The first step in making a print is making drawings, in this case, pencil sketches of flowers. It's a good time of year to be doing this! I have many small drawings--pansies, forsythia, iris, day lilies, clover, black eyed susans, daisies and many un-named wild flowers I've found on our morning walks. Plus I have lots of sketches that just don't want to work.
For this print, I chose forsythia, iris and ferns to play with in making a design....
Flower pencil sketches
After the drawings are chosen, the next step is creating a pleasing composition for the print. This means tracing the sketches and some tweaking here and there. Some sections of the sketches may be repeated for emphasis and I try to balance what will be cut out of the block to leave the paper white and what will be left to hold the ink and print black. I want to have some black, some white and some textured gray. I often add leaves, vines, stems, etc. to fill in empty areas....
Final design on tracing paper
The final design for the print is transferred to the soft cut block in pencil and then Sharpie marker to clearly mark the places that will and will not be cut.
Partially cut soft cut block
The printing plate above is almost finished. Hopefully you can see the leftover marks of the linoleum cutter in the background. These will be important when the plate is printed, adding texture to the negative space. Next week? Hopefully the finished product!