Thursday, May 5, 2011

Printmaking - The College Years

I attended a 3-year design program in Alberta. The first year helped develop a strong foundation for colour theory and design fundamentals while also allowing us to experiment with fine arts. The last two years were spent trying to excel at the software, hone our design skills and work with other mediums. One of my favourite classes was printmaking. It allowed me to work with a fantastic professor who inspired us to play with the mediums, tell stories through our art and push our comfort zone a little.

Since graduating over 10 years ago, I haven't done any printmaking. I've started a few things here and there and never really finished them. Now I'm excited to get back into it. I have been playing with inexpensive material for stamps such as cork and erasers for now and plan on progressing to lino and perhaps woodcut.

Thought I'd share a bit of my college work with you starting with Woodcuts:

I remember really enjoying woodcuts. The ideas, drawing and process came to me pretty easily. I know I liked thick lines, rough cuts and some wood grain showing. There was also something satisfying about carving the block and tossing the mess on the floor (to vacuum up later) while watching TV.


This process was harder for me to fine tune. It takes a lot of work to have a level, smooth stone and there's not a lot of room for fixing mistakes. Going through my work I had a few other prints, but they weren't as strong as these two.


This was also a tricky one for me but perhaps because it came with less physical labour than lithography, I didn't mind taking a while to get used to it and figure it out.

The faces were omitted on purpose on the top print. I remember missing my home town friends desperately at that point and feeling like they were disappearing. Remember, this was before email caught on and WAY before Skype.

I really loved being able to go back into an artist's proof with watercolour, as I did with the last piece.

There are a few other pieces and perhaps I'll post them another day. I've been feeling nostalgic for the time in the printmaking studio and definitely the access to free supplies and large presses. It's sparked a keen interest to work with printmaking again and I'll get there, slowly, but surely.

... J


  1. I just finished a small print yesterday, after having not done any printmaking since college, or linoleum cuts for about 6 years! I would love to see your other pieces!

  2. I just finished a small print yesterday, after having not done any printmaking since college, or linoleum cuts for about 6 years! I would love to see your other pieces!

  3. Testing Comments

  4. Just testing this out :D :D

  5. this is so great! love seeing your prints. Coincidentally, my background is also in printmaking, and it's also been years since I did much with it. I did a few wood engravings, but never any actual "wood cuts" which is a slightly different process. Intaglio actually ended up being my favorite, and I do admit that I enjoyed lithography. Grinding the stones was tedious, but satisfying once I "got it".

  6. Thanks Anika! I'd love to see any of your printmaking work, if you still have it kicking around. I'm curious as to what the process and effect was of wood engraving and how it differs from wood cuts.

  7. I'm feeling inspired to put together a post like yours! Wood engraving is similar to wood cut, but the surface you carve is the end of piece of wood, not the side like with wood cut. because of this, the piece of wood tends to be smaller, and you can carve really fine lines because of the tight grain.

  8. These are so beautiful!!! Printmaking was one of my favorite classes in College (my major was chemisty)... I never did lithograph, but I love linocut...are you working in linocut currently?

  9. Thank you so much! I'm actually only playing with cork and erasers for stamps at the moment. I think that I will do some linocuts soon as I dug up my old tools (which are super sharp 'cause they were barely used) and found some lino.

  10. I'm trying to get motivated on a lino cut project...and I think you helped me...when I get rolling I'll trying and get some pictures as I go...

  11. That sounds great! Looking forward to seeing the prints! Do you have a table-top press or do you use another method for printing?

  12. Oh..I just hand print it...water based soy ink on soft linoleum..makes a hand print easy...I have had trouble handprinting with the harder linoleum..


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