Cobbles V

by maggie


Here we are starting at the end. I’m really pleased how this print has turned out. This was probably the last place I imagined finishing at after five weeks, but when I’ve published cobbles i-iv you’ll see how the journey progressed.

Here are the two plates for this print.


First plate. using ‘dry-point card’ I cut away the shiny surface everywhere but the quartz vein through the pebble. tearing off different amounts of card gives the variation in texture.


Top plate. The grey sticky back plastic stops the ink in the pebble area. The red ink has been picked up from the paper and I haven’t cleaned the plate yet. If you crank up the contrast on your monitor you can see the modelling of the plate that gives the print its texture.

So you might recognise this image from Cobbles III. The process of making the plates was a bit of a lesson in technological advances.

  • first I traced the image from my sketch book. it was 110mm sq. and I needed it to be 150mm sq.
  • initially I thought I could square the image up the old fashioned way by hand, but that was a nightmare, every time a redrew the lines the spontaneity would be lost
  • then I remembered I had a photocopier to hand yeah! quick sum 15/10 x 100 gives the amount of magnification needed.
  • now that I had the correct image size I could transfer it to my plates
  • carbon paper doesn’t stick to the shiny surface of dry-point card
  • scalpels may feel sharp even when they are not…
  • marking the corners of the plate on the image I cut through it with a knife and then carefully peeled the top layer of card away. you can see where this took a few tries in the white area of the print.
  • the second plate should have been simpler. Cut out the out side of the pebble from the plastic and stick it to an existing plate using the photocopied image as a guide. Except it wouldn’t stick.

Hopefully I’ll get a few prints from these plates before something breaks irrevocably.

I have also been working on another plate based on the square collage at the bottom of this page (feb’15). It’s made like all the others by cutting along weaknesses in the paper made by creasing and dyeing.


cutting paper along it’s folds and markings gives a quite different effect than tearing. i don’t know why i didn’t think of it before

I liked the movement of the vein and the concentration of pink around the green. There’s more work to be done to make the print like the college, but i’ve made a start.

I made the plate the same way as the red one above; photocopying and cutting with a knife. I knew I had more capacity to play with tones on this plate than the last so i cut into the plate where the red creases were too. Still learning, still a work in progress.


Lost a little crispness in the process hasn’t it. the plate needs more work so that the vein relates to the country rock again. nice contrast, even if the context is lost a little.


hmmm… the halo round the white areas is from the cleaning oil. watch this space

One of the reasons I work with the dry-point card again is because of the difficulty in getting small areas to stay white. With the card the shiny areas are proud of the  textured areas so they can’t get clogged with ink, but that makes them vulnerable.

So it goes.

But I’m happy I’m not thrashing around in a soup of possibility quite so much any more.