Maniere Noire – take two!

A long while ago I tried a bit of maniere noire lithography, which is when you start by blacking out your stone with ink and then working away with scratching/etching to make white and grey areas on the black background. Basically the reverse of your regular drawing method. So I have only done this one test stone before and then never came back to it… until now! I wanted to try my hand at it again and create a dark image in contrast with my more usual lighter backgrounds.

I actually started with drawing on the stone with crayon and tusche before rolling out my ink, gumming over those areas first.


Then wiping the stone with turps and non drying black, rolling it with the nap roller and dusting with chalk. I gave it a blast with the hot hairdryer as well.


It’s hard to see the outlines of the stone there but the surface is basically the whole black area. Later I gave it a good wash with a damp sponge to reveal my gummed out areas.



This was my base for the rest of the drawing. My tusche didn’t turn out as nice as I had hoped but I blame that on the fact that I only just gummed over it an hour before rolling the stone up with the ink, hopefully this would work better if the gum was allowed to sit overnight.

So I scratched and pumiced away.


Details done with a drypoint needle.


When it came to printing I tried a medium stiff ink at first, mixing some crayon black with soft relief black and using a glazed roller. In hindsight this was obviously not a great idea as the stone had so many fine details. So I switched to the nap roller with pure Noir a Monter, non drying black. Which worked wonders.


The stone however never printed perfectly which I believe is for two reasons mainly. The fact that this was a very hard stone and the ink just seemed to have a hard time getting completely absorbed (my processing could probably have been better). And also this stone was gifted to the workshop not to long ago so had not been used in a long time and the surface was not completely flat as I only discovered when I started printing.

I have to say I do quite like this technique though, especially mixing it with the regular technique of drawing some bits first. This takes a bit of skill to achieve well I imagine, but as my second maniere noire stone I think not too bad!


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