Archive for the ‘Printmaking’ Category


Y’know, I’ve been calling myself a “printmaker” for years. Maybe secondary to being a “painter,” but I’ve definitely said it a few times. Well it wasn’t until this past December (2016) that I did my first, proper print run. A proper edition. 40 prints of our boy, Charon, ferryman of the dead!

It was an interesting process to set this all up in my studio… that is, my apartment. It worked out very well in the end! I had to get a little creative in my setup to achieve the uniformity required for a proper edition though. Especially (well ok, MOSTLY) because I don’t have a printing press. But I documented the whole thing and here we go!

First we need our ink! I’ve certainly never had to mix this much ink for anything before. How exciting!

I love using small amounts iridescent colours in lino prints. It gives just the tiniest bit of extra luminosity without looking cheap or cheesy.

Oh, I should mention the fact that this was a reduction-print. Something I’ve never tried before. In all of my other printmaking, like the book covers and such, I’ve made a separate block or plate for each colour to be printed. With the reduction method, the same block is used for every colour; reworked at every colour change. As much as I hate to admit it, it was talking to my brother, Trevor, that made me realize a reduction-print was exactly what I wanted for this image. ‘Course Trevor taught me linocut printing in the first place, so maybe it’s not so horrible to give him a tiny bit of credit. It’s also really cool cause with this method you essentially destroy the block for each colour as you work, so I can never ever print this again! 40 of ’em and that’s IT! Here’s the second colour from block, to ink, to print, to mass drying.

So to make up for the lack of a press, I had to figure out some way I could print all 40 of them, and all four colours of each uniformly. I built myself a makeshift image-registration-apparatus. MIRA for short. My dear sweet MIRA was made of cardboard and packing tape. There was a hole to fit the inked block, and a kind of slot to line up the edge of the paper. The pressure was then applied by hand by yours truly.

Unquestionably professional inking station, of course. UPIS for short.

MIRA in action.

It worked remarkably well.

Sebastian helping out.

Little dummy only managed to get a big paw print on one of the prints, which now has a happy home. The print, not the paw. I let him keep that. (Actually I was unsure if I was supposed to sign that one Corey AND Sebastian… Maybe a monoprint? Maybe that made my final edition 39 and not 40!? But then I realized that if he was my unpaid intern I wouldn’t have to credit him in the least, so here we are.)

The third colour.

The final colour.

I spent two-days-straight kneeling in this cozy printing nest.

Looking goooooood…

Just look at them all!

And there he is! Our boy! Charon! Crossing the river Styx. A river so austere, even the gods swear their oaths by it.

Speaking of our boy, it’s me! Checking to see if they’re dry yet! Photo credit to our boy, Andy!

The Castle of Otranto

This is it. The one. The tip of the top. The creme de la creme.

Ok, enough colloquialisms… but this IS pretty exciting. Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, is THE FIRST Gothic Horror. Oh yeah, this is where it aaaaaall started. Well, theoretically. But generally speaking and historically speaking,  this is the beginning of the genre. Whether or not it sparked the genre, or was simply the first of a movement that was starting regardless, who knows.

Either way, this is the big one.

Flourished story, flourished cover.

Flourished story, flourished cover.

The Gothic text was a dream to carve. Seriously. I was also watching Star Trek the Motion Picture while I did it (the old one, not the new one… you know, with VGER. Oh man…), so I guess everything just really came together that day.

Haha, does it take away from the image when I reveal stuff like that?

The Devil-Fish

Oh my. Lots of stuff. This past weekend, I was all set up at the Queen West Art Crawl in Toronto. Which was a lot of fun… other than an event like that you don’t really get the chance to stand there with your work and see how people react to it. Pretty cool. And there were lots of nice people, too. Aaaand the weekend before, I was all set up and stuff at the Sunnyside Art Show and Sale on the Lakeshore in Toronto. And there were lots of nice people there, too! Oh my. Lots of stuff.

And speaking of stuff, my back-log of prints to post has gotten pretty big, so let’s just jump right back in, shall we?

Now The Devil-Fish isn’t actually the title of a book, but rather a chapter from The Sea-Travelers by Victor Hugo. But that’s ok cause it’s only a half-size book cover. And it’s only a half-size cover because I originally made this print to be part of a print exchange, and 3.5 x 5 inches was the maximum print size. Pretty convenient considering my regular book covers are all 5 x 7.

Anyhow, I printed the editions on a big sheet of Stonehenge paper and cut them out after. I’ve done a second run of it since, so take a look!

Had to allow for a 5 x 7 sheet size...

Had to allow for a 5 x 7 sheet size...

The page in the corner turned into bookmarks...

The page in the corner turned into bookmarks...

Hey! And here we go! As of this weekend, this is officially my most popular book cover!

Hey! And here we go!

Process, Please

Once in a while (so like twice, ever), I get asked about my lino print working process. AND IT JUST SO HAPPENS that I have some photographic evidence of just that. Believe it or not, it’s actually pretty involved, so get comfy!

Technically speaking, step 1 would be reading the book. But I don't have any pictures of that, sorry. Let's just start here.

Technically speaking, step 1 would be reading the book. But I don't have any pictures of that. Let's just start here.

First I start sketching out some ideas… this was the beginnings of Kipling’s “The Phantom Rickshaw.” I work out the format and how I want the type to look. Here you can see a lot of my research drawings. I like to go at it with as much background as I can. There’s even a sketch of Rudyard!

Insert Caption Here

Insert Caption Here

Uh, next I do a final drawing, and then transfer it to my rubber lino block (which isn’t reeeally a “linoleum” block at all) and then I carve the crap out of it! I don’t think that’s too vague…

Hey, haven't you posted this before? What a ripoff...

Hey, haven't you posted this before? What a ripoff...

Aaaand then the printing! I think I’ll post a picture of my bookmarks sometime soon before I run out of them, but there’s a bit of a peek at how they work in this photo. How do I pack SO MUCH into one post? My goodness.

Well, there you go! More or less. Some need more sketching than others, but this one is a pretty good example of whats it is thats I do.

The Body Snatcher

Oh hey! Another book cover! What are the odds?

Maaaaaan, The Body Snatcher is an awesome story. Just awesome. Robert Louis Stevenson is such a kickass author. Man. Anyway, take a look!

I picked orange for this post, but this cover has the widest range of colour that I've done for any of the other eight. It gradates from yellow to orange to red to brown.

I picked orange for this post, but this cover has the widest range of colour that I've tried out of any of the other eight books. It gradates from yellow to orange to red to brown. Well, whaddaya know?

So while we’re on the subject, the book I’m reading right now is a collection called Scottish Ghost Stories. The Body Snatcher is in it, along with a few other R.L.S. stories, it’s also one of I think three collections I have that contains The Body Snatcher… Well, maybe that’s the bane of all short story readers; do I buy this book because there’s 10 I haven’t read to every 1 that I have read? Hopefully it’s not just me being stupid.

ANYHOW, in this collection I just finished No Man’s Land, by John Buchan. Man! It was a CLASSIC! It’s got everything I look for in a good horror story… specifically the RIDICULOUS ideal of the English gentleman. Emotion? Nope, that’s for women. Superstition? Nope, that’s for the religious or the insane. Science and science alone? Yes, please. And by the way, I’ll be going hunting this afternoon; get my things ready.

HA! It’s such a baffling archetype, but I can’t help but love it. More prints next week!