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Watercolors as a Background for Safety-Kut Prints

Safety-Kut Print

1. Start with an original drawing. If it's drawn in soft pencil, you can turn it face down on a Safety-Kut Soft Printmaking Block and transfer it by rubbing. If you'd like to keep the original drawing intact, photocopy it, then transfer it to the block using Bestine or lacquer thinner.

2. Cut your block, then test-print the block on plain paper and make any necessary corrections to the design. Using a test print as a guide for color placement, lay down washes on a piece of watercolor paper. You may find it's easier to register the print on the painted areas of the paper if the paper is cut to the approximate size of your block. (Hot pressed paper prints best because of its minimal surface texture.)

3. Let the washes dry, then print the block over the color- washed paper. We used water-based Speedball Relief Printing Ink over washes of Daniel Smith Extra Fine and Luminescent Watercolors.

This process of printing over watercolors is not exact and you should expect a good deal of variation among the prints. Essentially, you're creating monoprints. You could rework the prints with additional paint or colored pencils. As another variation, use oil-based Daniel Smith or Speedball Relief Ink for the prints, allow it to dry, then use watercolors to fill in areas where you want color.