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Beginning Printmaking – Books we love

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

We are often asked for recommendations on books to get started on various methods of printmaking. Here is a round up of our favourites for anyone thinking about learning how to print at home. 

Fresh Prints by Cristine Leech. 25 projects to make at home. Suitable for complete beginners. Good pics and clear instructions. Mostly relief printmaking using found objects, safe print foam and even the odd sweet potato! Lots of info regarding colour mixing, inks and tools. Great section of templates that can help to get you started.

Simple Printmaking by Elizabeth Harbour. Elizabeth Harbour is a printmaker, illustrator, teacher, designer and maker. She very much believes in using products that are readily available and trying to make printmaking inexpensive. The printmaking techniques covered in this book are vast covering Monoprinting with a Gelatine Plate (these are the original Gelli Plates), Marbling, Stencilling, Block Printing, Screen Printing and Coca Cola Litho Printing. The surfaces that are printed vary hugely from lampshades, cushions, greeting cards through to table cloths, china and bags.

Print Collective by Jenny Doh. Jenny is an American Artist and Author. I love this book. It is a great guide for anyone wanting to set up there own dedicated Screen Printing space. She writes in depth about the various options and even gives a simple step by step on how to create an exposure unit. She also gives brief instructions on other types of printmaking such as cyanotype. The downside is that the suppliers listed are only to be found in America so unfortunately we didn't get a mention! The projects within the book are all created by different designers and photographed within their studios. There is also a CD within the book that contains 200 downloadable motifs to get you started.


Making an Impression by Geninne D. Zlatkis. Geninne is a fantastic illustrator living outside Mexico City - her blog was always a constant source of inspiration for me - unfortunately she doesn't appear to be blogging that frequently anymore :( but it can be viewed here: - the photos are always great too. This book is focussed on relief printmaking using rubber stamp carving blocks - we stock Moo Carve and Speedy Carve for this process. The projects are mostly for fabric and paper and she shows the versatility of this kind of stamp making. Great in depth instructions.

Carve, Stamp, Play by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. Julie is a self taught mixed-media artist based in the US. The techniques taught in this book is similar to Making an Impression but the end results are quite different. I would recommend this book for people more interested in mixed media, who love layering and collage. Making an Impression has a cleaner, more graphic design than Carve, Stamp, Play. This book again uses Speedy Carve but unlike Making an Impression focusses more on pattern making and creating repeat patterns.

The Print Making Book by Vanessa Mooncie. Loads of different techniques including sun printing, relief printmaking, screen printing, monoprinting, stencilling and image transfer. The Printmaking Book contains 23 projects for the home. The instructions are illustrations with a photo for each of the finished projects. The items printed are very varied from fabric, paper through to shrinkable plastic and mirrors.

Print Workshop by Christine Schmidt. Another author from the US, Christine runs Yellow Owl Workshop a great design led giftware and craft supply business. This book was first published in 2010 so a little older than the other books in this review but the designs are still really current. Great in depth instructions and advice. Techniques covered are relief printmaking, stencil printing, screen printing, sun printing and image transfer printing. A really good starter book for any potential printmaker.

Printing by Hand by Lena Corwin. This book is a ring bound book and as such opens flat so is great if you are following the step by steps! Mostly aimed at people wanting to print on textiles, the book covers block printing, stencilling, screen printing. Unfortunately although the book talks about using photographic screens it doesn't instruct you how to do it but directs you to a 'screen maker'. (We can do this for you but it can easily be done in your home/studio with very little equipment here is our instruction sheet on how to do it). Pictures are lovely though so would be a good introduction to printing home wares. Again it is a American author so some of the products used are hard to find.
 We have also written an indepth review of Jenny Mcabe's The Handprinted Home - another book perfect for a person wanting to start printmaking - the full blog post can be read here!

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