Meet the witch-boy. He surfaced toward the end of my Inktober series for this year. I did a couple more sketches of him after the first, intrigued.
A few weeks ago I began studying intaglio again, and decided I’d like to do an etching of this guy, but that initial sketch needed some work, it was very rough. Below are four different studies I worked on my iPad of the witch-boy in various different wooded settings.
Above is the first study. I like the composition of the snow and path, but after some thought I decided that these slender trees are not quite what I had in mind; they lack mystery. So I moved one to another.
Here are some beefier trees which I can easily imagine being toned with a combination of line etch and aquatint (a way of introducing continuous tone shades to a print) I like this one! But I kept going.
Continue reading “A witch-boy wanders woods at the full moon”
Here is a picture I took with my phone after working the drawing in the hard ground, then immersing the plate for three ‘bites’ in the acid. This plate will serve as my re-entry to the world and techniques of etching, since it’s been over 7 years since I took my first class, so I didn’t spend a ton of time on it
The way this process works:
1. Coat copper with ‘hard ground’ which is basically a sort of wax
2. Draw into the hard ground, exposing the copper
3. Immerse the plate (carefully, wearing gloves) into a bath of ferric-chloride solution. The longer it is in, the deeper and the acid ‘etches’ your lines into the copper, so they hold more ink.
It’s very similar to the photographic process in that way. So if you want some lines to stay very thin, you do a ‘first bite,’ then mask off some areas. Immerse for a second bite, etc.
This means that even though I used the same scribing tool on the whole plate, the result is three different line weights in the image, which will be more apparent when I do my test print.
Below is a sort of preview that I did just by inversing and using photoshop to fake it, but as this can’t show the depth of the lines, it’s not a true preview of a print.
Here is the cleaned-up inked version of the house. Next is time to trace it and then transfer the revered version of this to the plate, below:
Here is the tracing paper after transferring the image. As you can see, I replaced the original trees. I used a white charcoal pencil on the tracing paper to show up on the dark surface of the ‘wax’ ground into witch I’ll scratch the drawing. (I’m hoping the pre-made transfer paper I ordered will leave crisper lines, as this is fuzzy.)
After finishing the transfer to copper, I realized that I left all of my etching tools at the studio! So, I guess I’ll be working on that portion at class. I’ll try to take some decent photos of the line work in progress. You’ll see how impossibly fine the lines can be compared to pen or pencil. Stay tuned!
Tuesday I went to my first class in over 7 years— returning to the art of copperplate etching (intaglio). I’ve a small plate ready to work on before my next class on Tuesday. This is the wee sketch I did for it today.
It needs finessing, and then I’ll transfer it in reverse to my plate. I may change those trees to pines, and add some snow. We’ll see. I want to keep it fairly simple, but use this to re-familiarize with the studio and processes after such a long hiatus. Gotta wake up the muscle memory.
After I’ve got into a bit of a groove, I’ll embark on something more complex. I really want to design images with the various techniques in my mind from the start. Work to the medium’s strengths, not just mimic ink drawings or some such. More to come here as I progress!
I lost my momentum toward the end of the month. I remained a day or two behind schedule, and when catching up was posting to social media, but not here each day, So this post is a bit of catch up.
So there totaled three drawings of the witch-boy, leading up to Halloween. The final drawing was just a plain old hair study. Terrifically anticlimactic, honestly. I haven’t even posted that one elsewhere, as I was sort of thinking I might do something else for the 31st ‘official’. But now it’s November third, time to let it go.
Here’s what I haven’t posted the past few days— and I’m still three days behind! But the missing drawings will be forthcoming. I’m a man of my word, dammit.
Above, Day twenty-seven: : The witch boy on a night walking beneath the pointy crescent moon.
Day twenty-six: My FACE! Here’s a variation, as I already included one in the last post. This makeup was my 26 day drawing, haha.
Day twenty-five: a palm plant, enjoying the sunshine of the east-facing window in her new-old house.
Today is my birthday, and I interrupt the previously scheduled “Inktober” drawing posts to share a couple of fabulously wacky and delightful portraits of me by my dear friends, the Chickens, Zac and Tara Lynne.
We were all on a conference call (they called to sing me Happy Birthday), and knowing I was sitting on the ol’ Queen Anne sofa in my living room, they decided to each draw an impression of the scene. They sent these while we were still on the phone and we had a hilarious time dissecting the images (and cackling like the chickens that we are).
Here we have Z’s drawing; appropriately dark and highly witchy. His rendition of the blanket turned into a kind of beastly thing— seen in one way it looks like a giant crow; seen another it becomes a sort of warthog! He moved my giant clock from the dining room into the living room, and included the boxy little fish tank in the drawing. I’m looking dreadfully serious, and we joked that it was my “I must send some money to PBS, I simply must” face.
And then TL upped the ante, including labels in her diagram. Proud paintbrushes (she really knows me, haha) and hidden clothing (it’s a closet!) The money tree is so money that it speaks, and she included my Halloween makeup in this, rendering me a bandit queen. Even the phone charger snaking out from under the couch is here, and she turned my coffee table into something quite minimal and chic! Hahahahaha!!
I hafto say, these absurdly sweet drawings are among the best birthday gifts I can imagine. And they are rather inspiring as drawn bits of storytelling, too, so I really wanted to share them. Thanks, chickens!!
Day twenty-four: When at last she’d completed ministrations to her old-new house in such ways that compelled her, she returned to the leathery old box— a delicious reward. Retrieved from its out-of-the-way place of safe-keeping (much to Cat’s chagrin), she opened it. It contained the following:
+ One journal; worn but not ruined
+ One sheaf of very old photographs (same)
+ One packet of post-cards, written long ago (in surprisingly decent nick)
+ One iron key, threaded on a threadbare plaited tassel
The mystery had only just begun.
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Day twenty-two: A photo from her youth; freckled after a Summer spent at a warmer seaside town with her family
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