06-21-2009, 09:04 AM
what the difference between the mini lithographs mike does and normal prints?
06-21-2009, 09:21 AM
Litho's are high quality lithographic prints (for lush colors) and prints are usually just ordinary (yet totally sweet) prints. Google 'litho' and the method of such will be explained. Another printing method is 'silkscreen' which also makes for prime colors. If I'm correct a litho can handle blended or shaded colors well too (like watercolors or paintings, whereas a silkscreen is unbeatable for non blended colors. Both silkscreens (like 200 or less) and lithographs (st like 1500 or less) have a limited run.
06-21-2009, 12:39 PM
The difference between the mini prints that Mike does and what you've called "normal" is mechanically nothing, if by "normal" you mean any offset litho print. I haven't ever seen one of the larger Hellboy prints to get an idea of the materials, but I assume that the paper is a nicer stock than your usual poster and the process is probably CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and blacK), maybe with spot colours (spot colours are used for solid custom colours or colours that cannot be accurately created with CMYK process). The screen resolution would typically be higher than for a poster as well. Looking at the mini prints, they might involve spot colours, but I think it's just really finely screened CMYK. I have no idea about the colour-fastness of the ink in either prints or the acid-free-ness of the paper in either prints.
As a person with a lot of print-maker friends, I'd just like to speak up on behalf of their art form and distinguish industrialized offset lithography from hand-pulled lithography. With offset lithography, the same machinery is used for Mike's prints, textbooks, magazines, movie posters, U.S. Postage Stamps, etc. The difference is the quality of the paper and inks, and the resolution of the print. The edition size is dictated by the setting on the computer driving the machinery. Most of the cost is in the initial set-up, so smaller volumes will be per unit more expensvie, but the quality between print #1 of 1000 and #999 of 1000 ought to be negligible unless they've got something wrong with their equipment. (And for smaller prints, they're likely printing a mulitple of copies off of one plate, like postage stamps on a sheet, so #14 might have come from the same sheet as #24, just a different repetition of the image on the same plate, and later the sheet is cut up into the smaller prints). You can look up the actual process on Wikipedia, if you're interested.
"Hand-pulled" is quite different. A hand-pulled lithograph is made on a block of limestone (though a similar process may also be done on a metal plate) that has the image drawn in a greasy, ink-attracting medium, then an acidic coating of gum arabic reacts with the limestone to create an ink-repelling, water-attracting background. The drawing is removed with turpentine, but a greasy layer is left embedded in the stone (this may also be done by projecting an image on photo-emulsion). The stone is kept wet, so the oil-based ink is repelled by the background and attracted to the greasy image areas. The plate is rolled by hand with ink, water-soaked paper is pressed onto the plate with a press and then pulled off and pinned out to dry (at least I think the paper is soaked as it is for other techniques). Additional colours must be drawn on new plates and registered with the earlier colours (colours may also be applied with screen-printing). A hand-pulled print can take days (or weeks when you've got a day job) to finish.
It's a lot of work to hand-pull a print, so edition sizes are never large. Also, the plate can show wear (though less than other processes), so later numbers may not be as true to the original as early numbers. Artist's proofs (the first test or several) and serious mistakes are usually not included in the edition, but artist's proofs may be highly sought after later. Inks and papers used in hand-pulled methods are almost always light-fast and the papers always acid-free cotton because you don't go to that much trouble to make something that isn't going to last.
As well, hand-made lithos that are drawn directly on the surface are the original image, so that when the stone is stripped, that's it, the source is gone forever.
Silk-screens can also be mechanized (see: T-shirt printing) but since each colour needs its own screen (unlike offset lithography which can use CMYK process to simulate a rainbow of colours), very complex serigraphs will be more expensive than one or two colour serigraphs. The screens can fill up so there may be some difference between earlier numbers and later numbers in the edition, especially if they don't replace the screens. Hand-pulled serigraphs involve registering the screen and squeeging the ink one colour and print at a time, so they're obviously much more labour-intensive than a mechanized print. There are certain techniques that can be achieved with a hand-pulled serigraph that cannot be done with a mechanized process.
There are a number of other print-making techniques that each have their own character: eg. wood-block, lino-cut, intaglio (etching) and mono-printing which, as the name suggests, always produces an edition of one.
You would think that hand-pulled prints would be a zillion times more expensive than offset litho, and they can be, but you'd be surprised that they're often not. Look around for neighborhood print-making collective (print-makers often team up because it makes a lot of sense to share equipment) and find out when they're having a show and discover a new (old) art form. You might pick up a really nice piece of original artwork for less than you would expect.
This concludes my public service announcement on behalf of my print-making pals who now owe me a beer.
06-21-2009, 01:02 PM
Incidentally, one of those print-making pals introduced me to Hellboy comics. He admired the vast swaths of black ink and noted that Mignola's style reminded him of German Expressionist woodblock prints.
Mike Mignola should collaborate with some print-makers some time.
06-21-2009, 01:33 PM
Wow, thanks Maija. I didn't expect to get edjumacated today. :biggrin:
But seriously, thanks for that. Very enlightening.
06-21-2009, 10:27 PM
As a somewhat off topic side note: Our Mouse Guard poster (David Petersen) has a BFA in printmaking and is well versed in all this stuff. Many elements of his distinctive style of illustration reference wood-cut and lithography techniques such as stippling and cross-hatching.
06-24-2009, 05:10 AM
Maija: Big hug from a fellow print-lover.
: ) Jakob
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