Chine Colle, try it today!

For some time I've been interested in trying out chine colle. This is a way of adding color to a print without painting on it.

Basically you take a thin piece of colored paper and add it to the plate as you're getting ready to print. You add your regular printing paper on top, run the whole kit and kaboodle through the press, and voila! You have a print with color.

Drypoint with chine colle. This is a terrible example, but you get the idea.
I first learned about chine colle in Burlington, from fellow etcher Hilary Glass (who also taught me how to do acid etching), but I finally tried it only a few weeks ago. I'd been playing around with marbling tissue paper (a remarkable and aggravatingly delicate process), so I decided to give it a whirl.

I started by whipping up a plate of a blowfish, because I figured the round form would be easier to work with than something more serpentine or angular.

Next, I cut out my paper.

The most effective glue is methyl cellulose, but I didn't have any on hand, and was too impatient to wait for it to arrive by mail, so I used Modge Podge instead. After careful application, I gave it a shot. Here's the first attempt:

I tried it several more times. Some images, such as this one, turned out great:

Others, not so much, as you can see below:

Obviously I still have a lot to learn about this, but I'm not concerned about that. As a printmaker, I mess up a lot in general, because trial and error is how I learn. With any endeavor, whether it be art, science, mathematics, failure is expected, and shouldn't be feared. It's how we discover what works and what doesn't.

So get out there and make some spectacular failures! Who knows, you might even learn something from them.