I had the opportunity to get together with some friends to experiment with different kinds of prints. We made collagraphs — You can see an example of my block above. These can be done in a number of ways. You can find a definition and some basic instructions here. We used railroad board (a thin type of poster board) and just cut out shapes and glued them with Elmer’s glue (use your finder to make a very thin layer of glue). Then you ink up the plate (the board that is your base) with an ink roller and ink (we used water based ink for easy cleanup) and print on some paper. So easy!
What to print? Just use one of your sketches from your sketchbook and break it down to basic shapes and print! You’ll be surprised at how great they look. So simple to do, but so fun! I know I will experiment with this more.
We also played around with Geli plates. You can view a very good basic how-to on YouTube here. We, however, did not use acrylic paints; we used the water based printing ink on all of our prints and we preferred that for better blending and easier clean-up. It was just all around easier to work with.
The next type of printing we explored was a version of linoleum block printing without the difficulty of carving into linoleum. We used Speedball Speedy Carve blocks and linoleum cutters. Just remember to always cut away from your hands! There are video how-to links on the same page where you purchase the Speedy Carve Blocks.
I used a simple flower drawing with line details on my block as you can see above. Then I printed it several ways, even adding it to earlier Geli prints.
Suggestions for Making Art with Friends
Have 2 people in charge of scheduling, materials and timing. When to move from one type of activity to another can be adjusted, but having 2 people responsible for the setup and directions keeps the flow going without one person feeling like they’re having to do everything. Also, help each other clean up between each type of activity and make sure that you have LOTS of room to spread out AND lots of room to lay out your prints.
Here is a general list with links to the actual items:
- Several types of paper such as old maps, printing paper, old encyclopedias or books, old music sheets, colored construction paper, etc. Nice to have it already cut to size.
- Speedball Speedy Carve Blocks and linoleum cutters for block prints
- Poster board, railroad board, textured papers and other items for collagraphs
- Geli plates, stencils, texture plates, q-tips and pencil erasers for drawing into the plate, paper and plastic for making stencils
- Hard rubber brayers for rolling ink and a hard surface for rolling on (I use plexiglass to roll out my ink)
- Water-based ink for printing (the starter set is good and reasonably priced)