Considering I haven’t done a sizable woodcut since my junior year of high school this project was a really nostalgic process for me.
Overall, considering a surreal composition wasn’t particularly difficult since surrealist concepts were what I played with for a few years before coming to Alfred.
I kept my initial sketch very minimal, as I knew I’d spend a lot of time planning on my actual board
The extensive tone planning was something I had learned to do from my very first woodcut and it was something I have stuck with since (however, I used to do it by layering varying values of india ink before varnishing my boards, so colored pencil was a new thing for me)
I began very meticulous but towards the end hit “fuck it I want to carve” and left some minimal visual notes for myself in the bottom right foreground.
I came across the issue of tacky ink & tint base ripping the shellac off of my board, as the pencil was waxy and did not grip the shellac very well when faced with opposing stickiness. I solved this by adding a touch of plate oil to my inks before rolling them out and it minimized the damage to the shellac. Some of the breaks in surface, however, provided some of the more interesting speckled textures in the levels of my print.
After etching, I’m very happy to be getting back on my feet in the print studio with this.
Here lies all of the hopes and dreams of Joshua DiFabio.
All self deprecating jokes aside, this delving right into color layering was something I couldn’t get right until the very end (my red and navy print). Steel as a plate material was also a big learning experience for me and an eye opener that I can’t get comfortable in this class regardless of the amount of experience I have making prints.
I chose a textural (attemptedly “granite”) background to contrast the lack of texture within my object itself.
All in all it was very humbling – behold my mediocre prints:
For this assignment I wanted to choose an object that people generally did not recognize and that told a story, hence me choosing what is dubbed a “tugger” (a non-surgical means of reversing circumcision).
The following are my reference image and sketches, as well as the linework in my hard ground:
Being entirely new to steel plates, I found it incredibly difficult to achieve light plate tones this week and will be working on that before beginning my aquatint. Images attached below of the full prints as well as a detail shot of linework:
For the theme “A Disturbing Reality” I have chosen to depict infectious diseases, as I find it incredibly unsettling that microscopic beings (or organic material, in the case of viruses) are capable of killing humans by the thousands.
My sketches were as follows:
The following are a few process shots of my second print (ebola); this was where I began to truly grasp the ink and mineral spirits and using them effectively.
The final prints are below:
In hindsight there are a few miniscule mistakes, whether it be bleeding on a border or losing tonal variety in transfer, which degrade the visual appeal of my pieces as a whole. I am very proud of the Ebola and Cholera prints, and least pleased with the HIV and Smallpox prints as they lost much of the darkest darks due to too much mineral spirit use.