Techniques

Techniques

Here are some brief descriptions of some of the techniques I use to make my prints.  If you are interested in learning more about printmaking you might enjoy my book.

What is white line woodblock?

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White line woodblock printing was devised in Cape Cod in about 1915. It is a simplification of Japanese woodblock printing.  All of the colours are printed from one block onto a piece of paper which is stuck to it with a hinge.  The colours are painted onto the wood in watercolour with a brush.

What is relief printing?

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Relief prints are prints which are made from the top surface of a lino or woodcut after it has been cut. The ink is carried on the surface and where the grooves are cut in the plate it prints white. The ink is applied to the surface with a roller so that it doesn’t penetrate the grooves in the plate.

Sometimes I hand colour my relief prints.

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What is etching?

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Etching is the chemical process whereby a zinc or copper plate is eaten into producing a printable line.  The ink is forced into the etched lines and depressions on the plate and the top surface is cleaned off.  This is called intaglio printing (as opposed to relief printing).  The ink is transferred to the paper using an etching press which forces dampened paper into the grooves.

What is collagraph

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A collagraph is a printable collage.  It is assembled on some sort of support, usually mountboard and the surface is manipulated by cutting and sticking textures to it. It is then sealed with shellac and printed either as an intaglio image or a relief image

What is a monotype?

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A monotype is an image printed from a surface which has not been permanently altered.  Often they are made by painting or stencilling onto a perspex sheet which you then print from.  The image is not repeatable unless it contains stencilled images, in which case it is called a monoprint.

What is Japanese woodblock?

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Japanese woodblock is a method of hand printing using multiple woodblocks. The colours are water based and applied to the plates with brushes. There is a Japanese system of registration. The paper onto which you print has to be damp. Sometimes a rice paste extender called “Nori” paste is used.

What is an Artists’ Print?

The availability of commercial, so-called, “limited edition” prints from various sources has introduced some confusion over the definition of an artists’ print.

What is an Artists Print?

I craft my own woodcuts and etchings by hand and I ink them and print them myself on hand operated machinery, or by burnishing. My largest edition size is 50 and I now seldom produce editions of more than 25.

The number in the bottom left hand corner of a print (see above) indicates its number in the edition (first or top number) and the edition size (second or bottom number). So 10/25 would be the tenth print in an edition of twenty five. Some of my prints are marked A/P. This stands for artists proof and in my case refers to early printings of the plate when I am still experimenting with colours and wiping, prior to editioning. Some artists use this term to describe a number of extra prints taken at the end of the edition. Either way they represent a small percentage only of the edition size and are not substandard in any way – indeed some collectors prefer them.

A genuine artist’s print may be described as follows, “A mechanically reproduced image which has not previously existed independently of the printing process and in whose production the artist has directly participated” (Alexander Adams, Printmaking Today Vol 13, Number 2, Summer 2004).