Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Tunnel Books Continued

Ok...so cast your mind back to January this year. If you are anything like me you would have been full of 'trying to face 2013 head on'. The Forth Valley Open Studios was being held for the four year running and I decided to take part for the 1st time. It is a great 8 day event where artists in the Forth Valley open their studios/houses to the public. At the time (in January), when I applied, I decided to give myself an illustration based brief.
"I'll create a series of Artists Books..I said to myself..and I shall hand print them all....and I shall not even consider the fact I will have limited time to work on them when I come back from  the BCTF in Harrogate" I am such a ninny!
Having said that, I have realised that I do work better under pressure. If I don't have tight deadlines I do end up flouncing about getting nothing done.
So in effect,  I decided to create 8 tunnel books, ALL of which were to be hand printed. When I first posted about this project in April,  I didn't know whether I would use linocut or collagraph. So I spent a day or so working out how I would build up the image for each 'page' in the book.  Turned out that Linocut was really just going to be too complex for this and I would probably end up rocking in a corner! So collagraph it would be. This probably doesn't make much sense now....but bear with me. All will be clear (hopefully) the further you read and I hope you will enjoy seeing the process unfold .

So first things first, I had to plan the dimensions of my book and what sizes the concertina spines and pages within would be. This is very BORING to explain in words so if you want to get genned up in pics have a wee look at my 'Here's How I Make A Tunnel Book' post.

Once I got the sizes sorted I then started drawing up my designs. Here is my rough sketch of Wee Willie Winkie

I then got this drawn up on a template that I would use to position the elements of the composition on my printing plate.

The sketch on the left was copied onto grey cardboard using old fashioned carbon paper. 
Cardboard was cut to the same size as the page dimensions and the image was transferred onto it. A series of guides were drawn so I knew where to position the main image area. Notice that the side borders are kept clear. This is because this area will be the part that goes into the concertina spine once the book is assembled and will be more or less hidden from view. This was the start of my printing plate.
A collagraph is a print that is made from a collage of different textured materials, in this case, the green is scrunched up tissue paper and the little houses are from scraps of paper. This is the only detail I needed to add at this point as this is the back page....or background.

Ink is applied to the printing plate using the intaglio method
I added little stars to act as a stencil 
The plate was given several coats of varnish and then was inked up with a nice night time blue.
Paper was dampened and then placed on top of the inky plate. This was then put through my etching press.

Here is the print of the background.
The next stage was to add more detail to the middle area. This would be the page viewed in front of the background.

Here I used different textured papers to create more 'street scene'

The scene starts taking shape
The newly added areas of the plate were varnished and it was inked up in a nice contrasting violet solfarino. It was then printed onto a new piece of paper to create the second page. Once dry, I then cut away an area of the new print to reveal the blue background page at the rear.
Next was the main character......
The final part of the plate
Wee Willie Winkie was made out of paper, old curtains and string. He was stuck onto the plate and varnished. All ready to be put through the press.

The finished collagraph plate

I wasn't sure about colour, so I printed off a couple of proofs. Once the print was dry, I added some colour to the final print by hand. I then cut it out in the same way as before, this time revealing parts of the background and middle ground. I made a mock up tunnel book just to see how the finished item would look and also to judge whether the hand colouring was overkill.

The concertina spines for all eight tunnels books. 
Each tunnel book or scene needed 2 spines. The vertical edge of each page is butted up flush to the crease and adhered to the paper behind.

A mock up of the 3 pages together
I made two concertina spines and stuck each page on a fold. I hand coloured the figure using acrylic ink. Experimentation over, it was time to create the front 'cover' or peep hole for the viewer to look through. I made a separate plate for this and printed it 8 times in different colours so that each cover would contrast the colours used in each of the books. Here is a birds eye view of The Owl and The Pussycat so you can see how the book was assembled. For stage by stage assembly please look at my earlier 'How I make a Tunnel Book' tutorial post

Each page slips into the folds created in the concertina spines. They are then glued to secure.

What you see above is the process that I followed to create one tunnel book. I made 7 more in exactly the same way and they are all pictured below. It was quite difficult to get the camera to focus so the front cover is a bit blurry, but you should be able to get the gist.....hopefully they'll make you smile.

Wee Willie

Cock a Doodle Do

Hey Diddle Diddle

Hickory Dickory Dock

Incy Wincy

The Owl and The Pussycat

Ride a Cock Horse

Humpty Dumpty

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