What's a relief print?

A relief print is a print where the ink is rolled onto the surface of a block. The block can be made of lino, vinyl, wood or any carve-able and printable material. Paper is laid over the inked block and either hand printed or printed using a press. The areas that have been cut away do not print. Relief prints include lino, vinyl, woodcuts, wood engravings and monotypes. A relief print is a mirror image of the block. A variety of heavy and thin papers can be used.

What is an intaglio print?

An intaglio print is a print where the ink is forced into the grooves etched, scratched or incised into a plate. Further wiping or dabbing removes excess ink and creates the desired effect. Engravings, drypoint, etchings, aquatints and mezzotints are examples of intaglio prints. Rag paper is often soaked in water and blotted dry before being laid over the plate. The plate is rolled through a press which exerts a great amount of pressure. Plates are usually made from copper or zinc. Thin papers are not suitable for these techniques.

What's a vinyl block?

A soft Japanese vinyl block is double sided (one side blue, one side green) and has an excellent smooth cutting surface specially designed for relief printing. Either side can be cut, but you can only use one side, not both to achieve a quality print. The soft surface allows for easy cutting with less pressure than traditional linoleum. Vinyl also does not crumble which allows you to cut very fine detail and achieve sharp lines.

What is a lino block?

Silk cut linoleum or lino comes in rolls and small or large tiles. Silk cut is made from natural ingredients and is very durable. It has one side that is suitable for cutting with the back re-enforced with natural jute. Find more information on linoleum head to Silk Cut

What is an original, limited edition print?

Original or fine art prints have been created by the artist and are printed in limited numbers or editions. They are either hand printed or printed using a press, usually by the artist themselves, but sometimes by a master printer. Once the edition size has been decided, the artist will not print more than this amount. Artists use archival quality inks on acid free paper to ensure the prints don’t discolour or deteriorate over time.

Limited edition prints are numbered and signed by the artist usually beneath the printed image. The numbers are found to the left, the title in the center and the artist’s name or signature and date to the right. A print numbered 2/11 indicates that it is the second print in an edition of 11 prints. It does not mean that it was printed second.

Limited edition prints are not reproductions of other artworks. Most giclee (inkjet or digital) prints are reproductions of paintings, watercolors, drawings and photographs amongst others, and are not original works of art. Many are presented as limited editions, but they are limited edition computer prints not original art prints. The exception is original digital works of art created by artists entirely or partly on computers.

How is a relief print made?

The image is transferred to the block (it will print in reverse). Areas not required to print are cut away.The block is cleaned. Ink is rolled with a brayer (roller) onto a smooth surface such as a glass sheet. The brayer is rolled over the block ensuring all areas are covered. The block is placed onto the registration sheet. The paper is laid over the block using the registration sheet as a guide. It can be printed by hand or using a press. Repeat steps 4-8 until required number of prints are reached. Leave prints to dry on a drying rack. Hand colour (if required). Sign the limited edition.