Once you have made the plate, the printing process starts and there are so many ways to ink up!

Below are many ways of inking the plate explained, if you would like to come on a workshop please get in touch or have a look here for plate making processes.

  • Inks to use  

Only use inks suitable for the plates you are creating, to avoid unnecessary problems – for relief plates use relief ink, for intaglio plates, use intaglio ink and for lithography use lithography ink. The correct oils, mediums and pigments can be purchased to create your own ink if you wish. Oil paint is always a good substitute for some plates but nothing will work as well as the ink that has been developed for each different process.

  • Intaglio 

This print-process is used for printing intaglio plates such as etchings, drypoint, some collagraphs, photo etchings and some lino plates.

Your ink is mixed to the viscosity that you prefer, the plate can be heated up, however this is not necessary if you are adding extender or oils to your ink. Using mount board corners or scrapers, pull and push the ink into the lines and tones. Then with scrim or newspaper remove the excess ink, making sure you do not take out the ink from the lines and tones. Set your chosen pressure on your press and then do a test print to make sure you are happy with the pressure on your press and your plate.

  • Relief 

Using relief ink to print linos and woodblocks as well as some collagraphs. First charge your ink up using a roller or brayer on a glass or plastic slab, once you are happy with the consistency of the ink, roll the ink onto your plate, making sure all areas have been covered and you have the correct consistency all over. Set your press to the correct pressure and print your plate.

  • Chine-collé 

You can add this into any printing you are doing. using tissue paper or torn pages from music books or maps. Put the glue onto the top side of the paper, then put the non glued side of the paper onto any area of your plate, then print. The glue will attach itself to the paper you are printing onto and the plate will print onto the side that was touching it, providing some incredible effects.

  • A la poupée

This means with a doll or like a doll in French. Using your hands or balled up scrim (wad of fabric), apply many different colours to the plate, each time making sure you do not put too much ink onto the plate as this may cause it to slip when printing. Wipe your plate using newspaper or scrim if you wish, this is time consuming but a fantastic way to get wonderful effects.

  • Viscosity printing

You are 8 different variations of oil which can be used to mix with your ink to create the different viscosities. Inking your plate up using varieties of consistencies of ink can create some wonderful effects. Again a time consuming method but very rewarding!

  • Paper 

For intaglio plates use thicker gsm and soak your paper for a minimum of 15 minutes, for relief paper use thinner gsm and use it dry. Try and find a paper you like and which is not too expensive, thick or thin so that you can do all your proofing on it. This way you will be able to give yourself one constant when printing.

Make sure you know your press,how to change the pressure and also how to maintain it.  Click here to see our range of printing presses that we designed and make and sell all over the world.

The right press will inspire confidence and along with your paper and ink, these constants in your printmaking practises will help you to become an excellent printmaker.