I was going through my paper and prints last night, putting things away in my flat file (!) and found these.
I had these tacked up on my wall in my printmaking space; they’re crap as prints, but I can’t bear to throw them away because I’m sentimental and they’re such a neat record of my process. For the red panda, that plate started off as a sketch that got turned into a painting, which failed terribly, and then got tried as a plate. It’s hard to make out, but on the red one you can see my pencil sketch where I started planning out a background design, which ended up getting its own plate so I could do double intaglio in different color combinations.
For the bee I spent H.O.U.R.S. scratching out the design by hand. It’s only a 2 x 3 inch plate! Ridiculously intricate, but that’s me. So I etched it about ten times, building up these rich beautiful gradients on the bee’s body and finishing up with the wallpaper pattern so it would be lightest. Then I printed it, and I just didn’t like it. I kept printing it, and nothing clicked, so I decided that the problem was that I’d etched the stripes on the abdomen, and maybe I shouldn’t have so that it stayed “white” (with steel plate, you always get a surface tone because of the coarse texture, so the “white” would actually be very pale yellow, like the rest of the background). So. I made a whole new plate, and printed it, and discovered that the paler stripes were even worse! Then I realized that I hadn’t continued the shading on the abdomen, and it looked funny because it was so flat, and also that the yellow I’d mixed was just too light. -_-
Another coat of hard ground, about thirty seconds of hard ground removal and touch up, and a few minutes in the acid bath:
It’s nearly impossible to get a decent scan of it, because it is small and yellow. Grr, yellow. It’s totally yellow ochre.
I liked the result so much that after graduation I ended up planning out two more featuring a cicada and a dragonfly. While I was still in Alfred I etched the cicada’s body and started working on the design. Two weeks ago, enlivened by my new-found print shop access, I finally finished it. XD
I just have to touch up a few areas where the hard ground got scratched. The biggest ones are courtesy of Ivy– this was on my shelf, and she tried to push it off in one of her 6 am attempts to wake me up to play. I haven’t looked at the dragonfly mock-up since last June, so right now I’m double-checking that (and now questioning the pattern placement…) and trying to figure out where to get new steel plate. I’m thinking of doing a whole series which could ultimately get mixed and matched and displayed in different formations, like a real insect collection. There are currently more bugs in our freezer than food, so I have a lot of references.