Want a new artistic challenge? Here’s why you should try printmaking!

When we discovered our intern Kara Neill has a strong interest in printmaking, we invited her to share her insights with ART BLOG…

If you’re currently looking to expand your artistic skills, read on to discover some inside information on three types of printmaking.

You’ll learn how to come up with ideas for prints, and what to get out of the print-making process. Later this week, the second of Brendan Flynn’s pieces on printmaking will illuminate the process further.

Printmaking: Why it should be your next new venture…

Michael Allison, Moseley Road Baths – engraving, monoprint £190

When embarking on printmaking for the first time, you may have a number of questions floating around your head… largely the result of uncertainty as you are trying something new!

How do I come up with an idea for a print?

The first piece of advice I will give you is to not overthink your idea too much. You should initially find a topic that you’re interested in. To do this, I have always looked at two types of inspiration. First, my ‘existing’ inspirations in art, such as the works of my favourite artists. Secondly, my ‘outside’ inspirations, such as nature, film, or personal experience. My best art has always started with a personal experience, as I’ve found expressing your thoughts through art to be the best kind of therapy.

What will I get out of starting to print?

Most obviously, learning how to print provides you with a new venture in life and quite simply, creating things makes you feel good! It doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult, materials can be cheap, and you can make designs as easy or as difficult as you like.

The prints you make can be turned into something to be sold, something for yourself, or for others as a gift. Also, if you don’t think you’re the best at ‘technical’ drawing or painting, then printing is perfect for you.


Jonathan Costall, Gray – Linocut, £130

Of all the printing methods I have tried, I found lino-cut to be the most enjoyable. The process of cutting away at the lino is extremely therapeutic and a lot of fun. However, I do warn you, this makes it hard to stop cutting away so that nothing is left- so a little restraint is necessary.

Lino-prints can be simple or detailed. The more intricate the design, the harder it is to create, as it requires the use of smaller cutting tools and an attention to detail. I recommend starting with a simple design at first, and as your confidence builds, trying something more detailed.

With a lino-print, what you see is typically what you get. As long as you don’t apply too much ink to the lino, it should turn out as you expect! Alongside how accessible lino-printing materials are, I believe these reasons make it the best place to start if you are interested in printmaking.

If you are interested in learning how to lino-print, then join us at the RBSA for Eric Gaskell’s Workshop, ‘Copy, Proof, Print’, on Mon 20 – Tues 21 August. 


Maxine Foster, On the Wagon II – monoprint and screenprint £180

What I love about monotype is that it can produce prints that express particular atmospheres. There are a variety of techniques for monotype, which involve different ways of applying the ink to the printing sheet, and different ways of pressing and transferring the ink onto paper. Each technique can carry a completely different message and produce images ranging from raw and haunting, to bold, colourful, distinct, or even abstract.

The exciting thing about monotype is that results can vary and the reveal of the final print is always exhilarating for me. Sometimes, ink can be unintentionally transferred or become smudged, however, I personally enjoyed what this gave to my images. Eventually, you will get better at knowing how to avoid this, but like I said, those imperfections were what sometimes made my prints special.

For the perfect introduction to learning how to monotype, join us at the RBSA for Mike Allison’s Workshop, ‘Mastering Monotype’, on Fri 24 August. 


Lynn Jeffery, ‘Walkway to the Ferry’

The best thing about screen-printing is that the materials needed are very accessible: you can make your stencil out of just paper and a pair of scissors. Another plus with screen-printing is that the designs should always be as you expect due to the clean cut lines; meaning you can create ultra-bold and professional looking prints.

If you’re looking for a printing technique that is versatile, screen-printing is perfect as you can transfer your designs onto paper, wood, or fabric.  This means you can create many different things that you can give to friends, sell, or use at home (perfect for a re-vamp of old cushions or bedding!).

If you’d like to try screen-printing or you’d just like to improve on what you already know, find out more about our ‘Silk-screen Printing’ Workshop with RBSA Friend, Karoline Rerrie, on Sat 25 Aug or Fri 26 Oct.

By Kara Neill, RBSA Marketing and Promotions Intern

All works featured are part of our forthcoming Print Prize Exhibition, which opens on 26 July.

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 will be judged by Leonie Bradley, Editor of Printmaking Today, and Mychael Barrett, past president of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers.

Banner Image: Peter Roberts, ‘Decasia I’ (detail), monoprint £250

#RBSAgallery #monotypeprinting #linocut #printmaking #screenprinting

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