How to Make a Relief Print

I am working on a series of relief prints with the Japanese Wabi-sabi theme: A world view centered on the acceptance of transcience and imperfection. The prints are a portrait of an unlucky (or lucky because immortalized?) cicada, found dead in my stairwell. 

 

How is a print like this made? I will unravel the mystery for you! 🌟

 

Step one:

 

The image is drawn with a marker on PVC board (PVC board is a cheaper variant than linoleum and works just as well).

 

 

A relief is gouged with several sharp tools. This is a time-consuming task; mine took about ten hours. 


 

 

 

Step two:

 

 

I made 30 backgrounds with ink and a roller on Japanese paper. The (spotted or dotted) textures show up when applying the ink while the paper lies on a relief like a pin board or mat. 


 

 

 

Step three:

 

 

The matrix (that’s what you call the gouged relief) is inked up with a roller, sandwiched between paper and then run through the printing press. 


 

 

 

Step four:

 

 

I paint the prints with watercolours. Most of them are green, some red and a rare one blue. 


 

 

 

Step five:

 

 

The prints are glued on a bigger white sheet with the ‘Chine Colle’ method: Both print and sheet are soaked, glued to each other, and then pinned to a pin board to dry.


 

 

Step six:

 

 

Once dry, the edges with the push pin holes are carefully ripped off in the tradition of print making. A ragged edge shows that the artwork is an original and not (merely) a digital print.  

 

And…finished!

 

 

I intend to make 31 prints total and they will be for sale!