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  • Naomi Kent

20 x 20

I’d say pretty much every hour of my day is accounted for at the moment so when I received an email from fellow printmaker Justin “11 days to get me your 25 prints for the print exchange” my heart sank. I had completely forgotten about the print exchange.

Organised by Hot Bed Press, participants must submit a print in an edition of 25 that measures 20 x 20 cm. I didn’t even have an idea for the print. With everything going on at the moment I started an apologetic email about not having enough time to be able to participate. But then I snapped out of it, Of course there is time! There is always time to print!

In and out of teaching that day my brain was trying to come up with an idea for a print. Are you allowed to be inspired by your own work? Well I was inspired by this piece made at Typoretum. I loved the overlaying of type and the shapes it created. I also had in my head this piece by Mark Pavey that i’d seen in Paul & Lucy’s house i’d stayed at in September. Again, I loved the overlaying of texture and colour.


With those in mind I started creating a square of type that I could rotate 90 degrees and overlay each layer.

I wanted to create a blank square within the square and challenge my mathematics a little more. If I was going to rotate the paper round I would have to make sure all the sides measured up exactly to avoid any mis registration.

I then thought the square in the middle might look a little plain, so I decided i’d put some manicules in there. I needed to do some tests, I couldn’t get my head around how i needed to lay out the manicules if I was to turn the paper.


Once i’d got my head around that, it was time to build the forme. I also thought that i’d like more manicules, so in they went.


This quick test run showed that i needed to shift the outer manicules in a bit


Manicules shifted


It took until printing a test colour run that I realised that with them all on one side they would be printing in block colours. I also realised that I didn’t need to print the green layer, It looked way better with just 3 colours, CMY. The transparencies meant that the blue on top of the yellow had created a green. Sometimes I can be a real div and not think these things through.


I was happy with the three layers. I then spent about 30 minutes fiddling around with the manicules on different sides so that the colours would appear random.

Paper cut, I laid the yellow layer down. It was pretty late by this time and I was hungry for dinner so I headed home. I showed my boyfriend and asked his opinion. Straight away he mentioned I didn’t need the manicules. At first I was saddened by this constructive criticism, but quickly realised he was right. The image works just by itself, it didn’t need the extra clutter in the centre. The next day I cut some more paper and printed the yellow layer again, sans manicules.

The blue layer needed some refining, I hadn’t mixed the opacity correctly and ended up with this ugly layer.


I then had trouble with the opacity of the magenta. Every time i turned the opacity down it still didn’t look half as good as the quick colour test run i’d done in 1o minutes! The magenta layer was too overpowering and looked liked it was sat onto of the print. I needed it to sink down with the other layers so it wasn’t obvious which order the layers were printed in.


Don’t be fooled into thinking these 3 colours are the same…

We got there eventually. Printed on 190gsm bockingford and measuring 30 x 30 you can buy this print on my etsy site here for £20.



The forme

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