

Well, back on topic...

On Thursday night, I did the first tests on dry copy paper...
Image
Image

...and as I feared I had to recarve the block on Friday night, which still needs to be printed:
Image

Yesterday (Sunday), after coming home from the family reunion, I managed to work on the second keyblock:
Image

Side-note: I've been working on designs/prints in a "next-thing-to-learn" approach. First design (*old* Taketori #1) was meant to learn the basis (both carving and printing) and "registration". Second design (*old* Taketori #2) was meant to learn barenzuri and "copy elements from design into color blocks" (ie. the thunders in the sky where copied over a kyogo with my brush from a printed design).

This third design/print was meant to learn on multi-composition registration (diptych, triptych, etc. design continuity) and cloth pattern transfer (alas shown in the Ukiyo-e Heroes "Fox Moon" video)... but today it seems I'm going to need to learn another thing (which I don't have the slightest idea about) and it is "how to *fix* a woodblock damage" as I ripped apart part of the frame I forgot to cut while cleaning the wood excess...
Image

Any tip/advice on how to go for it? Thanks in advance :-)

Sincerely,
Franz


Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:36 am
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Post Re: Half-koban kakemono "Girl in dress"
Franz Rogar wrote:
Any tip/advice on how to go for it? Thanks in advance :-)

I think you've got access to the Your First Print eBook, no? :-) The is a spread there that shows one technique of fixing repairs. Your photo is kind of blurry, so I'm not sure how bad the damage is. If it's extensive, you'll need to insert a new chunk of wood. My friend John Amoss prepared these illustrations some years ago, showing the process ... http://barenforum.org/encyclopedia/entr ... 06_04.html


Mon Jul 07, 2014 11:23 am
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Post Re: Half-koban kakemono "Girl in dress"
Well... yes, I do have access to the Your First Print eBook :oops: I forgot completely about it because I keep it in a *safe* external HDD (so I won't loose it). Thanks for the reminder :-)

Sorry for the photo quality but my pulse is not good enough on dim light (I've thalassemia and my pulse is never good). About the damage, is ~1.5 cm long so probably I will follow your friend's (wonderful) guidelines and insert a chunk. 'case I don't have spare wood, I will cut it from one of the corners of it.

I will be using a *waterproof glue for porous materials* (which wood is part of) to glue it down and, after that, I will *draw* the restored line with a rule.

I will do it tonight so we'll see how it ends up tomorrow (after glue dries) and probably will be testing the keyblock tomorrow night (needs 24 h min. so the glue became waterproof).


After the whole of it, to print the 8 kyogos (sky, floor, face+shoe, hair, top robe pink, bottom robe pink, top robe light pink and bottom robe light pink) & the pattern sheet and start carving again (what a joy!) 'cause I do already have the color separation prepared.

What I'm not sure at all (and probably is a Bad_Idea™ ) is to have the face and shoe in the same kyogo. I mean, for registration issues. I think I should have 3 registration marks in the same block, one for each element: face, hair and shoe. Which probably will be how I will do it.


Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:02 pm
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Post Re: Half-koban kakemono "Girl in dress"
And the result is... well, not perfect but for a primer *good enough* I think. We'll see tonight with the test print (when the glue became complete waterproof).

The process was not as painful as I thought, though it wasn't fearless either as I had to cut the wood from the block having the first keyblock on the other face and the second keyblock near to were I had to chip the wood off.

I had to make some adjustments (making the *damage* bigger so the wood surface contact would be bigger too, emptying the base space irregularly 'cause the chunks weren't flat at all, etc.) but I think it will do the trick.

The top part of the fix is perfectly tight and there's no continuity problems; but the bottom one has a minimum space between the fix and the keyblock. Hopefully, when the wood expands under the water application, it will be unnoticeable.

Yesterday night, with the chunk just inserted:
Image

Today morning, with the design fixed:
Image

Hope you find it interesting at least.

Sincerely,
Franz


Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:51 am
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Post Re: Half-koban kakemono "Girl in dress"
Looks like a pretty good repair job ... who knows, it might even be 'invisible' in the finished print!


Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:05 am
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Post Re: Half-koban kakemono "Girl in dress"
Thank you very much for your kind words :-) And, you were right, it's almost unnoticeable in the final print :-D

Here's a closer image of the patch:
Image

In the test prints, there's some blot paper from the hanshita but after the printing & cleaning & recarving some small parts, it's OK. And here's the final composition... It looks nice (I hope not to damage it any further ;-) ):
Image

And, here are the color blocks prepared (top & bottom). The third one front (shoe, face and hair) has the different colors too close (I realized after pasting the kyogos) but I hadn't the problem in the other blocks. The first one back is the "violet" with the pattern cloth and the third one back is the one of the geometric patterns (which will be added afterwards when I can get hands on a printer [mine is 500 km far from he right now]):
Image
Image

Hope you like it :-) I will start working on the color blocks tonight (probably with the "sky" and "floor" woodblock).

Sincerely,
Franz


Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:45 pm
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Post Re: Half-koban kakemono "Girl in dress"
Franz, those colour zones are indeed much too close. It's not just a question of whether or not you will be able to rub colour on the block without hitting the neighbouring area - it's a huge problem for the baren. This will inevitably 'hit' the nearby carved wood, leaving unsightly marks on the front of the print in an area where there should be none ...


Wed Jul 09, 2014 11:58 pm
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Post Re: Half-koban kakemono "Girl in dress"
I feared so; so I re-positioned them this morning. This is the most far distance between them because hair, head and foot are in the similar paper position.

Here's a pic of the front of the two blocks I worked yesterday night and today morning. I thought I took another one of the back (with the carved sky and with the carved geometric pattern [without the patterns on top yet, just the surface]) but or I didn't or the mobile ate it...
Image

I will post the *back*end photo this night with the geometric pattern on it probably (or already carved) 'cause I went to a printer shop and got the pattern on the a double-sheet (sumi-e paper glued on top of copy paper).


Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:28 pm
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Post Re: Half-koban kakemono "Girl in dress"
And here I go again...

The back side of the two blocks shown as of yesterday:
Image

The geometric pattern hanshita pasted on the second block back:
Image

And the other cloth pattern pasted and with some paper removed showing how clear it ends (almost like the gampi paper):
Image

All these images are taken or yesterday night or today morning 'cause I didn't have much spare time. I will be carving them this evening so this night will be new images :-)

It seems I'm learning to keep the emptied zone much soft and smooth than in previous carving (which could stuck a splinter of wood in your finger if you slip it over the surface). I hope I learnt how deep to carve alongside... but we'll see that when I test print the woodblocks.


Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:50 am
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Post Re: Half-koban kakemono "Girl in dress"
And another thing I've learnt: do not paste the kyogos at 1:00 AM... or you might end as I did. I mixed the *top* cloth color separations: top violet + bottom rose in one side of the woodblock and viceversa.

When I did realized? When I carved half the cloth pattern in the top rose (which didn't had it)... Well, it's not dramatic as it doesn't affect too much (in fact it will only change the color in the folded cloth at the neck) but it was a huge mistake.

I will be much more careful next time...

And, here it is. The cloth patterns carved at last (half yesterday and half today) :-)
Image


Sat Jul 12, 2014 2:38 pm
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Post Re: Half-koban kakemono "Girl in dress"
And today update.

Apart from discovering a "hidden blemish" in the wood near the embossing of the neck (the most delicate part of the whole design where else to be!) the carving is at 6.5/8 blocks.

So, probably I'll finish the carving tomorrow and after tomorrow I'll make the first prints...

Image
Image

Hope you like it :-)


Sun Jul 13, 2014 10:01 pm
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Post Re: Half-koban kakemono "Girl in dress"
Franz, for the block that prints the background colour at the base of the design, I think you'll have to clear out some more of the waste wood in the clothing area - as I mentioned before, even if the colouring brush doesn't hit it, leaving stains on the print, the baren will certainly touch that area, leaving unwanted marks on the front of the paper. I guess you are leaving some wood there as support for the paper, but it's not all that wide an area, and as long as the paper isn't too wet and soggy, it should not fall down into the carved zone ...


Sun Jul 13, 2014 10:24 pm
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Post Re: Half-koban kakemono "Girl in dress"
Thanks Dave for the warning and yes, I left it as support. That was one of the first carved blocks for this print, so I didn't had that concern in mind. I will recarve it further later.

Yesterday, it was a very hot day here (43 celsius degrees) and had to over-work too so I couldn't finish on time what I expected and in the night it was a "tropical night" (more than 23 celsius, in fact we had 28 degrees, which didn't help either to work in anything). Today morning, I was able to finish the geometric patterns and start carving the last block (the pink dress). There they are:
Image

I do hope the hidden blemish in the wood near the geometric pattern of the neck doesn't evolve any further with the humidity... we'll see.

So, I guess I'll finish the carvings tonight and start test printing tomorrow morning at last :-)


Tue Jul 15, 2014 2:25 pm
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Post Re: Half-koban kakemono "Girl in dress"
Well, I think I'll never say *I plan to do this at this time* 'cause each and every time I spit it out something goes wrong. Yesterday, we *enjoyed* 31 celsius degrees at 00:30 AM... so I had to finish the final block and recarving the *floor* block today morning:
Image

And, at last, just from the *oven* (we're at 43 celsius degrees right now) and being a *dry* printing (not just because the paper was dry when printing but because even the woodblock dries no matter how fast you try to print or how wet you left it...). I've other prints with better bokashi but the other colors failed. These one are the ones (on copy paper) that match better:
Image

And I did love the embossing (will try to take a pic later with better prints). I hope you like it (and with water and good paper it will be much better).


Thu Jul 17, 2014 6:16 pm
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Post Re: Half-koban kakemono "Girl in dress"
Heh-heh ... this is fun! I'm very much looking forward to seeing it on real paper ... Have you got a nice long brush to do that top gradation with?


Fri Jul 18, 2014 10:06 pm
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Post Re: Half-koban kakemono "Girl in dress"
Fun indeed :-)

Sorry for the delay in answering but got holidays and family trip inbetween. I'm back so... go back to pleasure-bussiness ;-)

Printing on real papel will be possible in a month or less (as I've already ordered new carving tools & materials and sized hosho) so I'm also burning in desire to lay hands down and start printing.

I did, nonetheless, some prints the last weekend but with a 10% humidity in the air, it was impossible to have a proper bokashi because both woodblock and paper dried too fast. Also, I gave to sizing another try... just as painful as I remembered... I don't have the prints here so I will post some photos later on. I think that the color pattern will be the one I tried on this test prints (a neighbour told be so) which is basically rose-red-pink-magenta. Maybe I'll try some yellow-blue-morango too.

And... answering your question about the brush... Well, it's not just my lack of expertice and the extremely dry air while printing the "why the bokashi didn't end properly executed", but my "color" brushes are only 4,5 cm long (I've four of them for basic colors)... the one I could afford at that time. The 5,5 is black-only.

Also, another thing to mention, is that my baren is a 4-cord fiber core for fine printing and cheap one... again, the one I could afford at that time. Two new handknitted 11 cm nylon-fiber fine & big Murasaki barens will help in the printing process.

As I've posted some photos of my carving tools, here are my printing tools ATM ('cause new ones are on the way). Nothing impressive but they do their work. (And yes, that terrible baren wrapping is my first takenokawa replacement...)
Image


Wed Sep 10, 2014 12:06 pm
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