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The Making of a Reduction Print
By Mike Lyon

I made pretty extensive use of Photoshop to 'plan' the print. I photographed my model and her daughter, scanned the negative into photoshop, then determined the number of gray levels I wanted by using median to remove artifacts too small for me to carve and then posterizing until the image was optimal...

"Mother and Child" - By Mike Lyon
Click to enlarge

In this print, there are 24 'gray' levels plus several additional blocks -- one to emboss a fabric texture all over the background, and the other an oak block used to produce wood grain in the background.
After posterization, I printed each 'level' inverted (black on the paper does not print) with kento outlined in black, then transferred the toner to the block using lacquer thinner and my press.

From the top down:

I carved the reduction blocks with kento trimmed to the inside of the laser line. For subsequent reduction 'layers', I used a razor knife to trim the laser printed paper to the inside of the kento lines, then registered the paper to the block in the normal way, except I used two little pieces of masking tape to hold the paper to the block at the kento.

Mother and Child

Then placed lacquer thinner dampended blotter on the press bed, turned the block and paper upside down and laid them on top of the blotter, covered with blankets and ran through the press with relatively light pressure. Removed and discarded laser printed paper. The places which needed to be carved away for the next state become blackened with toner. On the right is the final 'layer'; everything carved away except what will print black is white.

I laser print that image on 11x17 tabloid size paper, so I can handle up to oban size prints without taping multiple sheets together. Mike Lyon's Process
Registration appears to be true to within about +/- 1/64 inch, so it works pretty well for me, and I can do the whole transfer start to finish in less than two minutes without rushing.

The gray is what was already carved on the reduction block and the black is where the toner was transferred to the block and are the areas I will have to carve in order to produce the final layer (the changes from the 2nd to final state).

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