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A special thank you to: David, Kumkum Nadig & Roger Manners


1.0 Introduction to Print By Hand 2.0 Research 2.1 What is print making? 2.2 The different printing techniques 2.3 Timeline of printing techniques 2.4 Introduction to hand printing techniques 2.4.1 Letterpress 2.4.2 Monotype 2.4.3 Drypoint 2.4.4 Linoleum Cut 2.5 Material research 2.6 Questionnaire

3.0 Sketches 3.1 Hand sketches 3.2 Prototype 3.3 Sketch-Up Model

4.0 Promotions 5.0 The workshop 5.1 The Inventory 5.2 Work in Progress

6.0 The Machines 7.0 The Prints 8.0 Reflection



Invented by Johannes Gutenberg in Mid 15th century, the letterpress was one of the first printing techniques introduced. It uses a relief print, which not only makes it look good, but also makes it tactile. W ith new printing techniques and improving technology the letterpress is now almost obsolete. The letterpress has undergone revival in countries like the USA, and the UK, under the “small press movement’. New letterpresses known as the ‘digital letterpress’ have also taken form. Though in India letterpress still remains highly unrecognized or unavailable. This project is an outcome of my undying passion for letterpress, though after much research and tête-à-tête, I figured why just letterpress? Why not an integration of many hand printing techniques? This not only makes my product versatile, it opens doors for great amounts of experimentation amongst young artists and designers. And thus, here is Print By Hand. An initiative to revive hand printing techniques by making a table top, easy to use print maker.




WHAT IS PRINT MAKING? Print making is the process of making artworks by printing, normally on paper. Print making normally covers only the process of creating prints with an element of originality, rather than just being a photographic reproduction of a painting.


PRINTING PROCESSES RELIEF (Woodcut, Linoleum Cut, Letterpress, Collograph) any process in which the printing surface is cut away so that the image area alone remains raised on the surface. ink is rolled across the surface of the matrix and the raised areas receive ink while the areas that have been cut away do not. INTAGLIO (Drypoint, Etching, Aquatint, Engraving, Mezzotint, Photogravure, Photo-Etching) intaglio is the general term used for any process in which ink is held beneath the surface of the material in incised or etched lines or marks. plates are printed by working ink into the entire surface, which is then wiped clean. dampened paper is pressed into the plate with a press forcing the ink onto the paper, while embossing the mark of the plate and its surface. intaglio comes from the Italian word intagliare meaning “to incise” MONOTYPE / MONOPRINT A monotype is essentially a printed painting. ink is applied to a plate, which is typically plexiglas, by painting or by using rollers, and then printed to a sheet of paper. the image is unique, hence ‘mono’ meaning ‘one’, although a faint ‘ghost’ impression can be printed the second time through the press. A monoprint may incorporate monotype techniques, but also employs an image printed from a matrix such as a lithograph, woodcut, etching.



Movable type 1040

200 Woodblock Printing

Lithography 1796

Mezzotint 1642

1640 Monotype

1454 Printing Press

1768 Aquatint

Linoleum Cut 1860

1843 Rotary press

Inkjet Printing 1976

Offset Printing 1875

Dot Matrix Printing 1964 Screen printing 1907

Digital Press 1993

1960 Phototypesetting

1886 Hot Metal & Stamping Typesetting

1986 3D printing

1969 Lazer Printing




• Letterpress is a relief printing technique. • Individual letters and punctuations are placed carefully in a stick, which is then transferred on the chase, fit and then locked on the chase bed in the letterpress machine. • The ink is then spread on the letters by the ink roller, the machine then works in a back and forth manner making an impression on the paper which is placed parallel to the chase. • Letterpress was the first form of mass production of print • Extremely important technological innovation, print now became available to the masses • The print makes an impression on the paper like no other printing technique. The print is tactile. • Letterpress gives a greater visual definition to the type compared to other prints. • Letterpress excels at fine typography • Classic feel and finish of the letterpress paper takes us back to an era of quality and craftsmenship.


• Monotype is the truly ‘painterly’ print medium. • Invented by Giovanni Castiglione, an Italian painter and Etcher. • It is one of the only print techniques which requires no special tools to allow you to expand your imagination to unlimited possibilities.

• Monotype is print making made by drawing or painting on a smooth, nonabsorbent surface.

• Monotypes can also be created by inking an entire surface and then, using brushes or rags, removing ink to create a subtractive image.

• After printing, the images can be an art work in their own right, or can be reworked to completion using various types of media.


• Linocut is a print making technique, a variant of woodcut in which a sheet of linoleum is used for the relief surface.

• This technique was used first by the artists of Die Brücke in Germany between 1905–13

• A design is cut into the linoleum surface with a sharp knife! V-shaped chisel or gouge, with the raised (uncarved) areas representing a reversal (mirror image) of the parts to show printed.

• The linoleum sheet is inked with a roller (called a brayer), and then impressed onto paper or fabric.


• Drypoint is a print making technique of the intaglio family. • Invented in Germany in the 1460s. • In this technique you scratch out your design on to the petg plastic sheet using either needles or scalps. This scratch creates a burr.

• Once you scratch out your design you apply ink to the entire plastic sheet, then with a tartalan cloth you wipe the extra ink of leaving ink only the burr, although you have to be very careful while applying pressure so the burrs don’t flatten.

• The drypoint point technique was abandoned soon after its invention, though the 20th century has seen a lot of artists using this.


MATERIAL RESEARCH ACRYLIC SHEETS Properties: Impact resistant Light Weight Weather resistant Chemical resistant Easy to Clean Shatter resistant PLYWOOD Properties: Weather resistant Chemical resistant Easy to cut Hard to remove stains METAL Properties: Weather resistant Heavy weight Chemical resistant Easy to clean Difficult to cut

PETG PLASTIC Properties: High impact strength Easy to cut Weather resistant Highly durable Easy to clean LINOLEUM Properties: Weather resistant Extremely durable Easy to cut Easy to clean Unavailable VINYL Properties: Weather resistant Anti-microbial Inexpensive Easy to clean Easily available



Have you heard of the following print making techniques? 25











Have you ever used a letterpress? 60%


3 Would you print by hand if it was easy and accessible? 18%



4 Would you buy a machine that will let you experiment with different hand printing techniques? 36%





4 Would you buy a machine that will let you experiment with different hand printing techniques?

"Yes. When printing by hand invariably more thought and focus is given to the design before as compared to digital prints, which as a designer tests our skills"” - Amrita Mohanty "I haven’t ever used a letterpress and probably wouldn’t ever buy one, but as a textile design student I’d like to experiment and see how these techniques figure out on cloth and other materials"” Gauree Malhotra "Yes, because hand printing techniques always have this sense of originality which I feel lacks in a lot of our work"” - Aisha Chabbra "“Hand printing techniques require concentration and great amount of discipline, which we usually forego while working on our computers”" - Aditi Dash "“I would love to leave my laptop aside and just design using my hands"” - Shruti Gupta "“I would, but only once in a blue moon, it requires way too time consuming, you can almost give prints any look now a days"” Harshvardhan Gantha

5 Letterpress, Linocut, Drypoint, Monoprint as printing techniques v/s artforms?

“"W ith the types of prints and the expanse at which they are available, the revival of the letterpress and other printing techniques will be more as an art form, where artists and designers can really experiment."” - Kavya Singh “"I love letterpress, I love the way it looks, the way it feels, it really makes your design speak. It is more time consuming, but I would definitely use it more as a printing technique"” - Surasti KP “"Not many students know off these techniques as such, so I guess it will come back as more of an art form or a ground for experimenting more than a hard core printing technique.”" - Cara Tejpal “"Both actually, if you look at it they go hand-in-hand, its what you make of it, I might use is to mass produce an absolutely experimental piece of work. Its definitely time consuming to print regularly with these techniques, but with limited editions for things, they work well!"” - Aditi Dash


CONCLUSION •• There is high interest amongst design students to work with their hands. • However not many have got the opportunity to do so. •• Experimentation is an essential aspects of printing by hand. •• It helps breaking away from softwares and brings originality to work. •• Printing by hand encourages practical learning of layout and typography. ••• The print-maker should be affordable and available in India.













Roller Ink Plate

Wooden Body Place for Paper


Initially the chase was removable and replacable, though due to technical difficulties that wasn't possible and an alternative solution was then used.












SEQUENCE OF OPERATIONS 2 pieces of wood were cut, one 10"X12" and the other 8"X12".

Due to the nonavailibility of 1/2" L-angles. The Rolling path had to be created with a 1/2" square pipe.

A screen printing rubber roller was used to create the roller for the machine.

The edges were refined.

Roller was detached from the metal holder.

Then the acrylic wheels were attached to either end.

The L-angles were drilled and then screwed on to the larger piece of wood.

The rollers were held in place using metal strips screwed on lighly. Hence, allowing the rollers to move.

The 2 pieces of wood were attached with the help of hinges.

The chase

The first attempt at making this machine was a fail. The top flap didn't shut and touch the chase was too high. The roller also didn't move beyond a point as it didn't have enought time to roll on a flat surface.

The process was then repeated, this time the lenght of the wood was 15". And the chase was made shorter.







I saw this project as a challenge, and it sure did turn out to be one. I saw many failures during my process, but I stayed determined to achieve what I set out to. Product design is not my forte, so I didn't see or approach this project as a product designer. I saw it as a person who loves print, specially one that has an unique character. Throughout my journey, I kept in mind how graphic designers think, what they do, and what they are used to. Being so caught up in our computers, has somewhere made our lives easy. Thus, this machine had to be as uncomplicated as possible. I made sure any extra elements were excluded. The first time when the machine was ready, it didn't shut. I was extremely disappointed, but quick to figure where it went wrong and start over. This time the machine shut, the roller rolled, everything seemed perfect. I was ready to print, 100% sure nothing could go wrong now. The paper was in place, the roller inked the type, all that was left was to shut the machine. So I went ahead, shut the machine, re-opened it and... not a letter got printed. At this point, I definitely gave up a little. Mr. David, Ravi anna from the wet lab and Insiyah really pushed me at this point. They believed in what I could achieve so much, that I had never felt so confident in myself before. I then disintegrated the machine and checked each part to see where the problem lied. It was found that the rubber back was too hard, and wasn't allowing the paper to sink into the type. The back was then changed, from rubber to foam and the machine finally started printing. At first the prints weren't great, but they did keep improving with minor changes. Finally, the prints that I got were

satisfying. Though not the best! I can proudly say I did achieve what I wanted, and with some more effort and refinement this machine could certainly turn out be something worth owning by every designer. This project has definitely thought me a lot. For one, to push myself beyond what I believe I'm capable of. As a person who could never imagine themselves in the workshop, the workshop doesn't feel like such a scary place anymore. I feel confident working with tools, drills, cutting machines. Product design makes you pay a great amount of attention to detail, think quick and act fast. The decisions you make while you're working can really make or break your end product. And once you've done something there is no COMMAND + Z to go back. So you have think things through thoroughly. W ith the product skills this project has given me, and with the immense love I have for type and with the want to create something new. I would love to take this forward, and turn what is good into the best.

Š Kavya Bagga & Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology

print by hand  

documentation book for my college project.

print by hand  

documentation book for my college project.