Friday, 15 March 2013

Printing with Sandpaper

an eye for an eye makes the world go blind

Since last July I have been working on a Seven Deadly Sins book with my friend Mary. This is a joint project based very loosely on a college assignment I did in 2003, which focussed on the second Iraq War. This time round, we have decided to base it on neoliberalism, largely inspired by the film Four Horsemen

It's taking a bit longer than we intended, because I am supplying the linocut illustrations and I keep re-doing them or getting stuck into other projects. (I believe this may be called procrastination.) However, last weekend I made some progress on the Anger spread. 

A (small) part of this page is the famous "eye for an eye" quote from Gandhi printed on a textured background. The quote is set in 24pt Goudy Bold and was my first ever attempt at centred text (it's been hanging around for a while). The textured background is made up of two layers of ink. The first was a red, laid onto the paper with a roller. The second layer was a darker red and printed from a block made of sandpaper... meaning I stuck a really rough piece of sandpaper to a piece of plywood, then mounted the whole thing onto a block of wood to bring it type high. Sandpaper takes a lot of ink before it will print and it can't be applied to the block with a roller, so I had to use an old brush. Inevitably it then took a long time to dry before I could print the quote on top. In the time it took to dry, I learnt how to print the quote in the right place on the page, so the time wasn't wasted.

Gandhi quote

I printed the text using as little impression as possible - enough for the words to be readable but not so that it was visible on the back of the paper. Something I hadn't quite anticipated was how the textured background would work with the printed type. To be honest it's come out better than I expected and has fired me up to continue with the rest of the book. Unfortunately I am now aware that the more usual version of the quote is "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind" so the temptation to do the whole thing again is very strong. Especially as I probably wouldn't centre the text another time and there are only eight good copies for a print run of seven. Dilemma. 

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