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W O O D E N G R AV I N G • L I T H O G R A P H Y • S C R E E N P R I N T I N G • M O N O T Y P E

Printmaking: Traditional and Contemporary Techniques is an authoritative resource for printmakers, designers, artists, and students. This compilation of international work includes the most creative and diverse prints being produced today, revealing continuing developments in the field.

Ann d’Arcy Hughes

Ann d’Arcy Hughes

Hebe Vernon-Morris studied as a ceramicist and

printmaking. She assisted Anthony Gross at the Slade

metalworker before turning to printmaking. He now

School of Art in London, and worked with S. W. Hayter

specializes in lithography and woodcut.

at Atelier 17 in Paris before embarking on her lecturing career at the University of Brighton in the UK. Ann was the Regional Organizer with the Open College of the Arts (OCA) for 10 years before cofounding Brighton Independent Printmaking (BIP). Permanent collections of her work include prints at Xerox headquarters, BBC, and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.


TECHNIQUES • Intaglio: etching, drypoint, mezzotint, metal engraving, collograph • Relief: hard and soft woodcut, linocut, wood engraving • Lithography: stone, zinc plate, polyester • Screenprinting/seriography: stencil, photo • Monotype/monoprint: oil- and water-based inks

COVER CREDITS: Cover design by Eoghan O’Brien Back cover photography by Simon Punter

APPLICATIONS • fine art prints • posters • cards • book and album covers • fashion and textile graphics • wallpapers


Ann d’Arcy Hughes has enjoyed an illustrious career in

Traditional & Contemporary Techniques Hebe Vernon-Morris

Hebe Vernon-Morris

E T C H I N G • M E TA L E N G R AV I N G • C O L L A G R A P H • W O O D C U T • C H I N E C O L L É

contributing authors

featured artists in step by steps

Eric Bates

Pat Bennett

Photo etching, pp. 72–74

Step by step: monotype printing, pp. 380–381

Ian Brown

Ann d’Arcy Hughes

Screenprinting, pp. 310–321 A brief history of stencils, pp. 323–324 Screenprinting process: photographic stencils, pp. 342–343 Step by step: photographic stencils, pp. 344–346

Linocut, pp. 198–201

Jon Crane

Juliet Kac

Blind embossing, p. 158 Screenprinting process: cut stencils, pp. 325

Step by step: stone lithography, pp. 260–265

Ray Dennis Mezzotint, pp. 101–105

Colin Kennedy Terry Gravett

Wood engraving, pp. 229–230

Screenprinting process: drawn and painted stencils, pp. 334–337 Tools and materials: drawn and painted stencil, p. 338–339 Step by Step: drawn and painted stencil, pp. 340–341

Andrew Mockett Hardwood woodcut, pp. 174–177 Reduction print, p. 206

Julian Hayward Step by step: process for “Dark Sun,” pp. 120–121 Collage, pp. 159–161

Heike Roesel

Belinda King

Hebe Vernon-Morris

Printing “Fool Tries to Catch a Lover’s Dream,” pp. 214–215

Step by step: printing a single block with a simple blend, pp. 243–245 Multiple block cut with jigsaw, pp. 246–247

Troy Ohlson Giclée prints, pp. 288–289

Jane Sampson Screenprinting process: direct stencils, pp. 331–333

Step by step: zinc plate lithography, pp. 272–277

contents Acknowledgments Introduction



Introduction to intaglio Etching Metal engraving Collagraph Printing the intaglio image



Introduction to relief Woodcut Linocut Chine collĂŠ Wood engraving Printing the relief image



Introduction to lithography Stone lithography Zinc plate lithography Polyester plate lithography Printing the lithographic image

4 9

14 16 80 110 126

166 168 194 214 226 238

252 254 270 282 290



Introduction to screenprinting Equipment and materials Stencils Printing the screenprint image



Introduction to monotype Color separation Additional monotype methods



Workshops Workshop listings Artist contacts Suppliers Bibliography Glossary Index Picture credits

310 312 322 352

368 370 378

396 402 403 404 406 408 412 416

Below: Ann d’Arcy Hughes Three-dimensional etching on zinc.


introduction The aim of this book is to excite, enthuse, and inform the reader. It is a compilation of some of the most creative and diverse prints being produced by contemporary artist–printmakers. It is intended both as an inspirational source book and a compelling insight into the lives and work of artists who are fascinated by printmaking processes and in developing their personal imagery through the production of original prints. The brief overview that we give to each medium offers only a glimpse into what is possible, leaving the reader to research more fully their personal area of interest. This book in no way attempts to make a definitive statement concerning any area of printmaking, as there are numerous routes by which to arrive at a similar destination. The explanations on process are led by the imagery, informing the viewer of the choices and decisions made by the artist, explaining why this approach was taken, and how it was achieved. It is a common, and healthy, practice, that artists, master printers, and workshops continually develop personal printmaking procedures that are individual and specifically tailored to their needs. This point is further illustrated by observing the different work being produced in the various print workshops, artist studios, and university departments. A print, however it is produced, is considered an original artwork (albeit in multiple form) if it has been conceived by the artist for the chosen medium. It can be derived from a painting or drawing using the artwork as source material, and can still be considered an original. However, if the work is directly transposed onto a screen, block, or plate by photographic, or other means, solely in order to produce it in duplicate form, then this is not considered an original print but a reproduction, and should be labeled and sold as such.

If a work is printed by a master printer, the image must be first created by the artist and then printed under their supervision if it is still to be considered an original artwork. The usual practice is to decide on the number to be printed, which the artist will then sign and number in pencil. Smaller editions can command higher prices than very large numbers. In days gone by, the early numbers were considered more desirable as the image would be sharper, the plate or block being less worn down by wiping or pressure. However, while it is now possible to steel-face softer plates to prolong their life, most artists who print their own work generally prefer to move on to their next image before the plate or block deteriorates. In the latter half of the twentieth century there were three developments that affected the practice of printmaking. First was the arrival of computer graphics. Because of its instant results, many artists were seduced into feeling that the traditional methods were by comparison too slow and expensive. However, we think it is now generally recognized that the computer is a hugely important, and exciting, complement to many forms of printmaking. For example, screenprinting, polyester lithography, and photo etch would not have developed in the same way without the use of computer technology. That said, it is important that the tradition of hands-on printmaking, with its unique qualities, continues to be passed on to future generations, as it can never be replicated or replaced. The second development concerns health and safety issues. Obviously, concern for safety is paramount; therefore, it may be necessary to adapt procedures and practices that have been carried out for centuries to ensure they are safe for use today. In most cases adaptation is preferable to radical change, which may not be much safer in the long run, and may not retain the qualities gained through the original techniques. To use etching as an example, in some areas a new procedure called “safe etching� has been


Wendy Morosoff Smith (Canadian) The Whispering of the Grasses 18 x 25in (46 x 63cm) Carborundum print; Daniel Smith etching ink on Rives BFK White 280gsm paper Edition of 10 printed by the artist on a Glen Alps press at Malaspina Printmakers Studio, Vancouver, Canada

adopted, but the results are different than those achieved by traditional etching, which is the practice generally presented in this book. The third development is the decline, due to stretched financial resources, of vocational and part-time classes in universities and colleges, and the practice of modular teaching on degree courses. Modules allow students only a taste of each subject but no time to establish any in-depth relationship with the medium. Without allowing practicing artists and students to develop their skills to a high standard, there will not be new teachers to hand down the essential skills to new generations, who are just as interested and talented as any of those who went before them. A network of privately run workshops has emerged to address the need for the provision of facilities and expertise in teaching—to cite the UK as an example, such workshops exist in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Brighton, Bristol, Leicester, and London, to name a few. These workshops and studios attempt to bridge the gap by providing experienced tutors and access to specialist facilities. Unfortunately, the difficulty of obtaining any financial support in the form of grants for teaching means that many individuals have to work as unpaid volunteers. They face the constant pressure of trying to cover overheads, resulting in an uncertain future for this resource. While printmaking today is respected as a fine-art medium, in the past prints were used to provide information to a wider public, passing on matters of news, religion, or instruction. As communication techniques developed, and as artists discovered the potential of making prints, the practice has more than survived the passing years and has matured,


developed, and gained in popularity. Printmaking in all areas is far from being an outdated visual language and art form. It is an up-to-the minute method of expression for fine artists in the twenty-first century. This is an image-led resource book to introduce the reader to the printmaking medium. The aim of the book is to inspire through the imagery, by offering examples of the rich and diverse work being created by contemporary printmakers. The work speaks for itself, presented as a testament to the possibilities inherent in the printmaking medium. The book is split into six sections. The first five cover the five main areas of printmaking: Intaglio, Relief, Lithography, Screenprinting, and Monotype. The sixth section is devoted to Resources. Each of the five sections opens with a brief history—not intended as an in-depth discussion of each genre, but to give the reader some context as to the development of the process and of the artists who have gone before. The chapters within each section focus on the varying techniques within each genre. To use the Intaglio section as an example: Step-by-step photographs and text explain the stages of preparing a plate, drawing an image, illustrate a variety of different ways in which to create tone and texture, and conclude with a chapter dedicated to the printing of the intaglio image. Within these stages, a number of processes are presented— metal engraving, drypoint, mezzotint, and collagraph—to provide the reader with an awareness of the diversity and potential of the intaglio image. Interspersed with the practical steps are images from international


artists that serve to reinforce the techniques explained, enabling the reader to see how these aspects are used within the creative process. The aim is to provide a general understanding and awareness of what each technique involves. This book is by no means a comprehensive “do-ityourself ” manual. Printmaking is a living art, and within the boundaries of each technique the individual refines the process to develop their own working practice. The information and imagery is presented to allow the reader a sense of each genre and to understand the potential of the printed image before beginning their own educational route within an educational establishment or a studio workshop. This book is truly international in scope. Within the sections there are examples of work and profiles featuring artists from the United States, Canada, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa. Within these texts the reader is privileged to obtain an insight into how these artists view their work, their inspiration, their artistic process, and to understand what printmaking means to them as individuals. Art is created for many reasons, but what is clear from the profiles is that, to the artists, the work becomes an entity in its own right. The images exist separately from the artist once created, but remain at the same time inextricably linked. This book has been created to share the enjoyment and fascination of printmaking. We hope to enthuse the reader with examples of the infinite possibilities of the printed image and to inspire with the vast range of styles evident in the images. The book is an introduction into what is a magical combination of tradition, innovation, process, and imagination.

Ann d’Arcy Hughes (British) From Root to Crown 8 x 13in (20 x 33cm) Etching—multiple plate printed à la poupée; T. N. Lawrence oil-based etching inks; Fabriano Artistico paper Edition of 50 printed by the artist at Brighton Independent Printmaking, UK

section 1 : intaglio

etching process: softground Softground is a nondrying, acid-resist surface that allows textures to be transferred to the plate. Soft lines can also be produced by drawing through paper. Softground contains approximately 60 percent grease and will therefore not dry to a hard surface but remains tacky. The use of this ground is to take impressions of soft objects, or it can be used to draw directly with a pencil onto the surface through paper. Due to the high content of grease, it is unnecessary to degrease the plate before use. The ground is not smoked after application, as this would harden the surface and defeat the intended purpose.


Gary Goodman (British) Break Through the Silence I 6 x 7in (15 x 18cm) Etching with softground Artist’s proof, printed by the artist


chapter 1: etching

Gary Goodman (British) Once I Had Mountains II 6 x 10in (15 x 25cm) Etching with softground Artist’s proof, printed by the artist

section 1 : intaglio

1.1.9 step by step: softground etching The ground can be applied to zinc, copper, or steel. The metal should be prepared in the normal manner: file and scrape the edges, remove any surface scratches, and polish to the required finish. A hotplate is necessary to melt the substance, and a firm roller to apply the ground evenly.


Place a sheet of waxed paper over the entire plate to prevent the excess ground from marking the blankets, and run the plate through the press.



The application should produce a deep, rich brown color. If the ground is too thin this will cause foul biting through the protected areas, but if it is too thick the texture will not remove sufficient ground to allow the acid to bite. If the plate has already been bitten, first push the ground into the incised lines with a ball of tissue as a protection, then finish rolling the top surface substance, and use a firm roller to apply the ground evenly.


Initially a corner of the fabric is lifted to access the impression, which should be clearly visible. Where the metal can be seen the acid will bite, thereby creating a groove that will hold ink and print. If there is no impression, run the plate through the press again with increased pressure.


To obtain a good impression, the materials used to create the texture need to be soft enough to put through the press; for example, fabric, wool, string, lace, gauze, dried leaves, and net. The pieces are placed on the plate; it is not necessary to cut the exact shape required as stop-out varnish can be applied to the surface before it is bitten in the acid.


Stop-out varnish is used as a resist against the acid. This confines the texture to the required area, and it must be completely dry before being placed in the acid bath.

chapter 1: etching



Before the plate is put in the acid, the back is protected. The tape is overlapped to prevent the acid seeping underneath. An extra piece can be left on either side to provide a handle for easy removal from the acid bath. Primer car spray or straw-hat varnish can also be used as an acid resist. A softground zinc plate is generally placed in a relatively slow mix of 1 part nitric acid to 10 parts water. A fine line could be achieved in around 6 minutes, but an average line takes 15–20 minutes. The plate can be removed from the bath at intervals and areas stopped out before it is returned to the bath; this produces a variance in the depth of mark. The longer in the acid, the deeper the mark and therefore the darker the print. A feather is not used to remove the acid bubbles as it could scratch the softground.


New lines and marks can be made using a pencil dragged across the surface, a cotton bud or rag dipped in mineral spirit, or a wire brush. The plate can then be returned to the acid for further biting.

With softground it is especially advisable to check the depth of line with a needle, and then take only a small area of ground off the image before cleaning the entire plate. The impression may have left a residue of ground, which will prevent the acid from biting initially and therefore the plate may require longer in the acid than expected. If tape is used to protect the back of the plate it must be removed before printing, as the heat will melt it, producing lumps. Primer car spray is an easier option, as it does not need to be removed. The intaglio plate is inked up and wiped off with gauze and tissue in the normal way. After the first proof a hardground or aquatint may be applied to the plate to build up a complete image.


Printmaking, an inspirational insight into the art and craft of printmaking, also offers a comprehensive guide to printmaking techniques. In...


Printmaking, an inspirational insight into the art and craft of printmaking, also offers a comprehensive guide to printmaking techniques. In...