First Color Separation, In Practice

Here’s a quick review of the goal for this project, a simple image (by today’s photographic standards) with some semblance of shading and color.

[Color Separation Simulation]
[Separate Plates]
Here are the four blocks that I carved to print this image. (You’ll notice that the grey one is significantly different. More on that in a minute…)

[Color Separation Blocks]
[In process]
Since this was my first time performing a color separation and printing from the resulting plates, I had a LOT to learn. It’s not surprising that I spent over 12 hours learning from mistakes, recarving plates, modifying my jig, and inking, inking, inking. At the end of the day I had printed 12 images and learned at least as many things about this process. Every print has notes about what I did and what needs to happen next. It’s hard to make too many changes at once, so each step basically solves the most pressing one or two problems at the time. I’m not quite done learning with this image, so I’m going to continue with it tomorrow.
[Today’s run]
Here’s the first image that I pulled this morning. Things to notice:
  1. The red plate is quite misregistered.
  2. The red blobs are too small for the spaces where they belong.
  3. There is a lot of detail missing in the black.
  4. There are white lines around any place where black is surrounded by grey.

[First print]


[Last print today]

One of the keys to this type of printing is a technique called “trapping” where an area to be printed is expanded very slightly to make up for any minute misregistration of the plates. Trapping was the solution to the white area around the berries, but I chose a different solution for the grey/black/green interaction. I decided to print the grey area solid instead of knocking out areas for the black or green to sit. That way, misregistered spots are grey instead of paper white.

My critique of this last print? There are still missing details in the black, and the berries need to be trapped just a tiny bit more to prevent the white lines that are still showing up in spots. Tomorrow’s another day!

Let me leave you with a snapshot of my ink slab. Can you believe that I was still one pallet knife short?
[Ink slab]