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Creating a Collograph

Creating a Collograph

Drawings of carp
Drawings of carp
Creating different carp plates for collograph
Creating different carp plates for collograph




After a holiday in Portugal where there was a beautiful carp pond at the place we stayed, I felt inspired to make a print of carp.  I decided to create a collograph, as I wanted to capture the watery gloom of the pond and the fish swimming through these murky waters.  I started off by drawing carp in different poses to capture the amazing shapes they make.  I then made up plates of carp, using sheets of card, onto which I stuck pieces of bags that satsumas come in, and corrugated card.
Carp stuck onto foil covered mount card
Carp stuck onto foil covered mount card
Detail of collograph plate
Detail of collograph plate
 I stuck some foil which had been crumpled up and flattened again onto a piece of mount card.  I then cut out the carp from the sheets of card and stuck them onto the foil in a pleasing arrangement.  I covered this with a layer of white gesso paint so that I'd be able to judge how much ink I'd put on - much easier on a white surface. This was followed by 2 layers of pva glue and a layer of varnish.  The plate was left to dry thoroughly.






Collograph plate inked in grey ink
Collograph plate inked in grey ink

I then started to ink the plate.  I used quite a loose (oil based) ink in grey to begin with.  I forced this into all the areas of the plate with an old paintbrush.  I wiped off the excess grey.


Collograph plate inked up in orange and blue
Collograph plate inked up in orange and blue











Using a roller, I rolled a bright orange ink onto the fish so that some of the detail of the fish was highlighted.  I rubbed a blue ink onto the rest of the plate using a cloth.









Inked collograph plate on press
Inked collograph plate on press

I put the inked plate through my press.  I have a relief press rather than an etching press, which is not ideal.  However, I still manage to get effective results by soaking thick heritage paper and then blotting it dry.  I also experiment to get the optimum degree of packing.





Orange and blue ink on collograph
Orange and blue ink on collograph











Orange and green ink on collograph
Orange and green ink on collograph





Here you can see three different versions of the inked up plate.  It's really good fun trying different combinations of colours.




Deep pink and blue ink on collograph
Deep pink and blue ink on collograph












The final collograph print ink pink and green
The final collograph print ink pink and green



However, collograph prints do not come alive fully until you have coloured the background using a wash of water based inks.  Here you can see my final print.  The collograph was inked up using pink on the fish and a blue background - I then used a wash of light pink on the fish and green on the water.








 
Fabric available from Spoonflower

 
 
 
 
I used the print to create a fabric - if you like it, you can buy it from Spoonflower here.