Tag Archives: intaglio

Kollwitz, Drypoint And Woodcut. What A Weekend!

31 May
Kollwitz stamp

A stamp based on a screen print I made from an original drawing of Kathe Kollwitz

Coming up, June 16th and 17th, I’ll be running a printmaking masterclass at Swansea’s gorgeous Glynn Vivian Art Gallery. Over the weekend we’ll focus on two print techniques, drypoint (intaglio) and woodcut, linked to the fabulous Käthe Kollwitz exhibition. Book now if you want to come as tickets are selling out fast….



A digital drawing I did based on Kathe’s woodcut, The Widow.

On Day 1….

We’ll start with my illustrated talk about Käthe Kollwitz’s life and art (I’m a huge fan) and then we’ll go into the gallery to look at Käthe’s specific pieces that support drypoint and woodcut, the exquisite line of her etchings and the drama, chiaroscuro and simplicity of her woodcuts. We’ll make some quick sketches of her techniques.

After a tea break, off to the studio to look at individual work and start to transfer drawings to the drypoint plates and / or wood blocks and start cutting the images.

After lunch, we’ll continue cutting and prepare the paper for the next day and get our materials ready. This will be a chance for artists to chat about ideas, ask questions, get familiar with new materials and machinery.


On Day 2 ….

It’s all about the printing…. We’ll soak paper the paper, ink the plates and/or blocks, print a small edition for each artist and put them to dry. We’ll learn about ways of doing these print techniques at home; about signing and numbering an edition, why and how; and there will be handouts designed to help you to continue printmaking afterwards.

And all in the surroundings of the beautiful Glynn Vivian Art Gallery….


If you want to book onto the course, please click here … and if you want to read a bit more about Käthe, please click here and here.

A Creep Of Tortoises

28 Aug

28 jimmies

Here’s a small edition of 6 drypoint intaglio prints I did today, based on a sketch I did recently of Jimmy the tortoise. Apparently the collective noun for tortoises is a ‘creep’. I think it refers to their way of walking; not a slur on their character 🙂

I used a paper drypoint plate, printed with drypoint etching ink  in shop black onto handmade paper with a beige handmade fibre paper for the chine colle.

Ways With Windows

15 Jul

15 window 1

I did some drawing when I was at Walcot Mortuary Chapel in bath last week, using Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens onto recycled Bockingford that I’d prepared with an old tea bag. I decided to experiment and transfer the drawing to a drypoint plate.

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Traditionally, drypoint is an intaglio printmaking technique where the drawing is scratched into copper plate using a hardened steel drypoint tool. But with the wonders of modern technology, it can be done much cheaper and easier using proprietary plastic-coated paper drypoint plates or, as I’ve done here, some cheap, foil-covered card that’s available from craft shops. I scratched the drawing straight into the surface of the card then inked it up as for an etching plate and printed onto dampened Bockingford. I thought it was a bit bland so I did another proof onto some Somerset paper that I’d used some time ago to try and take an embossed print from a bunch of crocosmia stems with their seed heads still on. The seeds stained the paper brown and I like the effect of the drypoint intaglio print overlaid on the top.

Bristol And The Beeb

29 Jun

28 mud dock

Husb and I went over the border to Bristol today for a delightful day at Spike Print Studio, where three exceptional printmakers did a series of demonstrations and talks about their practice. We walked along the riverbank up to the Mud Dock Deli for lunch and sat upstairs on the mezzanine while I drew the punters queueing at the counter. The foreshortening was severe and they were all sorts of odd shapes.

I made visual notes during the demos by Aoife Layton (mezzotint and digital drawing), Fiona Kelly (contemporary block print and lino etching) and Ros Ford (from drawing to photopolymer intaglio). I also scribbled some of the faces there. Now I’m home, chilling to BBC 3’s excellent Glastonbury coverage.


Tatts And Transparencies

1 Apr

01 acetate 2

I’m preparing a whole new set of photopolymer plate intaglios. I’ve chosen the sketches I want to make plates of, mostly from my sketchbooks and now I’m drawing them onto small (A6) transparencies. These two here are onto Mark Resist. It’s considerably cheaper than TruGrain and more stable than tracing parchment, especially with wet media.

This is one of our group’s older models, a retiree with lots of tattoos. I’m using a traditional dip pen and Indian ink to do the linework and on the one above, I’ve used conte crayon over a sheet of rough sandpaper to get the textured background.

01 acetate 1I’m using black oilbar to do the background on the second one, with a sable brush dipped in turpentine to work around the edges of the lines. The backgrounds need a bit more work then I need to do some tones on the bodies. In the past I used Indian ink wash but water-based media don’t seem to take too well onto acetate, so for these I think I’ll experiment with black oil paint, thinned to a wash with turpentine. It’s easy to remove if I make a mistake. Once the drawings are complete, it’s off to Swansea Print Workshop to use the UV unit to create the plates.

Luscious Leftovers

27 Feb

27 leftovers 1

Had a full day at Swansea Print Workshop running a session on making miniature prints, to encourage artists to enter the Leftovers IV print exchange organised by the fabulous Wingtip Press in Boise, Idaho, USA. We’ve been saving our scraps of leftover papers – gorgeous, luscious printmaking papers. I demonstrated two techniques: block (relief) printing using offcuts of signwriter’s foam board. The other technique, drypoint intaglio printing with paper drypoint plates – so cheap and easy to use and so much quicker than copperplate etching. Here are some artists getting down and dirty in the print studio. In the foreground is the most complicated cutting tool we use for these two techniques – a four inch screw with some masking tape wrapped around it :).

27 leftovers 2

Here are some of the drypoint prints done today………

………. and some artists even managed to do an edition to enter for Leftovers IV. Result!

27 leftovers 3

Come Up And See More Etchings [parental guidance]

6 Jul

Here are two more photopolymer plate [solar plate] etchings I did a couple of days ago. I’ve been told that technically, they should be called intaglio prints, not etchings because the metal isn’t actually etched. The male nude is redrawn from a sketchbook study I did about four years ago and I’ve reworked it several times in different monotype techniques. I like the awkwardness of the pose, the painful stretching of the head thrown back and held for quite a long time.This is our young soldier model; he likes to be challenged. He suffers for our art.

I’ve been incorporating text into my drawings and mixed media work for some time, but it’s much harder to do so with most printmaking techniques because you have to work back to front. One of the joys of this method is that you don’t have to draw and write a mirror image. I know da Vinci could write mirror text beautifully, but frankly, there wasn’t much else to do in those days – no TV, no Facebook, no Internet Scrabble, no blogging – so he had plenty of time on his hands 🙂

Tomorrow is the final day of the Swansea and Cardiff Printmakers‘ exhibition in Oriel Canfas, Cardiff – I’m invigilating from 10.30 – 4.30 if anyone’s around – pop in and have a look. And it’s the first of Ros Ford‘s 4-day Open Studio event at Swansea Print Workshop – please do go see the amazing work she’s done during her residency – the time has flown!

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