Pattern

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Close up of etching

Close up of etching

This week I have been working on a collaborative etching project with my dad, calligrapher Duncan Tolmie. He has recently been experimenting with pointed pen style lettering – a more modern, informal calligraphy style. Lettering has a special affinity with traditional printmaking and I thought this new contemporary calligraphy with its free flowing curves and spontaneous marks would would work beautifully as an intaglio print. During a ransack of my dad’s sketchbook I came across a Picasso quote which became the starting point for our first calligraphic etching.

Sketchbook excerpt

Sketchbook excerpt

To transfer the design accurately, I printed the calligraphic lettering onto acetate and exposed the image onto the surface of the plate coated in photo-sensitive film. In the studio we aquatinted the plate then etched the lettering to a deep tone. After printing the first proof I recoated the plate in a wax ground and my dad drew some flourishes around the text with a very fine etching needle. This pattern was lightly etched and then the plate was inked up in viridian green and aquamarine to make a subtle gradient. I left some ink on the surface of the plate, particularly around the text, so there would be a subtle vignette and some tone in the background.

Calligraphic etching

Calligraphic etching

I also made a couple of smaller plates etched with the word ‘breathe’ which we inked in various colours. More to follow on these later….

Here is an image of my new fox etching with tribal style pattern. The etching (shown on the right) was based on a pen drawing from my sketchbook (pictured on the left).

Pen drawing & final etching/aquatint

Pen drawing & final etching/aquatint

 

The initial pen drawing was created with Copic Multiliners – mainly 0.03mm and 0.05mm with a thicker nib to shade the patterning.  For the etching, I coated a zinc plate in a hard wax ground then used a very fine etching needle to create a detailed line drawing. The plate was then bitten for about 8 mins in 1:5 nitric. Afterwards, I coated the plate in aquatint resin and stopped out areas to achieve a range of tonal values – the total biting time in 1:15 was about 5 minutes.

The next stage will probably be to experiment with some watercolour washes.

Close up of final print

Close up of final print

 

 

New design in my series of watercolour mandalas.

mandala-green-orange

 

mandala-art

This painting is part of a series of pattern-based watercolours. It’s as much a therapeutic exercise as anything else. If I was a calm and relaxed person I would meditate. I would lie down by a trickling stream and let thoughts float out of my head like little fluffy clouds. Sadly, my inner thoughts are unruly and demanding – not the sort to be tricked into a quiet exit through a side door. So, instead of lying sedately and attempting to set my mind to zero, I immerse myself in right brain activity. If I am really at a low ebb then I hoover. You are probably thinking ‘This is exactly the kind of person who needs to meditate’. You are probably right.