Designing for a Commercial Commission – Part 2 – handcolouring

It took over 50 hours of solid work to get to this printing stage from the final original design drawings, through the carving and printing processes .

The oil based ink takes a couple of days to dry – although I do hurry a not so successful print along a bit with a heater and use this print to do the first handcoloured sample – about a day instead of 3-7 days depending on the weather. The first colour ‘proof’ is simply a chance to work on colours and experiment – making notes (usually on the actual print edges) for future reference.

This waiting time can get a bit tedious – I’m sure you all know of waiting on paint to dry…it sometimes, if it is cooler wet weather take at least a full week.

So when you have a tight schedule or deadline make sure you allow time for the ink to dry – be aware of the weather and the fact it takes longer to dry in cool moist weather.

Fortunately with printmaking we are using thin even layers (well hopefully – many a print has been discarded due to uneven inking of the block…frustrating at times, and costly) but it still takes time to dry.

The reason for using oil based inks is so that when I handpaint with traditional artist watercolours the oil based ink of the printed area repels the watercolour.

If you were to use a waterbased ink (which dries quickly and cleans up with water) then when you come to handpaint it also dissolves the water based ink. You get such a lovely lustrous black with the oil based ink which highlights the colour of the transparent watercolour which I also like.

Anyway…in the meantime I have usually completed a colour proof of the heater dried print – probably not the best for the paper but it is only a working proof (see above for the partial image). It is a working proof which means I record the colours used on the print (just by penciling them in on the border and sometimes painting a little square of colour) and note any changes I would make on the final editioned prints. Below is the ‘proof’ colours.

Copyright – Lynette Weir
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