Project 14 – Chine colle and Linocuts

I experimented with various papers and glues in combination with my elephant linocut. For the glue, I tried using diluted PVA painted on glass thinly and transferred onto the pieces before applying to the lino. I found this made the paper rather wet and fragile to handle. Nori rice paste with a little water used in a similar fashion was more successful as it was less wet. I also experimented with display mount spray glue and Pritt stick. The spray tended to dry quickly as I was preparing the plate, and gave less evenly distributed glue on small pieces than the other glues. Pritt stick was the easiest to use as it could be dabbed on thinly and stayed sticky throughout the process. With all techniques I found that it was necessary to use tweezers to handle the papers, and they tended to curl as they were glued and transferred. It was tricky getting the piece to glue completely flatly in areas of negative space in the relief print.  I think I swore quite a bit during this project, and at times thought that it would be easier to prepare the ground with collage pieces , and print once the pieces were glued in place. The problem would however be in the registration which would likely be tricky.

These are the two most successful prints in the series. The first is using gold coloured tissue paper on Somerset Satin, and the second is torn pieces of handmade rag papers with pieces of gold leaf in them onto Rives paper. I initially tried using collage in a more precise way to pick out various areas of the print, but the results were disappointing. In particular the marks in the fabric on the elephants back were lost if a dark tone was used beneath them. There are problem areas in the bottom print where the torn edges of the chine colle were tricky to print on without patchy results. Despite this, due  to the textural nature of the handmade paper and gold pieces, I think the overall print is successful. I also like the burnt sienna ink with the colour of the Rives paper and the gold pieces.

colle elephant 2

colle elephant 1

Next I experimented more with varieties of papers to collage into the print including candy wrappers, foil, newsprint, sheet music, tissue and gold metallic leaf. The metal leaf was a nightmare to use as it tended to fall apart on handling after it was glued. If I did manage to get it onto the inked plate, it tended to stick more efficiently to the ink than to the paper, leaving unprinted blank patches on the print and a messy block to clean up. I tried to combat this by first gluing the leaf to red tissue paper and allowing it to dry, but this did not stop a similar thing from occuring again as the metal adhered to the ink.

There is a balance to be struck between how patterned the collaged pieces are compared to the detail of the print, and I am not sure if in some examples below the background is too prominent and distracting. It may be worth exploring knocking back the details as I would do in my sketch book by washing the papers with a thin white acrylic before using them. The thickness of the paper is also very important as there can be a slight halo effect around the colle pieces. For the prints incorporating candy wrappers and foil, I spent a long time experimenting with various colour combinations, and was influenced a fair amount by Matisse and his ‘Snail’ cut-out. His work has been on my mind as his exhibition at the Tate Modern is on this spring.

colle boy 6 colle boy 5 colle boy 7 colle boy 1 colle boy 2 colle boy 3



Combination Prints – Running Boy



For the next set of prints, I used another sketch from my India sketchbook. Bearing in mind that I had felt I needed to leave more space for the monoprint to play its part in the overall print design, I kept the lino cut very simple.

boy sketch

The initial print worked nicely as it was, but I decided to cut more of the boys’ clothes away to allow space for more detail on the monoprint. I inked the plate quite heavily for these prints in order to show the cutting marks in the negative space. I have been looking at the prints of Holly Meade, and love the energy around her characters created by the cutting lines. The boy in my sketch was full of excitement, and running unbounded, which I wanted to convey in the prints.

boy print 1

Boy print 2


My initial print was painted with a brush, and the clothing was drawn into with a cocktail stick. The colours were influenced by the warm light of India, with a suitable contrasting violet. I chose to have the monoprint extend the frame, to represent the uncontainable energy of the child. The halo around the figure was reminiscent of the Ready Brek adverts of my youth, but the brush marks have the unfortunate effect of looking more like fire.

mono boy 1

As the sketch was made in a block printing village, I thought it would be interesting to see how block printing onto the plate as a background to the figure would work. I reversed the colours which seems to have worked well. I used the violet ink quite thickly to ensure a clear print from block to glass. This meant that the pattern was distorted in places, but I thought this was a success with the cutting marks over the top. It is a little messy at the edges but the registration is good.

mono boy 2


I then used the same block in a different way, using it as a tool for manipulating ink rolled directed onto the plate. I wanted to explore extending marks beyond the plate again, but I wish that I had been more careful about maintaining a horizontal upper border. The marks to the right are really nice, but the wayward upper line is a distraction which ruins it for me.

mono boy 3

In this final print, I looked again at extending borders in a more extreme way, by setting the print in a much larger monoprint. I back drew the monoprint on a plate inked in violet, ochre and terracotta, and overprinted in violet. I kept the backdrawing sketch loose in character, and linked the forms in a pattern repeat that revealed more interesting shapes and relationships. It looks like a time-lapse of the boy running, and the lino print in violet over the terracotta makes the lines appear looser and more energetic.

mono boy 5

I am a little concerned that although I have demonstrated some good ideas and my registration is competent, all my prints are more of a sketch quality than a final polished print. Time as always is against me, and my deadline has gone out of the window. I actually completed these prints two months ago, but have struggled with recording everything formally. I have deferred to the November assessment, but it is still a struggle to keep momentum going.