Original Printmaking

etching, Collagraph, Viscosity, Relief Prints and Monotype

The main techniques that I use in printmaking are these.  Each represents a different platemaking approach but all share the common theme that the art is creating by transferring ink from one surface to the final paper.  All except monotype can be editioned, that is, multiple proofs can be made from the plate. 
Click on the technique title to see a gallery of work in that process.


Etching is a form of intaglio printmaking, in which the image is incised into the plate so that what is below the surface is what will transfer to the paper. In etching, I use nitric acid to to etch lines and tonal areas into the zinc plate.  Ink is scraped onto to the plate, forcing it into the incised areas,.  Then stiff rags called tarletan are used to polish the surface of the plate clean.  The paper must be damp, and is placed on top of the plate.  several layers of soft felt blankets are placed over the paper.  When this travels between the double rollers of the etching press, the paper fibers are forced deep into the plate to lift out the ink.  There is no art until a proof is pulled from the plate. The plate must be hand-inked and hand-wiped again for each proof in the edition.  Hence an etching is considered an original work of art even though multiple impressions are normally made in a limited edition.

Mission Trails Oak, etching
Coast Walk, hand colored etching
Solitude, Collagraph


In collagraph, the plate is a collage.  Items may be glued to a piece of masonite or to a piece of cardboard. Lace, sand paper, leaves or feathers, textured paper or textured cloth are all ways to create a textured surface that will hold ink when the plate is wiped like an etching.  Care must be taken to keep the relative heights of the materials fairly small so that the paper does not tear during the printing process. Like an etching, a collagraph is printed on dampened paper on an etching press.

On the Threshhold of a Dream, collagraph
Vivacious, viscosity etching


Where Broods Radiance Vast, viscosity etching

Viscosity Prints

A technique of printing deeply etched plates or multi-level collagraph plates using rollers to apply inks. The relative softness of the roller and oiliness of the ink controls where the color lands on the plate. All colors are applied before the plate is run through the press. Viscosity print editions are likely to be quite variable.

Relief Prints

Printing from the upper surface, which has been inked by rollers, characterizedsrelief printing.  Blocks may be made of wood, linoleum, or any marerial that can be carved.


Night Bloom, relief print
Whirligig, Relief print
Torrey Pines State Beach, monotype


Monotype is unique, a one-of-a-kind print.  While there are a variety of ways to approach this technique, I use a blank piece of Plexiglas, and ink or oil paints to create the image on the Plexiglas.  When I am satisfied with the image, I print it onto damp paper on an etching press or by rubbing the paper with a baren.  Key to this method is that the print must be made while the paint is still wet.  There is no desing on the plate that can be repeated – hence mono (one) type (of a kind).  Some artists make “monoprints” using plates with some repeatable design elements but varying the colors to achieve a unique image.

Illilouette Falls, monotype