This semester I explored a new part of art: printmaking. Printmaking is the process of making art by printing (according to Google). Of course, there is more to it than that, but that’s basically what it is— printing on a piece of paper. This spring I learned two types of printing methods: block printing and screen printing. Using these two methods, my printmaking teacher gave us “space” as a broad theme for our prints. We then created an accordion book with our own branched-off concept from that theme.
My theme was “expanding space”. First I thought, what happens what you get older? Your “space” expands; you realize that your world gets bigger and bigger and you learn new things everyday. I represented this concept with a series of landscape prints, some of San Francisco.
I also wanted to illustrate the growth of knowledge by incorporating more colors into each print as the book went along — in my first print, I used only black. For the rest, I added several different colors and layers to brighten up the book.
For my first print, I started with a print of my house. I used a linoleum block and black ink to create a print that would feel nostalgic as well as a little dated. This process is known as block printing.Block printing is basically like using a stamp. You carve into a piece of linoleum (or wood) creating your design. The design is then covered with ink and pressed onto a piece of paper and voilà — a print!
For the rest of the series, I used a process called screen printing. While block printing is like using a stamp, screen printing is like using a stencil. You push ink through holes in a mesh silk screen and it transfers onto your piece of paper (or fabric). It is also simpler than block printing, because it doesn’t require extensive effort to produce an image.
Although I was supposed to have a total of eight prints in the book, I’m still proud that I managed to have six in my completed project. This entire printmaking experience has opened my eyes to an amazing art medium that I enjoy. Hopefully, I’ll continue to expand my space in the future by learning more and more about art.
Words and images by Lily Young