Sunday, December 20
Print Gocco and Holiday Cards 3
Having worked with this blue Gocco ink in the past, I was quite prepared to mix it up. Adding white to blue ink was a complete failure and resulted in a not-noticeably less-dark night sky, so this time I drew out ten lines of white ink and one line of blue ink. This turned out to be a very good ratio, and when I mixed up the ink it produced a nice light blue sky color. But this mixture had to be manually spread onto the stencil. Lacking a thin, flexible paint knife with a narrow edge, I had to improvise. I tried a chopstick, which was fine for blending the ink but terrible for precise placement. Rebecca got me a plastic spoon which worked much better, especially when it broke: the handle was thin enough to daub the ink in tight turns and narrow areas.
That waffle-print comes from the foam cushion inside the Print Gocco. When you're making a stencil, you have a foam platform with a thin coat of plastic and that waffle-print surface, and upon that you place the image (carbon-black lines on a white background) and the blank template. The flash bulbs quickly build heat in the black ink which burns an impression into the template, and it's through that impression the ink must flow. But the waffle-print comes into play if you don't put a thicker card behind the white sheet with the blank ink on it. Place a thicker card back there, or a few sheets of regular paper, to mitigate the channels formed in the waffly foam surface and the paper with the black image will be nice and flat for the template. I won't make that mistake again.
You can see the loaded stencil in place, and the white sheet below it would be replaced by 50 folded pieces of cardstock in succession. This is the fun part of the whole thing, notable for a project that is fun all the way through. I want to save the Gocco for special occasions, but once I get going on it I don't want to stop. Using this device is simplicity itself: drawing the design in Photoshop is harder than transferring it to the stencil and loading it with ink. Printing is so easy, more thought is required in strategizing where the printed items will be arrange to allow them to dry. And once the cards were done, I literally glanced around the room to see if there were anything else that needed printing on...