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  • nathanvanehuin

Discovering Printmaking (Two Years of Making Prints)

Updated: Apr 28, 2023

As I am coming towards the end of my second year here at Aberystwyth University, I am starting to reflect on what I have learned so far. One of the most impactful thing I learned was printmaking. I was introduced to many different ways to create prints, such as intaglio (printing using metal plates), relief printing, lithography (printing a drawing on a stone) and screen-printing (printing using different screens). My favourite has been relief printing, which involves carving wood or linoleum and using that carving like a big stamp to create artworks.

I also fell in love with the art of wood engraving, which is a bit different from wood cutting. In wood engraving, we use the end grain of the trunk, which means that the wood is harder and allows for more detailed and delicate engravings. It was often used for book illustrations, like in Victorian books for example.

Here is an example of one of my wood engravings:

I also learned about letterpress and movable type, which is the old-fashioned way of printing just about everything with text on it. Each individual letter has to be picked, placed and secured. Printing a few simple sentences was long and tedious enough to make me realise how quick everything has gotten and how different the world used to be.

While I mostly use my iPad for creating my illustrations, I find it very satisfying to create art in a way that takes time, with an outcome that is not always planned. Printmaking is definitely an art for passionate people. It is very technical and each prints takes a long time to create. But the satisfaction of pulling the lever of the press and discover the finished print for the first time is definitely worth it.


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