Introduction to Lithography

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Lithography is a planographic printing process that makes use of the immiscibility of grease and water (the principle that oil and water do not mix). In the lithographic process, ink applied to a grease-treated image on the flat printing surface, done from a stone (lithographic limestone) or a metal plate with a grained surface. (Attwood, 2003.) Due to the need for time management, our group did both processes simultaneously. I was able to grasp the basic non-image (blank) areas, would hold moisture and will repel the lithographic oil-based ink were the blacked areas the ink would be accepted — inking of one colour at that time.

Other parts of the process, I find complex and am struggling to understand. In the off-set process, my image moves on to the aluminium printing plates with the use of phytochemical transferences, much like the screenprinting process I’ve used in the past. With positive plate-making, a positive film is “the original” meaning the non-translucent, blackened sections of the film correspond to the ink-accepting surface elements on the plate.

Phil explained at this point if the images were transferred directly to paper from the plate, it would create a mirror-type image, but also, the paper would become too wet. Instead, the plate rolls against a cylinder covered with a rubber blanket, which squeezes away the water, picks up the ink and transfers it to the paper with uniform pressure. The blanket cylinder passes over the paper counter-pressure, and the image transferred to the paper. “Because the image is first transferred, or offset to the rubber blanket cylinder, this reproduction method is known as offset lithography” (Attwood, 2003)

The stone lithography process is a more lengthy technique and has taken me longer to understand. The process uses gum arabic. The purpose of the gum is to chemically separate the image and the non-image areas so that the greasy image areas become water repellent; which I found out is called ‘hydrophobic’ and the non-image areas become water receptive or ‘hydrophilic’, (Attwood, 2003) so that when printed, only the image areas receive the ink print. Phil explained this chemical change happens only in the very top layer of the stone, creating the ‘gum adsorb layer’ which is less than 1mm thick.

He further explained that Nitric acid is sometimes added to the gum to stop the grease in the stone from spreading. Nitric used in the gum its referred to as an ‘etch.’

It is usually necessary to ‘etch’ the stone twice. The first etch Phil applied to the stone with a clean sponge. Once Phil covered the whole stone was with gum, a clean sponge and then a clean rag is used to buff the gum down to a thin, even layer. Heat is then applied to dry the gum. The stone should then be covered and, left (overnight if possible) to allow time for the gum to chemically change the stone and establish the image within the stone. We didn’t have that time, so we used our lunch hour as the etch time.

Next, we were shown how to removes the drawing materials from the stone and replaces it with non-drying black ink.

For me, this was the most confusing part. I went to the internet to get a better understanding, [https://www.artprintsa.com/lithography.html].  A wet rag is used to remove the gum arabic from the first etch. A damp cloth is wiped over the stone to remove the excess water. The stone is then dried and dusted with fine chalk before a second gum arabic etch is applied. The gum etches, then buffed down to a thin layer and dried, and the stone should be left to rest for at least an hour before proofing.

The stone is washed out – as before. (The stone is gummed and dried, then washed, and the gum washed off.) (Attwood,2003)

At this moment we began to need two people to get a good print. While the stone is damp, the greasy printing ink is rolled on using either a leather roller (we used a Non-drying black ink.) until the image in the stone is clearly visible, We found a good technique was to re-damping the stone between rolls to keep the surface from drying out, thus needing two of us to work together.

The first few proofs were taken onto newsprint, and after that, damp paper is usually used to ensure the maximum amount of detail is picked up from the stone. The paper is laid onto the stone, and a few sheets of newsprint packing laid on top. The stone and paper are then rolled through the direct transfer press, and the paper is then pulled back from the stone to reveal the printed image.

Despite the long involved process of stone lithography, the image quality is awesome compared to the offset lithography. Every mark and wash I made transferred. However, its deeply involved process has made me reluctant to attempt it again on my own.

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Research Source:

Attwood, M. (2003). Lithography. [online] The Artists’ Press. Available at: https://www.artprintsa.com/lithography.html [Accessed 11 Oct. 2019].

Listening to Alexis Deacon

Listening to Alexis Deacon

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born in New York this award-winning illustrator and writer loves storytelling

“I always knew I was going to be in illustrator because sharing and trying to communicate was so important to me. understanding of the stories help us to do that”

Alexis’s number one tip for writers: “start as close to the end as possible”

Alexis read some of his stories to us and took us on a very cleaver memory trail which turn out to be completely made up. Why? To teach us in his own words… “imagination and forgotten memories, like my best friend being a chocolate rabbit are boundless sources of stories and images.” Alexis encourages us to live our imagination out and play with our own imaginary friends in our heads

We transport imagination through line drawing and image making.  “make it as real to you as you can and thoughts can be shared. draw and draw all your life children do this without being told as we get older we stop drawing and stop imagining but true illustrators don’t, so keep going nothing you do is a waste.”

Alexis went to art college at Brighton he found it hard to make drawings for other people thus he tells us his first book – monster zoo- was a big learning curve.

Watching a couple of Slow Norris’s one day gave him great pleasure and started his imagination going. “the two were just wondering towards each other down the same rope. They met in the middle had a staring contest, they both made a face and went the other way. This one moment inspired my first published book – Slow Norris” Alexis advise us to take moment like these and let your imagination go wild if you find it entertaining the chances are it will engage your reader too.

What is illustration? He asked us then answered “It is universal communication. The face is universal and universally understood. looking at the face we filter out other things and we see just the expression we only need simple values to tell this story. we are hardwired to understand expression from an early age. You need to keep that in your mind when you produce your character’s form on to the page.  just like the face gestures transporter and give us information too. Learn to love gestures as the context is strong. this gives you a good story and an expansive narrative from these simple ingredients of image.”

Alexis closing advise to us who are studying illustration this year – “By illustrating you give your story to someone else so you need to leave enough space for the reader to imagine too”

  
 

Pushing the Envelope @ Hereford College

The first ever postage stamp, The Penny Black, was issued on 6th May 1840. To celebrate this landmark, Hereford College of Arts joined forces with House of Illustration and Hay Festival to host a programme of exhibitions, workshops and a symposium of talks from acclaimed commissioners, archivists and practitioners.

A showcase of work commissioned exclusively from a selected and invited international group of professional illustrators. Each practitioner has been asked to personally respond to this landmark anniversary by decorating and embellishing an envelope. This unique collection of new work will celebrate the art of postal communication and can be seen at Hereford College of Arts College Road Campus, until the 1st of May

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Amanda

Amanda Blake: our tutor meeting her hero; DAVID GENTLEMAN

Speakers at the symposium included DAVID GENTLEMAN:  illustrator, author, designer, lithographer and wood engraver. Designer of many of the UK’s most enduring stamp designs and BRIAN WEBB: Co-founder of award winning design group Trickett & Webb. Brian is also a Designer of postage stamps and biographer of David Gentleman.

We were so luck to be able to speak to both at the end in the viewing of the exhibition.

Millie’s flora and fauna 

 

Millie Marotta is a hugely popular illustrator and her idiosyncratic drawings of the world’s wonderful creatures will draw you in. Millie’s Animal Kingdom offers a range of beautiful illustration on quality paper to personalise and make your own.

The artist’s intricate style of illustration will get you itching for a pen, whether it’s to add to the fine line hatching on the birds, the flowing tendrils of a jellyfish, or the composite of flowers that make up a grizzly bear. The work will inspire you to appreciate the detail of line drawing and its huge potential.

Millie’s Moth 



My attempt…

Before. 

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Sketching out  the basic shapes that make the butterflies I want to draw and a couple of Millie’s  unusual trees. Then with a black biro pen working into patterns the new image.

After.





Satirist Pawel Kuczyński 

Pawel Kuczynski is a modern satirist who was born in 1976 in Szczecin, in northern Poland near the German border. In 2001 he graduated in Graphic Design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan. He worked as an illustrator for several newspapers in Poland honing his skills as a social commentary artist. In 2010, he won 19 awards including 2nd prize in the 49th International Festival of Knokke Cartoon in Heist and 1st prize at the International Cartoon Contest in Croatia; proving the effectiveness his style of visual communication has on public opinion.

Kuczynski’s art is extremely evocative. His drawings always confront the viewer with specific current problems known from the media, but presented in an altogether different form from the more usual cartoon or comic strip style associated with satire. In his surrealistic work, full of visual metaphors and black humor, Kuczynski confronts the viewer with contemporary problems.

He is very committed and hard in his political and social diagnostics. The sad truth about human condition, about social, political and environmental threats takes definite shape and is no longer abstract. Most of his works deal with serious themes such as poverty, greed, politics and finitude. However, the grotesque perspective allows him to tame fear and make unpleasant facts bearable.





Meeting Hunt Emerson

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Currently Hunt is a freelance comic book illustrator and often works for the Beano on the characters Little Plum and Ratz. He lives and works in Birmingham so he really is a local success story.

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He has been acclaimed as one of the 75 European Masters of Cartooning of the 20th Century by the Centre Nationale de la Bande Dessinee et de l’Image, and has won many other international awards.

The Emerson graphic novels Lady Chatterley’s Lover, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Casanova’s Last Stand and other adaptations of classic novels and tales have been successfully sold in numerous countries, and translated into several different languages.

Hunt Emerson’s strips and illustrations are regularly seen in the pages of Fortean Times, a magazine of occult and unexplained phenomena. Also his pornographically humorous Firkin The Cat (written by Tym Manley) has appeared in hundreds of Fiesta magazines.

Hunt was inspired to become a cartoonist by seeing the comics arriving from Chicago, “they were sort of Hippy comics, but I loved the stories and character” (Emerson, 2015) Hunt practised and practices drawing and developing bio’s for characters. He came to Birmingham as a fine art student and found work at Birmingham Arts Lab and Polytechnic running a small printing machine.  “In printing I saw a way that I could link earning a living with doing what I wanted to do; draw comics.  I spent six years working at the Birmingham Arts Lab, with the printing press there, doing design, layout, darkroom, and machine operating on a shoestring in hair-raising circumstances. It taught me a lot about production deadlines and the need to make quick design decisions.”(From Emerson’s web site: http://largecow.com/)

This lead to his first book ,Thunderdogs which had a unique twist at the time because it included 2D and 3D drawings. Followed by Calculus Cat and then City Mouth.

We asked Hunt for his top piece of advice for us about to start illustration at university. He smiles and says the key to being a comic book illustrator is to keep working. Take as many of the freelance job you can manage but don’t forget to develop your own style and work.

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You got post!

December 1st we got to spend the day with Hereford college of Art. 

They are currently doing a project on the beauty of the postage stamp. The project consists of collecting a years worth of illustrated envelopes from as many different people as possible. So of course we were happy to join in.





My own design falling prey to the lure of the Christmas season. 



Tom’s crime scene envelope.

The Penny Black was the world’s first adhesive postage stamp used in a public postal system. It was issued in Britain on 1 May 1840, for official use from 6 May of that year and features a profile of the Queen Victoria.

 Image of the Penny Black

Hereford College of Art.

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The College Road campus is truly the jewel in their crown. The open day was lively and interactive which is a great start no matter what course you are applying for . As you know I’m searching the my perfect illustration BA hons.

That in mind I was hunting down the course tutor Neil Hadfield like a bloodhound. he was happy to talk with me and show me around. (good start) Neil gave me great advice about what they were looking for in student applications and kept no secrets about the questions they might ask in the interview. Hereford interview most of the applicants who apply to the degree courses. I believe this is a particularly great thing as we find only in meeting a creative person can you truly know the level of their passion for Art. furthermore he gave good advice about portfolio expectations and how to apply for funding. What a nice man.

Hereford does not disappoint. There was a wealth of Art course merging in one beautiful place. From the well known arts to the more specialist quest. A creative individual would be sure to find a happy home here.
BA Hon included: Artist Blacksmithing (wow), illustration, animation, jewellery design, fine art, popular music, contemporary design craft, textile and photography, film and photography, commercial photography, and more.
All the degrees are validated by Wales Trinity Saint David’s university.

On the subjects of home this has been the best institute thus far to have given out housing information. The staff did more than just say “we have student housing” The housing team introduced them selves, explained how to contact them and gave clear instruction on how and importantly when you should apply regardless of what university you are attending. Although I am not in need myself. I felt reassured and cared about by their openness. If I had been a young applicant or a parent of a student this would have been a welcome relief.

Tutors were keen to mention how all areas are available to all students whichever course they are on. Integration and collaboration is a big part of Hereford students life. What a refreshing and exciting testament to have. There was lots of evidence to support this around the building on the blogs and more importantly when talking to already attending students.

For me the only down side was the remoteness of the location. Because I can’t be in residence due to family commitments. The town has old market qualities that are full of rural charm. If your a city fan or want big nightlife this is not the place for you. If you love people and nature and want to be inspired by the handcrafted Hereford is the best place on earth for you.