Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Basic Handcrafted Print Techniques

As well as exploring the print techniques available in the print rooms, I've been looking at the various ways I can do printmaking at home.


Finger/body printing is by far the most primitive printing technique. It's one of the first artistic activities you try as a child as it represents the most basic means of creative expression. I had a lot of fun playing around with this but it's impossible to transfer an image to a page using this method - it's more like painting than printing.


Potato printing is essentially an unglorified step back from a lot of today's traditional print techniques. Lino print, woodcut and, to a certain degree, etching all follow the same basic principle - cutting away part of a flat surface to leave a raised printable image. Again this is very childlike and because of it's simplicity is extremely difficult to get any sort of detail.


A different approach to potato printing - instead of cutting away at a flat surface I drew into a soft, pliable one. It wasn't until after I'd finished the drawing that I realised that plasticine is oil based and so will never harden which posed quite a problem when printing... However it actually worked suprisingly well! I had to adapt to the softness of the naterial by using a sponge to apply the paint in place of a roller, and laying the paper on top of the plasticine then rubbing gently to print the image.


I covered a square of corrigated card in duct tape to make it waterproof and then used a hot glue gun and a skewer to draw my raised printable image onto the surface. Unfortunately it didn't work very well as there was too much of a height difference between the two layers and the paper didn't mould very well around the glue - at least I tried!

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