I decided to try engraving on resingrave- mainly because it is so much cheaper than wood- and as I wanted to learn I thought there was a fair chance of spoiling the wood!
I photographed the work as I went along- very poorly- I do apologise! Resingrave posed some issues and as I learned from other people’s blogs- I will pass on my experiences here too. The block is approx A5 size-and I wanted to see if I could engrave as close to white as possible by lots of lines and cutting and also if I could get some of the atmosphere of the original photographic portrait which I took of my son many years ago.
I inked the surface of the block as I do with wood to give me a dark tonal starting point- but the first problem was that the ink didn’t seem to dry and it slowly lifted of as I worked- so my black block became greyer! and uneven!
Having created a large area of the face I decided to print it at Cherryburn to see if it was printable. The resingrave felt soft and a little bit “gooey” on the surface compared to wood- so I wasn’t too sure about depth for a clean cut- it feels a lot more ‘certain’ on wood.
The first prints didn’t work at all- the ink seemed to be patchy which was odd. I did some quick search on the blogs and read its advised to clean the block with Acetone. So I went to the local chemist for some, which she promptly brought out from underneath the counter!! That cured the patchy ink and printing but once cleaned my block took on a ‘negative’ look and so engraving on top meant where it looked dark was actually where the lights were…
Below, the print and inked block.I was developing the layers of the engraving so I began to add dots and holes onto of the line work. It wasn’t that easy to see how they blended as they appeared very white next to the rest of the block. The block below is inked ready to print.
Then I started adding the neck. Here it is inked and ready to print.
Below, how the block looks when cleaned ready for engraving again.
I started adding the background. This is from photos I have taken of the deposits of twigs,branches, leaves and mud left when the river Tyne floods.
Also adding more dots on top of the face.
The block with extra work done on the face and ready to be inked for proofing.
A print, but with a roller which is a bit old now.
The block modified a little more. I submitted this print to the Society Of Wood Engravers Annual exhibition, and was so pleased when it was accepted.