Artway Printmaking Kit - For various methods of relief printing

17th Nov 2021

In this blog post we will walk you through how to use the Artway Printmaking Kit to explore three different relief printing techniques - LINO, MONO and COLLAGRAPH. Along side these illustrated step by step instructions to help guide you through the process the our Printmaking Kit has all the tools you need to become a printmaker!

Get an Artway Printmaking Kit

Equipment

1. ARTWAY traditional grey linseed lino - 1 x A4 sheet (29.7cm x 21cm)

2. ARTWAY blue polymer Sheet - 1 x A4 (29.7cm x 21cm)

3. Clear acetate for use as a monoprint support - 1 x A4 sheet (29.7cm x 21cm)

4. Greyboard - for collagraph printing - 2 x A4 (29.7cm x 21cm)

5. ARTWAY inking tray

6. ARTWAY palette knife for spreading ink

7. ARTWAY brayer roller 15cm

8. Quality ABIG lino cutting set with 5 cutting nibs

9. Schmincke College lino ink - black (75ml)

10. ARTWAY hand baren to help with applying pressure to the back of prints

11. ARTWAY strong PVA glue for preparing the collagraph greyboard

12. Brush for the application of PVA glue and ink in the collagraph process

13. ARTWAY Flat White 250gsm Multi-Arte recycled paper (includes 50% coffee cup waste material) - 10 x A4 sheets (29.7cm x 21cm)

14. Artway A4+ S-Tuff bag to keep all of your items together and to enable easy carriage

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Jump to Block printing

Jump to how make a Collagraph

Jump to Monoprinting

Lino and Soft Cut Polymer for Block Printing

TIP - cut down the lino/polymer sheets into smaller sizes so you can produce more than one design - you could even use a piece to try out the cutters to see what type of marks they make.

  • Decide on a design - the first rule is to remember that your lino print will be the reverse image of what you draw, so beginners start with something simple and bold - nothing too detailed - this can come later
  • Transfer to your printing sheet - apply your design directly to the lino/polymer surface using a soft pencil (greater clarity is achieved using a marker pen to strengthen lines) or, if accuracy is needed, then use tracing paper to transfer the image 

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TIP - shade or block out those areas of your image which you wish to keep - this helps to see the negative/positive areas of your work and how they will appear once printed

REMEMBER - Designs appear as a mirror image once printed

  • Start carving! - cut away the negative space of your drawing (the bits you don’t want to print) by making shallow cuts. Lino/woodcutters are very sharp, so always cut away FROM YOU taking it slow and steady. There’s no rush!
  • Know where your fingers are - there’s a natural tendency to support the lino/polymer at the furthest edge in the direction you’re cutting. For safety purposes always hold and secure the surface at the point closest to you and direct cuts in an outward direction. If your budget allows using a ‘bench hook’ makes this operation much easier and safer

     

  • Get ready to ink! - once you’ve finished carving your design clear away any debris and begin inking

TIP - in preparation for making prints always work on a flat surface that has been suitably prepared and protected - likewise wear old clothing or an apron as printing can be a messy business

  • Add a small amount of ink to your inking tray - don’t use too much ink as you’ll over saturate your sheet and the print may smudge. Roll out the ink with the brayer roller making sure that the cylinder on the roller is evenly coated

  • Ink the lino/polymer sheet - roll a thin and even layer of ink across your lino/polymer sheet, applying it across the whole surface area in smooth even strokes

    

  • Make a print - gently and carefully place a sheet of paper over the inked design. Upon placing the paper DON’T be tempted to move it as this will result in ink off-set and smudged results
  • Transfer the design - using the baren apply pressure to the back of the paper working from the middle outwards in a circular motion

  • Peel away the paper - pick up a corner of the paper and in one smooth motion peel away from the design taking care not to smudge or drag it as you go
  • Leave to dry - place face up somewhere safe and flat

   

  • Re-ink and repeat

TIP - experimentation is the name of the game - how much ink to apply, how much to roll out, the amount of pressure required, ink drying times etc. these all come with experience. With this in mind use scrap/test sheets to gauge results before using better quality/more suitable/more expensive papers (such as the ARTWAY Flat White Multi-Arte paper supplied)



Collagraph Printing

Greyboard sheets provide the foundation support for a more experimental approach to surface printing known as collagraph. Similarly to lino and polymer sheets greyboard can be gouged into and cut away to produce a more limited range of marks HOWEVER unlike lino and polymer greyboard will accept materials applied to its surface in the form of collage providing a greater range of marks and textures. Additional absorbency and flexibility does hinder its ability for producing consistent results and multiple copies of the same image with each print tending to have its own unique character

  • Get ready to experiment - gather a range of flat surfaces and textures to apply to your greyboard as a collage - these might include random paper samples; natural items such as leaves for shape and texture; cloths; net curtain strips; fine string/cotton; bubblewrap etc. … whatever might be lying around!
  • Additional tools and materials - a sharp tool to mark and scrape away the greyboard surface; tapes (masking/gummed/clear…) to add texture/edges and help bind materials; spray glue might be useful for more delicate items

Start - it’s not necessary to have an end design in mind at this stage - experiment first - this knowledge can be refined with subsequent prints. Randomly mark and gouge the card surface together with sticking some of your collected items to the greyboard building up a range of surface shapes, marks and textures

TIP - Initially keep the surface quite simple with a shallow depth - if surfaces are too pronounced this will affect the ability of the ink to adhere to your final printed sheet


Seal surfaces - apply PVA glue to seal and bind the surface as you go - make sure gaps are covered and the surface is dry before adding further layers. When happy with your range of surfaces add a final seal and allow to dry thoroughly (overnight)

   

Prepare your paper - immerse your paper for printing in water for a short period before removing and blotting (with a tea towel) to remove any surplus water - the paper should be damp but not wet

    

Ink the Collagraph - add some ink to the inking tray and, with a roller or brush, cover the board with a layer of ink - add some ink to the inking tray and, with a roller or brush, cover the board with a layer of ink

    

Take a print - working on a flat base gently place your prepared sheet of paper over the collagraph board. For best results press down on the back of the paper with your hand applying even pressure across all areas

Peel away the paper - pick up a corner of the paper and in one smooth motion peel away from the design taking care not to smudge or drag it as you go. Allow to dry

Have some fun - if you like the image repeat the process for a fainter production or add/remove surfaces as desired before inking once more. Scoring back into the surface with a sharp tool for additional marks/textures is also a possibility

Lifespan - greyboard is considerably less resilient than lino/polymer which ultimately reduces the life span of the collagraph

Monoprinting

Just like all printmaking techniques monoprinting is all about experimentation. As the name suggests ‘Mono’ print very much refers to ‘one-offs’ rather than duplicates or multiples experienced through other printmaking methods. There are many ways to make a monoprint - the following two methods are a useful start to get you underway when using a piece of acetate as your ground:

ADDITIVE

Ink the tray - apply a good layer of ink across the acetate surface

    

Make your mark - using a blunt instrument (quill/pencil/stick) draw patterns, shapes and designs directly across the inked acetate surface. Textures can also be added by impressing materials (leaves, fabrics, net, lace etc.) to the surface before removing them to reveal their properties

REMEMBER to work quickly - the open time (before the ink starts to dry) is limited requiring a degree of haste

 

Take a print - carefully place a piece of paper on top of your acetate sheet and, using the hand baren, apply consistent pressure to the back of the print. Work in a circular motion from the middle of the paper outwards for best results. Peel away the paper to reveal your print.

    

Re-ink and repeat the process - experiment with other found materials to see what happens

SUBTRACTIVE

Ink the tray - apply a good layer of ink across the acetate surface

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Cover the acetate with your paper - with an implement of your choosing (pencil/pen/finger etc.) apply a design to the back of the paper - where you draw will imprint from one surface to the other. REMEMBER not to inadvertently add any pressure where it’s not required as this will also be transferred to the print

    

Peel away the paper - pick up a corner of the paper and in one smooth motion peel away from the design taking care not to smudge or drag it as you go. Allow to dry

   

Re-ink and repeat the process - try other drawing materials to see what difference they make

TIP - most non-absorbent flat/flatish surfaces will work as the ground for monoprinting (glass, tabletops, plastic bags etc.) - the only restriction is then the size of paper you use!



You're now a printmaker!

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