My first objective in this project was to produce a clean, well registered two colour print from positive and negative masks. Simple, huh? My first attempts at registering a second colour properly were really poor. For this inital attempt, I was trying to line up one edge when I dropped the plate down at an angle. How did I do that?
As this was using a thin plastic stencil, and the halo caused by the slight thickness was doubled with the pos and neg image. I like the halo, and the two analogous colours. This method of registration seems to require a degree of eye/hand coordination I lack. I like the effects of misregistation, but, unfortunately, the prints are spoilt by the lack of a clean plate mark.
This next print was reasonably registered but had a ‘shadow’ because I didn’t place the stencil down smoothly and also a halo. I thought I could turn it to my advantage by printing a third transparent colour over the top with addition stencils and achieve four colours. To aid transparency, I extended the ink, but, unfortunately, this made the ink too gloopy and I couldn’t roll an even texture. Also, with my student rollers, I can’t cover the plate without lines at the roller edge and an offset from the edge of the plate. Frustrating.
I wanted to explore a different registration technique. For this print, I tried drawing around the plate on paper on the press bed, and keeping the paper pinched.
The floppy, complex paper stencil didn’t land cleanly for the second print, and for some reason, the print paper creased badly as it went through the press a second time. Perhaps the paper had dried out too much between passes (about 5 mins) or perhaps I had soaked it too much to start with.
I really like the stencils using the human figure. These seem to me to have an extra degree of interest and allow the viewer to exercise imagination. I went on a life drawing session last week (see ) and thought I might utilise some of the shapes. I photographed my originals and isolated some of the shapes, drawing over to develop a stencil. Most didn’t work because of the partial outlines, but I thought this one interesting.
I decided to position her to one side of the plate so that she is pointing into the space. I had acquired more newsprint so this stencil was cut from that, but the negative stencil was in two pieces, of course, so an extra registration problem.
This time I tried a different registration technique. I did a positive print, then placed the other stencil on top of it and two flat pieces of metal along the edges at one corner. I then inked my plate an nudging it into the metal corner, dropped it onto the stenciled paper. I pressed the plate down to stick it to the paper, and carefully flipped it before placing the package on the press. This had the advantage that I could accurately position my stencils (to a fraction of a mm).
In my first attempt, the stencil creased, spoiling an otherwise good print.
These are my two best attempts but each has a slight smudge at the corner from placing the plate down, and even with this method, I can’t place the stencils accurately enough. I am not sure how to improve on my registration at present, for a really professional finish. I prefer the orange figure on the turquoise background, but, truth be told, I find these rather flat and dull.