View Full Version : Hand Coloring Block Prints

04-25-2003, 06:37 PM
Hi Everyone,
Does anybody have any tips or tricks for hand-coloring block prints. I'm using water-based speedball ink. Giving over a week to dry and when I use a wet medium, like acrylic paint, my black ink is bleeding. Any suggestions?
Below is an example of my work on the left the print is on white print paper and painted with acrylics directly on the print. You can see the smearing of the ink. On the right the print is printed on vellum and painted on the back.
Also, what is the rule for numbering hand-colored editions?


04-25-2003, 06:40 PM
I forgot to mention that the print on the left is an artist's proof and I reworked the background for my final, that's why the image is not exactly the same.

04-25-2003, 07:13 PM
Another great image :) I tried water based speed ball ink, and stopped using them when I went in to hand color for the very same reason. I was using watercolor washes for varied editions. What I suggest is that you get some oil based inks. They do not bleed, and humidity will not affect them as it does water based inks. The oil based may smell worse, but believe me it is much better to work with. There are non-toxic ways to clean up so that you don't have to use solvent. I use vetgable oil to get the ink off the plate, and then I use Dawn dishwashing liquid to wash the plate clean. The veggie oil is great for cleaning your brayers and inking surface also.

04-26-2003, 12:29 AM
I was afraid oil-based inks were going to be the answer. I like the idea of being able to clean them with veggie oil but I'm still a little leery of using them because I work at home. I may have to experiment though, to just see. I do notice a difference in the inks, the water-based just isn't as velvety rich as oil based inks.
I was reading about Mary Azarian, who is a famous children's book illustrator/printmaker and she said she hand-colored prints with acrylics and used water-based inks. Maybe I should just be brave and ask her what is her secret. I'm sure she'd love that!
Thank you for the info!

04-26-2003, 01:23 AM
I work at home also. I have one of those little window fans with two fans in one that sucks the gunk out of the air. That helps a lot. Oh, you made a comment about working with a spoon. I did that for the longest time until I got my press.

04-26-2003, 10:28 AM
Probably not the best solution but I have seen prints where an artist does the colouring *first*. You could place a template (reverse of course) under the paper and work on top of a lightbox if you wanted precision. I saw some wonderful woodcuts in Brussells about 3 years ago where it looks like they coloured first, then overprinted with the black inked plate. I liked how the colour edges didn't exactly match up with the plate print. Rather nice.


04-29-2003, 03:05 AM
That is how I do a lot of my block printing, timelady. For the longest time I did reduction cut, which as you know are very difficult to register. Then I tried out using ghost prints from mono types, and I was happy with those results. I still love doing varied editions though. People may like the image but not the color. By doing wahes I can get different effects, and please more potentional clients :) I am going to give your suggest a try. From what you described I think I would like the diversity in the carefull colored areas against the black, sepia, or blue black which are my favorite inks.

04-29-2003, 09:43 AM
Although I haven't tried them, Daniel Smith says their water-based inks do not rewet. I do like their oil-based inks and the black is quite nice. It does take longer for their inks to cure than speedball.

05-01-2003, 02:49 PM
I've done all the described ways of printing. Using the waterbased inks (which I still prefer for cleanup), oil based, painting the paper first then printing (one of my favorite ways) and I have a tube of the Daniel Smith black relief ink. It does clean up easier than the oils, but it also takes about as long to dry. I like it. It is a very black ink. I haven't had as much trouble with it bleeding into the colors as the waterbased.

Little Old Lady
05-09-2003, 09:06 PM
I have used oil pastels to color oil based prints. We use baby oil or mineral oil for clean up of oil based ind. I am sure it is cheaper than vegetable oil.