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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > February 18 > Printmaking without a press

Printmaking without a press

Phil Tyler demonstrates how to make a print from a piece of your artwork, without using any specialist equipment

Printmaking can be fun to learn and offer new insights into ways of working. One of its many advantages is that it will enable you to produce more than one version of an image you’ve already created.

You don’t need specialist equipment to explore printmaking, in fact you can do a great deal at home without too much expense, reusing materials that might otherwise be destined for the bin. The thing about all printmaking is planning: thinking ahead and sometimes thinking of the next step before you make it. You need to decide what image you are trying to produce at the outset. So it is a really good idea to work from an image that you’ve already created. For this demonstration print I used a collage based on a Euan Uglow painting as my starting point.

Making stencils

Photoshop has a cut-out filter that enables you to choose up to eight layers of colour and to change the simplicity of each layer. There are other online image manipulation websites or apps that will allow you to do something similar. Manipulating your source material is really important in helping you to problem-solve. Once you have arrived at the successful design, photocopy it in black and white. Take your photocopy and use a piece of charcoal or a pastel to rub into the back of the paper, or you can use carbon paper or Tracedown – carbon paper is best as pastel can become rather messy. Then place this on top of your card and draw around each area that you want to turn into a stencil. As you draw you will leave a trace on your card; make sure you also record where the corners of the image are on your card. Alternatively, you can make your stencils out of sheets of acetate. Place a separate sheet of acetate over your photocopy and mark out the corners of the whole image shape that you intend to cut out. This will help you align your stencils later on.

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About The Artist

Welcome to our February issue with our extra 16-page guide to art courses and holidays for 2018, including Kevin Scully's article on what to take into consideration and what to pack to make the most of the opportunities offered by a structured course away from home. Our artists also offer plenty of ideas and inspiration for painting a variety of subjects in a broad range of media, including pastel pencil animals, a horse in watercolour, trees and an orchard in pastels, mixed-media collages inspired by old buildings, a photorealist self-portrait in oils and more. In addition, Hazel Soan starts her new three-part series on light and shade in watercolour by explaining how to train your eye to see and interpret tone, Judi Whitton demonstrates how to mix and exploit a wide range of lively greys in your watercolour paintings, while Paul Gadenne shows why and how acrylics can be the key to achieving greater spontaneity in your work. Be inspired and enjoy trying some new ideas under the guidance of our fantastic team of contributing artists!
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