Resources and FAQs
This section of my website is to answer some frequently questions in the hope that it will relieve pressure from my email inbox and save me a little time! It also serves as a point of reference for my students.
If your question is not answered here, please get in touch. If I feel the answer to your question will help others, I'll put my answer here.
I won't go into too much detail about how I do things, to see this you will have to take one of my workshop days or visit me when I am demonstrating
Where do I buy my equipment from?
What materials do I use?
LinoI have nearly always used soft cut lino or more recently Japanese Vinyl. When I returned to lino printing in around 2010 or so, soft cut lino was quite a new thing (I think). I instantly preferred cutting it to traditional artists hessian backed lino. I have tried lots of different varieties, but my preferred choice now is the Japanese Vinyl. It has a green layer on one side and blue layer on the other. When you cut into it, the green (or blue) is removed to reveal the grey underneath. I find this helpful as you can 'read' the lino easily. Another brilliant feature of the Japanese Vinyl is it's beautifully square edges. I got quite fed up of trying to square off other brands as they were never cut straight. I buy my Japanese Vinyl either from Intaglio Printmaker, Lawrence Art Supplies or from Handprinted.
PaperWhen I began printing multi-layered work, I was using a medium weight cartridge paper. If you have tried this you will know that as the paper gets wet it starts to buckle (no pun intended - haha). I quickly realised that I needed to investigate a better quality paper to get a better finish, so I asked another artist I found online at the time who was doing multi-layered lino work (I'm sorry I would give you a mention if I could remember your name!) She recommended Somerset Satin. I have used this paper ever since. I used to buy both the 250gsm and the 300gsm weight but I only buy the 300gsm weight now, mostly because the 300gsm will take a lot more ink. I buy my Somerset paper, either from Jackson's Art or Lawrence Art Supplies.
InkI have only ever used water-based inks. I started out with 300ml tubes of cheap block printing ink, the likes of which you can buy from a variety of places, just google 'block printing ink'. I would recommend this type of ink to begin with, you will get a reasonable result, cheaply. After using this ink for a while however, I got frustrated trying to mix colours as it was sometimes hard to get the colour I wanted. I asked Laura Boswell to recommend a better brand of water-based ink and she recommended Schmincke. Actually she recommended two brands, but I forget the other one... perhaps it was Caligo.. I bought myself some Schmincke inks and I have not felt the need to try another brand, I am very happy with them and I have been using them for over six years now. I buy my Schmincke inks, either from Jackson's Art or Great Art. Jackson's will send it quicker (within the UK) but you might get a better price with Great Art.
What tools and equipment do I use?
PressesTo begin with I hand burnished my prints. After a while, I bought myself a small relief press, mostly to speed up my printing rather than to get a better result. I believe that you don't need a press if you are prepared to spend the time hand burnishing! If you are getting an unsatisfactory result with your hand burnishing, it is most likely the ink application that is the problem or the type of paper. That is my experience in any case.
Anyway, I wanted to get my prints printed quicker, so I bought myself an Abig Hand Printing Press from Great Art. I have used it for at least four years now and I still use it for my smaller work. I do now also have the Abig Printing Press 500mm which I have been happy with so far for my bigger work. I am not overly familiar with different types of presses and I am not sure what is useful information, so if you have a specific question about this press, let me know so I can make this section more informative. I chose this press mainly because of the bed size for weight ratio - I wanted to print big, but be able to move the thing around. It was a bit of a punt, as you can see there is minimal information about it!
Do you have a question, or would you like me to expand on any of these answers? Let me know :)