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Jim Dine: The Glyptotek Drawings Online Exhibition | Thaw Conservation Center

Jim Dine: Drawing with Light

Read more: Intro | Translucent vs. Opaque | Building up the Layers | Putting Light into the Drawings | Drawings to Printing Plates | Glossary | Sources

Translucent vs. Opaque

"The drawings are about light, as is the technique used to transfer them to the plates."
—Dine, December 22, 2010
Glyptotek Drawing 9
Figure 1
Glyptotek Drawing [9] with crop marks indicating how the drawing should be transferred to the printing plate.

Light was an essential factor in Dine's choice of materials, guiding him as he purchased supplies from local art supply stores. The ability of light to pass through the drawings was heavily dependent on the type of support, thus Dine's main criterion was its degree of translucency. Dine used three different categories of supports to fulfill this requirement: clear plastic sheets, frosted plastic sheets, and translucent paper. Dine claims to have had no preference for one type of support over the other; however, more than half of the drawings were executed on frosted plastic sheets and only three are on clear plastic.

The size of each drawing was a secondary factor in Dine's choice of supports. Knowing that he wanted to create a printed book and that the drawings would be transferred to the printing plate at actual-size, the drawings all needed to be of consistent dimensions. These drawings range in size from 8 to 26 inches in height and 10 to 20 inches in width. Within these dimensions, a few drawings have crop lines or marks indicating how much of the drawing should be transferred to the printing plate (figure 1). In other cases, the drawings have been roughly cut down to the desired dimensions with the occasional crop line still visible along the edge.

To block the passage of light through the translucent supports, Dine created opaque drawings using only black media. Working in black allowed him to created drawings with a dual function: drawings that could be viewed in reflected light, as well as drawings that could be used as positive transparencies. Dine selected materials with which he was familiar, allowing him to make intuitive choices as he worked, based on years of experience. When asked about his specific material choices for each drawing, Dine responded, "It's the way I cook." i

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Jim Dine: The Glyptotek Drawings exhibition page »

i Conversation with Jim Dine at The Morgan Library & Museum on December 22, 2010.
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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.