Antebellum 4.25 x 4.75 Glue Collagraph with colored pencil (Visit my Etsy Shop)
What’s a Glue Collagraph?
Glue Collagraphs are a fun & easy printmaking method. You can collect the supplies and get started right away, and have a print party. 🙂 This simple, painterly approach to printmaking doesn’t require any cutting or sharp tools, and with a little planning, you won’t even need to use a press to pull the prints!
How Do you Make a Glue Collagraph?
Building this plate is so simple, I love this process! This is a scrap piece of matboard, sealed front and back with Liquitex Gloss Medium and Varnish. The suggested figure in the hat was doodled in glue with a precision tip squeeze bottle that comes with Scotch 3M glue. The piles of printmaking ink (oil based) in the background were used for a whole day of printing other plates, so you wouldn’t need this much for a project and plate this small, and you can use water-based printmaking inks too (but be sure they are the type that don’t dry as soon as they’re exposed to air, as many do, or they’ll dry on your plate before you’ve even printed). I pulled four glue collagraphs from this plate, using small amounts of printmaking inks.
Ready to Ink
Here is the plate above, inked. I used an inexpensive paint brush to apply light shades of yellow, orange and cerulean blue inks to the background. I saved the darkest value of indigo blue ink to “top roll” the raised glue areas with a printmaking brayer. This contrast brings the linear elements and random spread of the glue up from the background colors on the pulled print. You can see that my brayer touched the background in some areas (hazy blue ink on the yellow background around her hat), but no matter, because this is a loosey-juicy method with lots of wiggle room for ooopsies and darnits.
Pulling the Print
After a trip through the press, *or* a good hand-rub on the back of the paper with a spoon or a wooden drawer knob, the print is pulled from the plate to reveal this very painterly image. If you’re hand-transferring the image (without a press), I’d recommend two things; 1) keep your glue drawing pretty simple, with very few or no little circle or loop shapes, since you won’t get your paper into any “donut hole” raised glue interiors to collect background inks. And 2) use a lightweight paper, like BFK Rives lightweight white paper, which will adhere well to the ink, and it’s thin and flexible enough to curve around the raised glue areas to dip towards the flat surface of the plate and pick up your background colors. BFK Rives is also tough enough to give you the option of adding other media.
Enhancing with Other Media
This (above) is what the print looked like before I added colored pencil. There is a variety of media you can add to the print after it’s dry – which is why you don’t have to be too fussy with the inking. Colored pencil, pastel, acrylic and oil all work very well on top of this collagraph art print.
Print in Different Colors
At this point, you can add more ink to the plate and print another collagraph in the same colorway, or wipe the plate clean and add completely different colors to print it again. (Unfortunately, the plate for this print was stolen at an art exhibit. I carried it to the exhibit with me, along with supplies to describe/encourage the process. I was talking with a patron for just a minute, and when I returned to the counter, the plate was gone. Grrrr. To whoever stole it; Karma, people! What goes around, comes around.)
Free Online Video Tutorials
If you like this method of printmaking, and you’re interested in learning more, you can also make a line-style collagraph, like the girl above, using mat board, an exacto knife and carborundum. And if you want even more collagraph goodness, you can watch the tutorials I’ve posted on my youtube channel here.
I’ll see you in the next post!
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One authentic portrait of Leonardo by his own hand exists in a red chalk drawing at the library at Turin. Dating from the last years of his life, it shows the face of a seer, moulded by incessant thought into firm, strongly marked lines. The eyes lurk deep beneath shaggy brows, the hair and beard are long and straggling – it is the face of a man who has peered into hidden things and who has pondered deeply over what he discerned. The beard is no longer “curled and well kept,” in the words of a contemporary document, wherein he is described as “of a fine person, well proportioned, full of grace and of a beautiful aspect, wearing a rose-coloured tunic, short to the knee, although long garments were then in use.”
Mr. Berenson has suggested that the youth in armour, who alone among all the figures in Leonardo’s Adoration of the Magi in the Louvre turns away from the scene and looks towards the spectator, is a portrait of Leonardo himself.
~The Drawings of Leonardo da Vinci by Charles Lewis Hind (1907)