The Tyger Tyger print has been designed so that it uses two blocks and one reduction. This is the first block, and it was printed in a light beige colour.
The second colour – a warm brown for the tiger’s coat – is being printed as a reduction from this block. Normally you would do this by cutting away everything that isn’t going to be printed in the next colour – ie take away everything that will stay beige, and leave only the tiger’s bodies.
But if I did that there would be a number of problems. Firstly, it would be a lot of carving! Secondly, it would leave the vinyl that I use very wobbly and unstable, and it might be difficult to handle it and to line it up for the next print. Thirdly, the paper would tend to flop over the edges of the tigers and pick up too much ‘chatter’ from the cut areas.
The solution is to use paper masks. This is fiddly, but it works really well. First I cut more a wide border around the two tigers. Here is the cut lino, inked up with a light orange ink. You can see that there is quite a lot of excess ink on the pieces that I have not cut away.
So next I use torn up pieces of scrap paper to cover every single inky area that I _don’t_ want to print. (As you can see, I changed my mind and made the orange into a darker red-brown).
Then I print…
It took at least twice as long to print this layer, because of the masks, and the bad news is that the final layer will need masks too – but in the meantime here is a happy bunch of prints drying. The masks did the job in 18 of the prints, and I lost one more to a smudge. I may well lose some more when I print the final layer. I’m fussy!
To be continued….