Yoshida sailing ship - test printing begins
Posted by Dave Bull at 2:39 AM, May 15, 2012 [Permalink]
Today saw the first test printing on the Yoshida sailboat design. Tsushima-san and I sat down alternately at her workstation and put down the first half dozen or so impressions on some test sheets.
Here's a closer look at what we've done so far (this is only about one third of the impressions in the final print):
We've got a mix of test paper and a few sheets of real washi, and as you can see, at this point there is no attempt whatsoever to make them 'all look alike'. We're experimenting with the depth of the tones, the width of the gradations, and the general colour selection.
The biggest thing she is taking home from this project at this stage is the way that 'light' in the finished print is created not by printing it directly, but by surrounding an area with darker tones. The yellow undertone on the sea in this print will provide the light, but it doesn't make much sense until everything else is in place. This is one of the great difficulties in doing a shin-hanga type of print - it doesn't look 'right' until you're finished, but along the way, you have no real idea how it is going to work ...
That's what testing is for, of course!
Added by: Andrew Stone on May 17, 2012 9:00 AM
Well, I've been messing with woodblocks for about 7 years but Tsushima-san is already a better printer than I am.....Must be helpful to have a good instructor after all.....! There is only so much you can learn from books....
Would be nice to see these printed block by block...I have seen Yoshida's prints up close and wondered how he managed to achieve such luminous color and layering and I'd doubt I could pull it off now given the blocks to print from.
Added by: Dave on May 17, 2012 9:17 AM
printed block by block ...
Once she starts the main edition, we'll be blogging the step by step colour laydown, so everybody can see how it comes together ...
As for her quick progress, well of course the fact that she is 'slotting in' in a very established workroom helps a great deal.
My own progress many years ago was extremely slow, as I had no model at all, and struggled with every single aspect of the work - the moisture in the paper, the paste, how much pressure to apply, and etc. and etc. endlessly. She has no such struggle; the properly 'performed' process is going on all around her, and 'all' she has to do is drink it in ... That's not something that just anybody can do, but she's obviously got some pretty good aptitude for this!
Added by: Marc Kahn on May 17, 2012 1:19 PM
I'm looking forward to seeing a series of prints from the same blocks with color and impression variations. Hiroshi Yoshida did that twice with a very similar image, in 1921 (published by Watanabe) and again in 1926 (self-published).
Why not make a set?
Added by: Dave on May 17, 2012 1:23 PM
make a set ...
This came up in the comments to the previous post. We are certainly going to make at least one more version - the night scene that Yoshida outlined in the original book.
I'm not sure that there's really enough 'content' in the image of this simplified version of his famous design to allow for a full day of variations ...
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