How prints are made: behind the scenes at the Print Prize Exhibition…

Have you ever wondered how fine art prints are produced? We asked some top UK printmakers to spill the beans…

We’ve already explored some of the techniques in articles at the ART BLOG by Kara Neill and our Art Historian Brendan Flynn.

Now we can reveal printmakers at work in their workshop spaces! To view their beautiful prints in person be sure to visit our Print Prize Exhibition soon!

Michaela Wheater

Michaela Wheater, ‘Treasure’ – Linocut

Michaela sent us some fascinating images of the lino block used for her work ‘Treasure’. She is an artist and educator living and working in London who has taught art at secondary school level for over 25 years. Michaela is currently developing work in print and working out of Kew Studio and Richmond Art School.

Multiple plates ready to be proofed.

A plate inked up ready to pull a proof print.

Fae Kilburn

Fae Kilburn is a fine artist and printmaker based in Birmingham.

Recently she has been working on a new body of work inspired by her family history, creating portraits of people who’s life experiences she was moved by. All her portraits have a haunted quality to them but are left open to interpretation.

​Fae is also inspired by her surroundings and the changing seasons. She doesn’t make large editions, preferring her work to reflect the individuality of the subject.

A collagraph plate: different materials are used to create a textured printing plate.  You apply the ink to these plates using pieces of card or tooth brushes, then wipe away the excess, finally you print on damp paper using a printing press. This plate was inspired by the sea and stone in Canada.

Using the etching press to print a collograph plate…



Hazel Bryer

‘Brockwell Park Lido’

Hazel Bryer is a London-based printmaker, who makes work both individually and collaboratively with Underway Studio in Queen’s Park.

She specialises in making linocuts, and has recently become interested in capturing the many outdoor lidos of London this way.

Here, Hazel takes us through the stages involved in creating her work ‘Brockwell Park Lido’ which is currently on display at the Print Prize Exhibition…

Carving the lino block with Swiss lino tools. I mainly work with the standard ‘V’ tool to achieve the texture I want. I almost always work with reduction blocks (printing each layer from the same block) as I like the challenge of making each layer of colour work against the previous one.

 The printing block – sometimes it’s interesting to print a light layer on top of a darker colour to see what results you get, in this case light reflecting off the water.

The print before its final layer. I have used Somerset Satin paper for this series, its 100% cotton surface holds ink well.



Fred Jones

Fred is pictured above printing a wood engraving. He is a renowned printmaker who works mainly in etching, though he also ventures into drypoint, aquatint, and wood engraving.

He has exhibited internationally, is a member of the Printmakers Council UK, and his work features on book covers and in magazines. Fred says:

“My work consists of etchings, aquatints, drypoints, …, mainly monochrome, but with occasional touches of red. “The subject matter is usually urban and/or figurative. My chief models have been contemporary Dutch and Scandinavian printmakers, especially Charles Donker, Willem den Ouden, and Aat Veldhoen.”

A wood engraving block, preprint



Linda Nevill

Linda Nevill is a recent Associate of the RBSA and her etching Homed and Homeless won the Elsie Holland Prize at Wolverhampton Art Gallery.

Linda has exhibited in cities across the globe, and finds she is often drawn to social themes and political issues.

An etching plate in mordant – copper sulphate

Linda employs various printmaking techniques: etching, monotype, collograph and lino. Each piece she creates goes through several painstaking processes to achieve the final result.

‘I like the unpredictability of printmaking processes. On the one hand I want control over what I am creating, but at the same time I relish the unknown and the unexpected things that regularly happen. ‘There is also the excitement of the reveal when I peel back the paper from the plate to see my image. ‘Through my choice of subject matter, composition, colour and mark making, I aim to convey the intensity of my feelings to others.’

Visit our Print Prize Exhibition!

Hazel Bryer and Michaela Wheater are among a host of printmakers on show at our current Print Prize Exhibition, which runs all summer until 1 September. Many of the works are for sale and you will be supporting contemporary artists and the work of the RBSA by making a purchase.

Our biennial Print Prize exhibition aims to champion and celebrate the exciting range of contemporary printmakers producing original printed artworks within the UK. Selected artists also have the opportunity to be rewarded for their talents, with a top cash prize of £1,000! Entries were judged by Leonie Bradley, Editor of Printmaking Today, and Mychael Barrett, past president of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers.

Banner Image: Hazel at work in her studio

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