A collagraph is a plate making process in which simple materials such as acrylic mediums, textured papers, fabrics, etc. are used to build up the surface of the plate. The materials applied to the plate will determine the tone and strengths of the ink, and will also give you a variation of textures. Once dry, the collagraph plate can be printed either as intaglio or relief.
Creating a printing Plate 1. Begin with good drawing of your favorite musician playing their instrument. Stress clean dynamic shapes, good composition, and details should be simplified. Draw fairly large and encourage overlapping. The drawing should be the same size as the printing plate.
2. Transfer drawings to heavy card stock using transfer paper- printed image will be reversed.
3. Cut figures out and then cut each figure into many separate shapes – separate shapes for hand, fore arm, upper arm, shirt, collar, neck, etc.
4. Once you are sure glue the separate shapes onto the printing plate – heavy mat board. Shapes can overlap (creates a unique edge) but not fitted back together, it is the spaces (or edges) that show in the print (the shapes as defined by their edges).
Separations between each individual shape is the essence of this process.
5. Before printing apply a thin coat of cheap white acrylic house paint to both sides of the printing plate / front so ink will release better / back to reduce warping.
Inking the Plate. This is different than most multi-color printing in that you are printing all of the colors at one time. Set up the ink/brayers with the lightest color say (yellow) to the left and then perhaps (magenta) and then the darkest perhaps (violet) last. Work from the lightest to the darkest.
Inking the plate with the lighter color first seems to limit pollution of the other colors.
Don’t ink the plate fully, (leave white areas for contrast) do not allow new colors to cover others too much as you put each new layer of color on the printing plate. It is the play of one color against another that is the beauty of the final print.
Pulling a Print. 1. Set the press for even pressure.
2. Always have sheets of paper (soft manila or newspaper) under the felt blanket on the printing press, it keeps everything cleaner.
3. Keep print paper near the press to get to them easily.
4. Keep clean straight borders around each print, working in pairs usually helps, one partner keeping clean hands to handle the paper. Hint: Often if a bit too much ink was used you can get a great (even better) print by running the plate through (without re-inking) using a second sheet of paper. You will need to work in groups – some inking, some working the press while others blot paper.
5. Each person needs to print three color collagraph prints. Lower right corner sign, date with 2B pencil.