In my Graphic Design III class we had to create a poster for a Shakespeare play of our choice. The catch? We weren’t allowed to use computers. How convenient for my printmaking blog.
I chose Romeo and Juliet because I wanted to challenge myself and make something new out of something well-known. Romeo and Juliet is also one of the only Shakespeare plays I can remember (I hope my high school English teachers don’t read this).
From the early stages of my design, I knew I wanted to make a mixed media poster. I also wanted to incorporate dried rose petals in my design. The rose itself would symbolize love while the dried petals would symbolize death.
A linocut is used as a relief surface in printmaking. The raised area is what will be printed. Working with linoleum always feels like I’m creating two different artworks because of the designs that can be made in the negative space I cut away.
Printmaking Tip: WATCH YOUR FINGERS! Trust me, the linocutting tools are very sharp.
I printed the linocut on 17″ by 11″ watercolor paper. Printing was the most difficult part of the project because no two prints came out the same. That’s the beauty of printmaking. Although sometimes frustrating, I do appreciate the uniqueness of each print.
At first, I was printing on newsprint to practice. Once I felt comfortable with how the prints came out, I switched to watercolor paper. It felt like I was starting all over again. Watercolor paper is thicker so I had to apply more ink in order for the design to transfer evenly. It took many failed attempts until I got ONE print that I was happy to use.
To finalize my poster, I used watercolors to draw a rose. I also used petals as a visual effect by making them look like they were falling from the rose. I wanted the pressed petals to show the brittleness of love and foreshadow the death of Romeo and Juliet.
I got a lot of feedback during my critique and there are revisions I would like to make. This means going through the printmaking process again but sometimes mistakes can spark a new idea!