Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Results Are In!

My first attempt at printing with the gocco DEFINITELY didn't turn out as perfectly as I'd imagined it would, but isn't that the way with most first attempts? I set out to produce a set of prints to send out as Christmas cards and the experiment was full of lessons learned and questions I need to ask. Even though the prints didn't turn out as beautifully as I'd hoped they would, it was still fun to make. Here's a quick look at my process and my result.

First, I sketched up the initial design, scanned it in, then cleaned it up and played with colors in the computer. After a bit of playing, I finally ended up with this.I wish we had one of those little guys to take care of our shoveling for us! Least he has friends to make the work more fun.

Next I split the colors into 3 separate black and white compositions to use to burn the screens for the 3 different colors I wanted to print. I needed to take the compositions and have them printed on the laserjet printers at Kinkos because I needed carbon in the ink. Laserjet prints contain carbon, but my home inkjet printer does not. The first printout is what I used to burn the screen for the light blue color, the second for the light green, and the third to burn the screen for the dark green. I wasn't sure if there was too much detail in my illustration or not, so I was very curious to see if the detail of the shingles and the texture on the wall of the house would show up. I was pretty impressed by the results.

Insert blue filter then screen. The blue filter keeps the print from fusing to the screen when you burn it.Screw bulbs into housing then fit into top of the unit.Press down firmly on the front of the unit which will cause bulbs to flash and burn the screen. (I added a little flare to this photo for fun, cheesy I know, but hey this photo just didn't do the flash bulbing step justice)Here's a closeup of the middle screen. Check out the detail of the thin windowpanes and the ironwork. Pretty cool that the mesh is fine enough to pick all that up.

Once the screens were all burned it was time to print. I didn't have the color blue that I wanted, so I decided to mix my own. First lesson, I should have started with white, then added the blue. It was impossible to get it light enough once I had all that blue on my screen. Even after I printed all of my papers I still had TONS of ink left on the screen. All the ink was good for a nice even print though.Once you ink the screen, you lower the plastic sheet attached to the screen and fit the screen back into the unit facing the same way as when you burned it originally. Next step, place your paper on the rubber base, lower the lid and press. Then just lift the lid, the paper will stick to the screen, then you just peel it down gently and admire your print!
So, the colors couldn't really be further from what I'd originally envisioned. I decided to just roll with it though and deal with the brightness. Honestly, I dont mind the saturation, that crazy fluorescent green is kinda fun. I think if the blue was just a bit lighter and the dark green just a bit darker I would have been more ok with the overall look of the print.

I also learned that registering 3 colors with this model gocco is super difficult. Lots of mess-ups for sure.

The final point of frustration I had was knowing how much ink to flood the screen with. It seems to vary from color to color. I dont know if maybe the inks I have are different ages or if it has something to do with the pigment, but the dark green gave me ALL SORTS of agitation. Whenever I'd peel it off the screen I'd end up with certain areas with a heavier ink buildup than others. I was running low on the dark green ink, so I wasn't quite as generous with it as I was with the other two colors, and I wonder if that might be the culprit? If anyone has had similar experience with this kind of trouble, please share! Once I ran out I threw some black ink on the screen and it didn't give me that trouble... or maybe it did, but wasn't as noticeable because black is more opaque.

Does anyone have any tips on cleaning the screens? It seems impossible!

Overall, the experience was fun, and I cant WAIT to get more supplies for another project. I'm still unsure if I want to send these prints out as Christmas cards, or if I should just get the original illustration printed at kinkos or something to send out. I feel like the quality of this first run isn't necessarily what I want it to be to share with others, but then again is part of the charm in it's flaws? You can CERTAINLY tell they're hand-made. I'll have to live with them a bit longer to make my final decision.

So that's my first gocco experience in a nutshell! Hopefully there will be more to come.PS: I'd also recommend having furry helpers near by to give second opinions on the prints. Mylo was super helpful, especially when he laid on my feet to keep them extra warm.

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Smilax said...

HI there! This is the first time I blog you! I'm from Spain, Andalusia, and I jut found you leading link by link, because I'm deeply in love with Gocco and I'd like to know where to get one!

Could you help me?

Your drawings are fab!

Warm regards and thank you!


Left & Write said...

Very impressive first gocco attempt!

I love my gocco, but am still too scared to do multicolour/layer prints.

Amy Kingman said...

Smilax, sadly they're out of production. You can find some on ebay, and sometimes you can find someone selling one in a gocco flickr group, but they've also stopped shipping supplies so even if you get one you might not be able to use it for long. :( I'm on the search for supply alternatives so that I can continue to use mine, and also stocking up. *sigh* It's very sad! If you end up finding one and know of a place where I can continue to get supplies, definitely let me know! Good luck in your search, sorry I'm not much help. Have a lovely day!

Amy Kingman said...

Left & write, thank you very much! I should have been more cautious with my multi-layer print. I think that's why the dark green was giving me trouble. Even though it was dry to the touch (3-4 hrs of drying) i dont know that it was set up enough to print on top of. Hopefully you will have better luck than I had! :) Let me know if you find any tricks of the trade as far as multi-layer prints are concerned. Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful process. Thank you for showing it.