Collage by artist Wangechi Mutu

5th Newsletter - Printmaking (everything but relief)

Artwork above is Second Born by Wangechi Mutu, 2013
24 Kt gold, collagraph, relief, digital printing, collage, and hand coloring
Here's a an Art21 14 minute video about this artist.

I have some great interviews lined up this year, but for now let’s finish our talk about printmaking. 

I think I said this in the last newsletter, all about relief printmaking (on the blog now if you missed it): in printmaking, as opposed to a painting, where there’s just one, you can make many prints of the same design relatively quickly (except monoprints). There are several types of printmaking: relief, letterpress, silkscreen, collagraph, chine-collé, lithograph, etching, risograph & more! I think definitions & images might be helpful?



There are a few ways to do this, the most common is to burn your image onto a silkscreen by coating the screen with a photo-sensitive emulsion, putting your opaque design on top & burning it with a light exposure unit. Wherever your opaque design hits the emulsion, it does not harden & can be washed out with water, so the ink can get through. Where you had no image, the light hits the emulsion, so it hardens & now no ink can get through. Process video

You can burn screens at home with a light in a very dark room. You’ll just have to do a bunch of tests to figure out the burn time. You can also use paper stencils at home instead of burning your image. They talk about this briefly in the video. You’ll still need to buy a screen, squeegee, & ink. I’ve tried this & it’s very fun!
There is also a method you can do at home using drawing fluid. I actually made a kit for this, but it was kinda expensive, so I scrapped it. If there’s interest, I can put it together on an individual basis. It involves using Drawing fluid to literally paint on the screen with a brush.


These are very detailed written instructions of the drawing method that are helpful if you’re going to try this!
Andy Warhol screen print image of Marilyn Monroe's face repeate. On the left is in color, on the right is in black & white & fading.
Marilyn Diptych by Andy Warhol, 1962
Screenprint for The Breeders band. Image of a heart wrapped in rope with 4 arrows.
The Breeders in Philadelphia, by The Bird Machine, 2023
Screenprint of a hand with 3 fingers held up. On each finger are written the workds "Agitate" "Educate" "Organize"
Three Steps by Josh Macphee from, 2014


Risography uses a high-capacity copy machine, “the RISO”. We had a couple at the school I taught at because they can produce a lot of copies really quickly & efficiently. You create your design digitally in black & white in layers, & create “masters” on the RISO. This creates a stencil for each layer of your design. The copiers usually have a drum filled with black ink, but you can take out this drum & replace it with another drum filled with a different color. You print one layer of your design, but can then switch out the drum & reinsert the paper, put in a different “master”, to print another color on top. It’s sometimes called “digital screenprinting” & is a newer technique. Here’s an explainer


Risgraph of a cat in a clear glass bowl with 5 round fruits that were in the bowl, now outside of the bowl. Background is a blue, cat & fruit are a neon orange-ish.

Orange Cat in a Bowl by Bromstad Printing Co


Risograph print of a cat filleting some fish

Fresh Fish! by Daniel Wright


Risograph print with text in blue that says "Hands off trans kids" with an image of a blue hand using scissors to cut an orange photo realistic of a hand

Hands Off Trans Kids by Josh MacPhee


Gluing a collage of materials onto a substrate (something hard that is the main block that you print, often thin wood or cardboard), rolling ink onto it, & printing. You can use the intaglio or relief method or a combo of both. Here’s an explanation of the collagraph using the intaglio method. I’ve personally only done the relief method, it’s a fun method you can totally do at home!

Abstract collagraph print. Pale yellow background, large black shape in foreground

Child's Room by Akiko Tanigushi, 2000
Collagraph + relief + chine-collé


Collagraph print in black & white with an overall dot pattern

Porous #16 by Eunice Kim
Collagraph + chine-collé



Gluing a finer paper (like tissue paper) onto your printing paper during the printing process as another way to add color to your prints. Can be used with relief, collagraph, etching, lithograph, any process that uses a hard substrate I imagine. This is a linocut printmaker trying it for the first time with great results.



This is a process I know nothing about so am going to copy & paste from the internet. This is the dictionary definition that came up on Google, “the process of printing from a flat surface treated so as to repel the ink except where it is required for printing.” This seems kinda vague. I know that people usually draw on limestone. Here’s a very comprehensive video. I love all the steps in printmaking, but this is intimidating! 

I recently started following Valerie Syposz though on Instagram because she does Kitchen Lithography which basically requires alumimum foil & Coke! Here’s a youtube video she made of creating a print. She has a ton of videos if you want to try it. She even offers online classes for only $35.
Black & white lithograph of an older woman's (Kathe Kollwitz') face.
Self-portrait by Käthe Kollwitz, 1934


A black & white lithograph of 3 black women. The two women on the end are carrying water in containers. The woman in the center is looking directly at the viewer & has a tall hat on her head & her right arm is on her hip.
Water Carriers by Mabel Pugh, 1977


Rauschenberg lithograph. Image is in black & white except for a blue splotch on the left & some red in the top middle.
Sub-Total from Stoned moon series Robert Rauschenberg, 1971


Engraving, Etching, Drypoint, Aquatint, & Mezzotint are all types of Intaglio printmaking. In Intaglio, the ink goes into the carved lines, so that’s what’s being printed. You need a lot of pressure, so an etching press. In relief, you’re printing the raised lines or shapes. Here’s an explanation of etching with static & moving visuals from The Met.


3/4 view of a woman (Kathe Kollwitz) with her hand on the side of her head. Black & white.
Self-portrait by Käthe Kollwitz, 1921


Aquatint of a woman with her back to us with a towel around her lower half. She is rinsing her face at a bathroom sink. A pitcher is on the floor.
Woman Bathing by Mary Cassat, 1890-1891


Drypoint and aquatint
When Water Meets Earth by Benjie Torrado Cabrera,  2014



I know this is a lot of info, but I wanted to give an overview & if one style interests you, you can check out the links & dive in further!


Have an arty month!

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.