Block Print II : A Step by Step Guide to Multi-Color Prints | Andrea Lauren | Skillshare

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Block Print II : A Step by Step Guide to Multi-Color Prints

teacher avatar Andrea Lauren, Printmaker, Textile Designer & Author

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (23m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Tools and Supplies

    • 3. Transferring Your Image

    • 4. Carving The Key Block

    • 5. Printing The Key Block

    • 6. Carving The Color Blocks

    • 7. Setting Up The Printing Jig

    • 8. Printing the Color Blocks

    • 9. Printing the Key Block

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About This Class

In this class we will cover all of the steps needed to create a multi-color print.  The registration method that you will learn is transferrable to any number of printing projects and can be used for prints with 2 colors to prints with 10 colors.  This course is perfect for printmakers who are looking to create their first multi-color block print and get started registering prints.  It is best for students who have some block printing experience. 

By the end of this class, I hope you will enjoy the process of registration and will be able to create multi-color masterpieces. Once you have practiced this technique a few times you will be a printmaking machine and you'll get a huge sense of satisfaction seeing your prints lined up perfectly.  

Let's get printing!

Meet Your Teacher

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Andrea Lauren

Printmaker, Textile Designer & Author


Hello, I'm Andrea!  

I'm a printmaker and surface pattern designer specializing in block prints.  I'm the author of a Printmaking book, Block Print, published by Rockport Publishers.  I fell in love with printmaking when I was living in NYC studying to get a masters degree in something else (not art!).  Since then, I have been making block prints and using them in my professional design work. 

My illustrations and designs are on everything from book covers to textiles to wallpaper and apparel.  My clients include YSL, Valentino Red, Graniph, Quarto, Macmillan, and Simon & Schuster.  

I love sharing my blocks and designs I'm working on over on instagram.  Follow me here on Skillshare to get notifie... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi, I'm Andrea Lauren. I'm a printmaker and surface pattern designer focusing on block prints. This class is a step by step guide to creating multicolored prints. Thes prints are just a few of the multicolored prints I've created. Using the registration method will follow in this class. This class is a follow up to my first class block print a step by step guide to your first print. If you haven't printed before, I recommend finding that class and taking it first. It will cover a lot of basics in more detail over there. First, we'll go over the tools and supplies you need. I recommend checking out the 17 page downloadable pdf of tools and supplies below that covers the types of materials in much more detail. Then we'll cover tracing your illustration so that we can transfer to the block after that will carve the key block. The key block is your most detailed block. It's typically printed in black ink and sits on top of all the other collar blocks. On your print will print the key block onto a transparency sheet that serves as a guide for the color blocks, as well as a guide will use later for printing after that will set up the printing. Jake. This is where everything really comes together. The sheet of transparency is taped or jig, and that else allows us to register the color blocks and the key block together, creating beautiful registered prints. Time after time, the color blocks are printed next, and finally the key block is printed in black on top. Printmaking isn't a quick process, but I find it to be extremely rewarding. You spend a lot of time carving or blocks, but it's very meditative, and I really enjoy the process. I hope you will, too. Let's get printing first up tools and supplies. 2. Tools and Supplies: the's of the tools and supplies you'll need for this class. First, you'll need to print out the butterfly design. It can be downloaded from the resource is tab beneath this course? Next, you will need a rubber carving block. Be sure to use a block that is large enough for several butterflies. If you purchase smaller blocks, ensure that you use blocks that are identical using two blocks of different thicknesses, or hyattes will create issues. When you go to print, you'll also want Ah, pencil, some colored pencils, an Exacto blade for carving around your block, a bone folder for transferring the image to your blanc, a palette knife for ink and you're gouging tools. I like to use a combination of three counting tools to V shaped tools on one larger U shaped. Told Next, you'll need some printing inks. These air water soluble inks thes air, the best type of inks for using with rubber blocks. While some printmakers use oil based ings, thes air better for different type of block and a different type of paper. You'll also need sombreros or rollers to spread your ink onto the block. I'm you're going to use three different prayers because I have three colors in this print. Additionally, I'll use masking tape to help me set up my printing GIC. I'm going to use this glass plating to spread out my inks, but you can also use a sheet of plexiglass. Also use a sheet of transparency. This will help us determine where to place or colored blocks. We'll set this up in the printing. Jake. Don't worry about it just yet. You need some test paper like newsprint of scrap paper and also a sheet of printmaking paper. This is a mulberry paper. It's a strong paper that I like to use for hand printing. Use another sheet of card stock or cardboard as the base for my printing Jake and a printing baron. This helps lift the ink off the block and gets it on the paper. Next up, transferring your image to the block 3. Transferring Your Image: First, we'll be transferring our image to the block. I'll use my sheet of tracing paper and a thick, dark pencil. I like to use a Tom bow to be. I also start in the top left corner so I don't get that much pencil on my hands and drag it all of the paper. This helps a lot of graphite transfer to the block. You will carve and print this key block before creating your secondary blocks. Printing This key balk on a sheet of transparency gives us both a guide for the printing jig and also gives us an accurate placement for how to carve our secondary color blocks. Well, you could just transfer your traced image to your block twice. I really wouldn't recommend it. I've tried this and the results aren't that great. They're a couple of reasons why when you transfer your traced image to the block using a bone voter, you stretch out the paper and each additional transfer will distort the image. It will make it next to impossible to get your secondary color blocks tow line up with the key block. Believe me, I've had very many frustrating moments trying to cut out this step. The other reason is that the transparent she sheet with the key block is much more accurate than your illustration. Things change when you carve the block, and the printed key block will be part of your print and will be different than your traced image. Plus, we need the transparency sheet for the key block when it comes to printing. So really, it's a win win to do it in this order. If this sounds a little confusing, don't worry. We'll walk through all the steps later on for now, one step at a time. You just need to trace your butterfly to tracing paper. Now we're ready to transfer the traced image to the book. Take your image, place it face down on your block. I'm orienting my image toe one end so I can use the other end for my secondary blocks. No need to waste materials here, holding the papers securely with one hand, used a bone folder to make sweeping motions in one direction, transferring the image with a medium pressure. You can change directions as you go, but avoid rubbing the bone folder back and forth, keeping your hand on the ball. Peel back the corner to check your transfer and touch up any spots as needed. X. Don't use my exacto blade to carve around the butterfly. Be careful using any type of blade. Carve away from your fingers and go slowly. I like to keep the blade inserted in the block and moved the block against the blade, turning it as I go. Finally, I'll trim around any areas of the block I don't need. I'll set aside the blank block on the left. This will eventually become the secondary color blocks, but next will carve the key block. 4. Carving The Key Block: first, I'll talk about a few carving tips. Practice using the tools, the more you practice the easy ruby to manipulate the tools in the way you'd like, make a variety of marks. Be sure to carve away from yourself. This is really key. I will also mention go slowly. This is the longest part of the process, but it's really not worth rushing through. Use a non slip mat. We're cutting that. Make things easy for yourself. Move the block with the other hand. Don't tense up. I'll speed the video alone. But you wanna Paul's this class and put on some music or a podcast and take your time carving your block. When you trace your image and transferred to the block, it's going to look a lot like the butterfly on the left. A lot of lines. You might be wondering which parts of my carving which parts of my leaving. I would like to have another sketch or drawing that looks a lot more like the final image. The butterfly on the right is roughly what I want my block to look like when it's printed. You'll notice on the wings that some of the sections are blocks of black and other parts are just lines. This is another reason you want to go slowly. Focus on one part of the time, and I find it really helpful to refer back to this image. Throughout the carving process, I always warm up on a scrap piece of blanc. I just like to get the feel for the tool in my hand. Carve a few lines and a few circles before diving into the main block. My personal preference is to carve around the outside of the image. First, I use my smallest V shaped gowns and remover larger areas with the U shaped couch. Then I move on to the inside. It's important just to go slowly, work methodically, and I'm refer back to the illustration as much as I need to throughout the process. Now, once you've carved the key, block will really start to see the print come together. Next up. Printing the key book 5. Printing The Key Block: here are the tools and supplies you'll need For this lesson. You're gonna need your car block, a transparency sheet and a blank piece of block. You'll need inking supplies such as ink, a palette knife if your ankles in a tub, obr air and your glass plate, or whatever you use to roll outing. If you haven't already, I would recommend cleaning a workspace. You don't want to get bits of dust orbits of block on your Breyer in the ink. I'd also recommend cleaning the block. These blocks wash up really easy with soap and water. If I were printing this in white ink or light colors, I would definitely wash this block. Since we're using black. It's not that important, but I'd like to do it anyway. If you want your book, make sure it's thoroughly dry before moving on. This is the set up I typically use. I like to work with the income one side and have my block or paper transparency on the other. Use a palette knife. Draw out a small amount of anger into a line that's roughly the same size as your prayer. You'll want to use a prayer that is approximately the same size is your book. Dip the prayer in the block, start rolling it under the plate in. We're looking for an even coverage here on an orange peel texture that is that the ink on the plate and looks like the peel of an orange. If you have too much ink, you can use the other side of the plane to get some off. You're going to want to think up the block in thin, even coats. Get good coverage going all over the block. Place the block on the workspace. Be sure to give yourself enough room for your transparency sheet so it doesn't get in the ink. I've done this, and it's not fun to clean up. I'm really just eyeballing here, but I want the print of the butterfly to be roughly in the middle of the transparency sheet . Place one end of the sheet down, hold it securely with one hand and slowly and carefully rolled down the sheet onto the block. All rolled on the paper the same way, so it's good practice. If you just plunk the transparency sheet down quickly, you'll find that it'll shift and makes contact with the block, and it's much is we really need a crisp image. It's you press the ink onto the sheet, peel back the transparency A move it directly to your blank block. You're gonna press the wet ink onto the block, hold the sheets securely with one hand impressed down, using other. It's really important not to smudge it here. Once you feel like you've made a good transfer, peel it back and check out your work. This is great. Now you have a guide to make your color blocks. Once the block is drawing, we're gonna carve our color blocks. 6. Carving The Color Blocks: we're about to carve the color blocks, but before we do that, decide if there's any areas of the key block you want to remove. This is an optional step, but I'm choosing to take out some areas around the sides of the butterfly's wings that look a bit heavy to me. It's totally up to you if you want the edge of the wings to be black, like the key block, lay them in if you want the color blocks to show through on the outside takes him out. You can skip this if you want, but feel free to make any adjustments to your key block at this point. Now we're under the color blocks gonna use my Exacto blade and trim the blocks down. Now I'm gonna take my V shaped gouge an outline block. I don't need this extra area at the bottom, so I'm gonna use an Exacto to cut it off. Then I'll take the larger U shaped gown and remove any extra spaces around the outside. Take a look at the block and decide if you need a car about any extra areas. At this point, I washed my hands and clean the block the ankle flake off a little as you go, so I've gone ahead and done this. Now this block will be printed in two colors, yellow and blue. I need to know where the blue will print, So I'm going to use my traced image on online it back over the block. Use my bone photo to transfer just the area where I want the blow to be next. I'll take the Exacto blade and use it to cut around the areas that get blue ink, remembering that the areas below and above will be printed in yellow. So it's really best to go slowly here. You could use a gouge, but don't forget that when you use a gouge, you'll be creating a white space in the design. So using an Exacto blade, we'll get them as close as possible. The block will fit nicely back together like a jigsaw puzzle. Once it's inked. Next, we'll set up the jig 7. Setting Up The Printing Jig: here are the things you'll need to set up your printing drink. You need your printed transparency sheet of card stock, some masking tape, two pencils that are different, key block and your color blocks. Take a small strip of masking tape that you'll use to tape your transparency sheet to the card stock. Because my card stock is the exact same size is my printing paper. You'll want to line it up to the center of the page or wherever you want to print it. Make adjustments until you're happy with the placement. Next, I'll take my key block and place it underneath the transparency sheet. They'll be quite a bit of back and forth here to get it lined up, but this is really key in registering these colors together as accurately as you can. Take your pencil and without moving the block, lift the transparency sheet. I'll hold the block securely with one hand and trace around the block with the pencil. If you move the block. Yep, you guessed it. You need to repeat the previous step and make sure the block is lined up before you trace. Remove the key block. Your traced shape will look roughly something like this. It will take the color blocks on, line them up on the cards, talk. I have a rough idea of where they're going to go because they're similar to the K block. But I'll line them up and then use the transparency sheet to really get them locked in there. When I'm happy with the placement, I'll take my colored pencil an outline these blocks onto the card stock. The jig is now set up. Next up will print the blocks. 8. Printing the Color Blocks: Now we get to print the blocks and see if it all worked out here. The supplies will need. You made your printing jig and blocks three colors of ink palette Knife if you're using inks and tubs. Three breakers I like to use a different Breyer per in color. At minimum, you'll need to, because you'll be printing the yellow and blue at the same time and you'll need test paper and print making paper will be printing the color blocks first, so we'll want to mix up the ANC's. I always recommend water soluble inks when printing by hand, but one of the drawbacks is a short, open time. That means that thinks will dry quickly on your plate. You wanna have your prayers and test paper ready to go. I don't love these colors out of the jar for this print, so I'll be mixing them to change them up a little bit. I'm using two different brands hair, but some ink brands are really different, so I really try to stick to one or two brands when mixing colors. One of my go to tips is to mix in metallic ink. I use gold and copper in heavy rotation. Use your palette knife to mix the colors until you're happy with the blend. In general, I find that this brand of ink dries a little bit darker on the paper. So I'm gonna mix in a little bit of white and lighten it up. Next up, the blue ink, your lotus. I'm not rolling out the ink until I'm happy with both colors. We don't want it drying on the blatant before we've even begun. I'm also gonna add some Gold Inc to the blue. I added it to the yellow and adding it to the blue will help the colors. Both have a matching type of tone. I'm also going to use this bright turquoise. It's gonna brighten up the darker color that I currently have going. I'm still not that happy with this color, So I'm gonna try mixing in another brighter blow as well. Now it's time to roll out the banks. Now it's time to think up the peace of the block. I'll have to yellow pieces at the bottom, the main yellow body at the top and the blue in the middle. Once you being took the pieces, put them back together and get them inside your traced outline on your card stock. Now you want to use a piece of newsprint of scrap paper to test print. Lay the paper down on top of the print in the same way you laid the transparency sheet before. Use it baron to help move the ink from the block to the paper. If you don't have a barren, you can use your fingers, you circular motions and about a medium pressure. Now peel back the paper, taking a look to see how it turned out. You'll notice a little piece of the block stuck to the paper. This is pretty typical with small pieces. You want to print up a couple more times. It really depends on what you're going for here. But I would definitely recommend between four or five prints, just in case there's problems along the way. Another thing to keep in mind is that this ink will dry by the time we've printed up in black. So if you don't want a wasting, you may want to use what you've got. And if that means making 20 prints go for it. If you got ink on your card, stock like I did just wipe it away with a cloth. We don't want that turning up on our print. Next, More print the key book. 9. Printing the Key Block: Let's dive right in. We're gonna roll out the black ink just like we did the first time. Take a small amount of black ink and put it on your plate. Then you dip your Breyer in the plating. I'm roll it out. You're looking for the same orange peel texture. Take your block on, line it up on the jig rollout, summing onto your block and thin layers. Make any final adjustments to the block on your gig. You could test print here, but for the purpose of this class, I'm just gonna go ahead and print on our final paper. Take your printed paper. Make sure you get it the right way up. Place it on your Jake. Take some time to really line it up at the bottom. You want to get this as close as possible, slowly roll down the paper on top of the block. Now we'll take the Baron and make circular motions on the back of the block trying to lift as much because I can onto the paper without the paper falling into the grooves of the block. I really don't want to get a smudgy look to this. I want a crisp nice lines to this print. When you're ready, peel back a corner checking to see if you have enough ink on the paper. If you're happy, pull it off. Let's take a look and see how our print turned out. I'm pretty happy with that. Now you have your first multicolored print. This is a repeatable process, and I can't wait to see what else you come up with. Please share your work in the project gallery below. And don't forget, you can ask questions in the discussions. Be sure to follow me on skill share to see when I next publish another class.