N.C.A.D. Audit Credit Module:

Print Making - Project 2



See below for outline and research for this project


See HERE for prints from this project







We first started with some basics of mark making in order to demonstrate how easy it can be to create a simple, yet effective, piece.  One simple technique we looked at was the effect of placing an object - such as a leave (see below) - under a page and coloring in over it using a pencil/graphite etc. 


We experimented with different materials (eg. netting works really well) and objects in order to explore the different types of markings that can be created from these everyday findings.  Some of the objects which proved successful in this task would therefore make good material for our etching and drypoint work later in the course.




We were then provided with a copper plate in order to experiment with the different types of markings that could be made through hard and soft ground techniques (see details on hard and soft ground in the Techniques section of the Certificate in Drawing and Visual Investigation).  



Unfortunately, I believe that a lot of time was lost and wasted throughout this exercise.  We had no clear guideline as to just how long this piece would take to complete, or, the steps required to complete the task.  We were advised that the class size was larger than the usual intake to this module and hence this was likely a factor in the issue of time lost/wasted for students throughout each class.  We were all at different steps throughout this first exercise, and unsure of what to do next, while the tutor remained constantly busy answering students queries and so we had to wait quite a while for explanations on each query we had.  If I had known that the piece would take so long to complete then I probably would have prepared a piece more suitable to my actual project work instead of just using the plate as an exercise in trying out different tools and materials. 


We were then give our project outline.  See below:

Project Outline



Subject Matter


Title: “The Discovery”, “A Special Place” or “Carbon Footprint”


Objective: Choose one of the above three titles for your final project and interpret visually from your own perspective.


Planning Your Work


Please write an essay (no more than 50 words) stating your reasons for choosing your title.  You should also state a plan of possible ways you wish to visually communicate your idea, including exploring and focusing on print techniques and materials you may use to empart your idea - examples which may be used as part of your research note book work include sketches, photographs, rubbings/photocopies and text.  Please consider diversity of materials, techniques of etching/drypoint (and their full potential in relation to your image), design composition and aesthetic value.  All should be considered as an intrinsic part of your finished print/s relevant to your idea.





We were again referred to a similar list of books as per the recommended book list during the Certificate in Drawing & Visual Investigation.  This included some of the following books - Vitamin D’, ‘Art Now!’, 'The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain' and 'The Drawing Book’.


I again revisited the photography that I had taken during my Project one research for this course and I used this printmaking project as a continuation on from my previous project work.  My theme for project 1 was based upon the urban environment of Grand Canal Square (Dublin) and I had spent a day walking around Grand Canal taking photographs and notes in my visual diary in order to record any ideas and subjects that interested me within this environment.  It was clear from my research that the areas of interest for me were subjects such as the birds, water, bridges and architecture (both the older derelict, abandoned buildings and the newer modern buildings such as the theatres).



 MY PROJECT - The Discovery 




As I had no prior experience in Printmaking, I decided that ‘The Discovery’ would be a suitable title for me to choose.  



In order to make a discovery one should constantly be seeking, investigating, exploring and asking questions.  By taking a simple starting point you can then allow this idea to evolve and move forward to a point at which you finally make a breakthrough to a meaningful and exciting piece of work.


Through this exploration of ideas and techniques, I was hopeful that my own self-discovery (on my own personal artistic interests) would also occur.  If you are open to experimentation then this will allow you to reach surprising possibilities that you may not have imagined before starting your studies and investigation.  As this module would involve different types of techniques, that were completely new to me, I was hopeful of surprising myself in some of the areas that I may progress within and the techniques that I may enjoy and excel at the most.


I started off my studies for this project by first examining my daily surroundings and space (nature, environment etc.) in order to seek new ways of looking at these mundane surroundings in a different light.  As an initial starting point, I took some photographs and I then completed rough sketches/rubbings in relation to several of these pictures.  I then used some of the below methods on these images:




Unfortunately, I believe that I missed out on a great opportunity in using the printmaking press that was available to us in the studio throughout this module.  We were not provided with clear guidance or notes on how to prepare the work for the press over the first few classes and so, as I had no prior experience in this area, I felt quite lost for most of the module.  I wasted a lot of time going back and forth waiting on opportunities to query how to prepare a plate with hard ground (leaves) and to include a photo transfer.


I strongly believe that a handout with the list of steps involved for some of these processes would have saved us so much time.  Also, as everyone ended up at different stages of the process, and working on different methods, even when you would listen in to other students questions you would mainly just catch different stages in the processes and still not have a clear guideline for your own personal work.  



The tutor was guiding me towards creating a hard ground plate to include leaves and a photo transfer....but I had no real idea of how this would turn out.  With the time that I spent learning how to complete this work I was hopeful that it would be one of the main pieces of work for my final project, however, I was pretty disappointed with my finishing piece (see below) and I really regretted having spent so long preparing it:



After spending so long on my initial practice plate and the above hard ground plate, I ended up having to try to prepare some work from at home as the course was quickly coming to an end and I did not have much to show for it!  Also, the printing press was becoming quite difficult to have time with as there was always a queue to use it towards the end of the module.  



Studio time was therefore valuable and hence the reason why I pre-prepared some work on acetate paper so that the pieces would be ready to put through the print press once in the studio.  This is a technique similar to the hard ground printmaking previously described and used in the above, however, this time instead of using a steel plate we are using acetate paper.(this is a more simplified technique than using the steel plate).  A sharp needle tool is used to create a drawing on the acetate paper.  You then ink it, bed it for the print press, place it against damp paper for the ink transfer and then, finally, run it through the print press.  I was also disappointed with these results (see below)!



Probably my best work during this project was when I returned to the linocut work that I had previously learnt during the drawing module of this course.  This is simple to prepare and all of the work can be completed from at home.



I would like to take further classes in Printmaking as I really love the output that can be achieved from these techniques.  I believe that there was not enough one on one time with tutors in this module and that the class would have benefited from some simple handouts at the start of the module.  If you are starting this course then I would advise you to read up and watch youtube videos on the different printmaking techniques before starting the class.  This will therefore allow you to make the most of the studio time and facilities once you are in the course, if not, you may be left wandering around the room for much of the class wondering what to do next while the tutor is busy with others in the class.