When I started my study of printmaking at CCA early sept of 2009 I had the assumption that my long experience of drawing and draughtsmanship would be a fast vehicle for producing significant prints. Up to the day (12/5/10) however I don’t think that I have in fact produced any prints of any significance. On the contrary my involvement with printmaking has led to such a significant development in my drawings. I think I will be exploring and discussing this development in more detail in this blog.

By changing the way I draw, printmaking suddenly made me question the rest of my creative practice of painting and everything else. I don’t mean just a change in style, as drawing is a way of thinking that carries its own logic within the style or the approach, that means that changing the way I draw changes the way I think.

For the last 5 weeks I’ve been developing drawing books, and when I say drawing books I don’t mean sketchbooks I mean drawing books. Every book contains almost 55 drawings and I do almost a book a week. I’m now working on the 5th book.

In these books I’m involved in a strict routine of daily drawings. I have to sit and draw regardless of my mental and physical state. And by doing that, I’ve managed to connect concious and my subconscious to my hand.

I don’t use any medium apart from watercolour brushes and Ecoline.

What is Ecoline? Ecoline is a product by Talens. It has been produced since the golden era or airbrush in the 1980s. It’s a highly concentrated, highly filtered water based pigment that comes in different colours. I work only with the black. The very chemical nature of the Ecoline allows very immediate and sensitive manipulation of the medium, which other media, like Indian ink, does not allow. The main characteristic of Ecoline is that its never 100% opaque. It’s a transparent medium so to get the kind of black you could get in Indian ink you will need to use 3 -4 layers of Ecoline overlapping each other to achieve a 100% opacity. And this in itself allows me to achieve some kind of tonal performance that other types of ink do not. Taking into account that I have spent most of the course developing positives for screen print, a process that does not accommodate anything but 100% black ink.

So if that would make any sense, I would say that working for 6 months on jet black images allowed me to see the very subtle tonal values that comes with the harmony between black and black

To quote the Stones, “I see a red door and I want to paint it black / no colours any more I want them to turn black.”


About nazirtanbouli

British-Egyptian artist Nazir Tanbouli works in drawing, painting, book art and mural. He is based in London.
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