The illustrations below represent the sixteen stages of printing from a keyblock and color blocks to make a final print of Paul Binnie's portrait of the actor Ichikawa Ennosuke III in the role of the demon in the kabuki play Kurozuka. Except for the bero-ai (Berlin or Prussian blue) applied to the robe, the artist used various mixtures of colorants common to Nihonga ("Japanese-style painting") to make the final pigments. For example, the brown shown below in stage 4 was made from 6 different Nihonga pigments. Mixing by hand will produce slightly different hues among the impressions.
The colors on these illustrations appear slightly different from the colors indicated on the final print because the papers used for this demonstration were darker, altering the apparent hues of the pigments (see the impression on the right or at the Kurozuka link, which was made on whiter paper). The labels used for the illustrations below are based on descriptions provided by the artist, who refers to them as "color separations." © 2001-2019 by John Fiorillo