Sunday, November 13, 2011

Print Test with Black and Blue + Problem Solving

After I finished carving the blue block it was time to run some tests to see if it lined up with the black. The first step in this process was to roll out the blue ink and print a few sheets, making sure to line up the corner in the registration keys.

As a side note, I have to say I really dislike the blue ink. It has a very low viscosity, is very messy getting out of the can and prints inconsistently. In the future, when I need a similar blue, I will try a different brand.

After printed three sheets of paper with the blue, I switched to printing on the black block. Like the blue block, I made sure the paper corner fit into the registration key before letting the paper fall into place. Here's what came out:

Oh the horror!

When starting this project I feared that I would have problems getting all the colors to line up correctly. Seeing this was disheartening because it could be caused by a multitude of reasons. The one I feared most was that the transfers somehow became distorted when transferring the xerox copies to the Sintra, which in turn would cause me to carve in the wrong places.

My next step was to determine what the problem was. I ran some more prints with the blue block, paying close attention to how the paper was falling after being placed in the registration key. I measured the margins in a few prints and discovered that some were off as much as half an inch while others weren't off much at all! This led me to believe that despite being aligned in the corner, the paper was shifting when it was supposed to be falling into place.

To double check to see if my transfers were an issue, I cut the margins off one of the blue prints. Instead of using the registration key to line up the print, I used the block itself. This picture was taken after being printed, hence why the black is already on the paper.

Oh what a relief!

Seeing that the transfers were not a problem I then proceeded to figure out a way to keep my margins. A flush image would be acceptable, but I planned for margins, so margins is what I want.

I used a ruler to measure and draw a line on the top and side margins.

While trying to use the drawn line to align the blue prints with the black block I noticed that sometimes the top and side of the paper would not lay on the line as they were supposed to.

This led me to believe that I was sometimes tearing my paper crooked. I don't know how this is possible since I am using a paper roller with a straightedge bar to tear with.

At any rate, I began focusing on aligning my paper on the top margin since that side of the paper was not being torn. This picture was taken after the image had been printed and dried:

In the future, I may end up gluing some extra registration keys further down on the block, but for now I will stick with the lines for aligning my paper. It may slow the printing process down a little, but I am not really concerned with time and I worry that the keys may become more of a problem than a solution. Also, while running my last print, I accidentally had my block crooked and the registration keys were scraped off by the press.

I think it's a sign that I shouldn't bother with the corner keys

There were a few places in the blue block that I want to go back into. Two places in particular stood out to me as needing to be fixed. One was the peacock's feet and the other was the arm of the scout standing behind the peacock.

These are very minor fixes and like the black block, I will wait and come back to them after the yellow block is carved and tested.