It all starts with plein aire watercolour sketches.
This is my kit - lightweight
I have a piece of hardboard with 2 sizes of cartridge paper painted with gesso ( I like to have a texture to paint on) The paper sizes are the sizes of my plates - one 26x17, one 39x13.
When I get back to Edinburgh I make the sketches into wee booklets. This means I can easily find particular images when I am looking for them - all dated.
This is my Lindy cave - where I make all my plates. You need a lot of stuff to make collagraphs and this is where I store it all - I can reach it all from my chair. This is how I invested money from sales of my prints in the pop up shop.
Usually I directly trace the image - on this occasion I amalgamated images so photoshop was used to help scale. This is a view of the Dee near Balmoral.
The image drawn onto the mountboard I use Liquitex gloss medium on the highlights - the places where I want to wipe the plate clean - so it prints white. In this case the river, parts of the sky and the birches.
Next I used Akua carborandum on the areas I wanted the most intense colours/darkness. In fact I usually use carborandum and glue - but I was experimenting at this time.
Then I used my dremmell to cut into the card to make the branches of the birch trees the grass and various other bits and bobs.
And stuck some moss on to make ferns in the foreground. Next I sealed the plate with shellac.
This is the resultant print just off the press. Because Edinburgh Printmakers is currently shut (spring 2021) I am printing at home on an xcut xpress - so I am making bleed prints where you print right to the edge of the paper, and the plate is larger than the paper. This maximises the size of plates I can make.
This is me printing on Bart at Edinburgh Printmakers - this press (Bart) printed the maps for Treasure Island!
This is my wee xcut xpress with my Linn o Dee plate on it. An xcut xpress is actually a die cutting machine - but it is good for printmaking collaraphs as it has adjustable pressure.
Next I soak my paper in the bath.
And squeegee it on the shower screen
And blot it.
I mix the inks - Caligo Safewash inks (they are based on rapeseed oil and can be washed awaay by washing up liquid). I have process blue, yellow and red, sepia and yellow ochre and white and LOTS of extender. I apply the inks with rags and toothbrushes. and the occasional roller.
I place the plate on the press , the paper on the plate - then tissue paper then blanket and roll it through the press.
This shows the original sketch in the middle, the plate on the right and the print on the left. On this plate I used one of my favourite materials - tiling cement to make the rocks.