For my latest print I wanted to include some of the traditional Japanese techniques. Here is the background block which will later be used for three more impressions. Note the traditional kento registration marks. Image size is about 3 X 9.5 inches.
The first color impression shows a very beautiful wood grain pattern
for the background color. The block is made of birch plywood and Japanese hosho was the paper selected for these prints.
The baren flattens out the paper in the color areas leaving behind whites areas with a light embossing (karazuri) effect. Actually what we are seeing is the natural thickness of the paper !
For the next impression I tried a "double" gradation (bokashi). Using the same background block as before a little pigment and paste was applied to both the top and bottom of the block. First I brushed in the gradation at the bottom of the image (pigment area on brush toward the bottom) then carefully turning the brush around (pigment area on the brush now towards top) I brushed on the gradation at the top. Proper brush alignment is key during gradation to keep the paste and pigment areas from messing up. The impression was then taken with the baren. Although not traditional the white cardboard pieces are used to keep the edges of the print smudge free, they flip out of the way while applying color to the block and then flip back in place just before placing the paper on the block.
Here is the before and after photo for the "double" bokashi.
Proofing for the desired amount of bokashi turned out to be as tricky as getting the same results on every print. Eventually I settled on one of the darker tones near the right of the photo. In case you are wondering the sharp metal tool in the photo was used to cleanup the small crevices from accumulated pigment.