Blotted Line Technique - Spider Crab No.9

I was first introduced to the Blotted Line technique by a wonderful tutor at my local Adult Education college called Jamie Ogilvie. We were looking at Andy Warhol's early illustrations where he combined this simple printmaking technique with watercolour paint.  Initially I tried it with more subjective drawings and gradually applied it to observational studies of seafood as the technique complimented the subject. I find this basic form of printmaking gives my work a quality that I can not create through drawing.

Spider Crab No.9

Defrosting Spider Crab

Defrosting Spider Crab

I always begin with a drawing or photo of the subject. The crab was placed on a board and frozen in-between drawing sessions.

Adding tone to drawing of Spider Crab

Adding tone to drawing of Spider Crab

I begin a rough construction drawing on a separate sheet as it doesn't matter if there are any mistakes. Once I am happy that everything is in the right place it is transferred on to a clean piece of paper. I try to work evenly across the drawing gradually adding darker tones.

Tracing of Spider Crab Drawing

Tracing of Spider Crab Drawing

The tracing stage is where I try and simplify the image and decide what areas will be printed or painted. 

Positioning the tracing on watercolour paper 

Positioning the tracing on watercolour paper 

The tracing is positioned on a stretched sheet of watercolour paper and attached with masking tape on one side to form a hinge. This allows the tracing to be turned over so the reverse side can be drawn on with ink and then printed.

Drawing on the reverse of the tracing with a dip pen & ink

Drawing on the reverse of the tracing with a dip pen & ink

To create a blotted line print, I draw on the reverse side of the tracing with a dip pen and then flip it back into position before gently pressing it down. It is a combination of speed and quantity of ink on the nib that gives a thinner line. However it is always wonderful when you get unexpected inky blobs that add another dimension to the image.

Blotted Line printing stage finished

Blotted Line printing stage finished

Painting watercolour - wet on wet 

Painting watercolour - wet on wet 

Painting Blotted Line print of Spider Crab

Painting Blotted Line print of Spider Crab

Using a photograph for colour reference and the original drawing for tonal values, I mix several colours of paint and apply it as loose wet on wet washes.

Spider Crab No.9

Spider Crab No.9

Once the paint is dry I add the shadows and the painting is complete. The Blotted Line technique is very versatile and can be used with other media to create interesting textures and marks.

The original painting will be exhibiting at The Kent Painters Group Art Exhibition on 27, 28, & 29 October 2017 Sevenoaks School TN13 1HU