Printmaking is the process of creating artworks by printing, normally on paper. Printmaking normally covers only the process of creating prints that have an element of originality, rather than just being a photographic reproduction of a painting. Except in the case of monotyping, the process is capable of producing multiples of the same piece, w...

Printmaking is the process of creating artworks by printing, normally on paper. Printmaking normally covers only the process of creating prints that have an element of originality, rather than just being a photographic reproduction of a painting. Except in the case of monotyping, the process is capable of producing multiples of the same piece, which is called a print. Each print produced is considered an "original" work of art, and is correctly referred to as an "impression", not a "copy" (that means a different print copying the first, common in early printmaking). Often impressions vary considerably, whether intentionally or not. The images on most prints are created for that purpose, perhaps with a preparatory study such as a drawing. A print that copies another work of art, especially a painting, is known as a "reproductive print".

Prints are created by transferring ink from a matrix to a sheet of paper or other material, by a variety of techniques. Common types of matrices include: metal plates, usually copper or zinc, or polymer plates and other thicker plastic sheets for engraving or etching; stone, aluminum, or polymer for lithography; blocks of wood for woodcuts and wood engravings; and linoleum for linocuts. Screens made of silk or synthetic fabrics are used for the screen printing process. Other types of matrix substrates and related processes are discussed below.

Multiple impressions printed from the same matrix form an edition. Since the late 19th century, artists have generally signed individual impressions from an edition and often number the impressions to form a limited edition; the matrix is then destroyed so that no more prints can be produced. Prints may also be printed in book form, such as illustrated books or artist's books.



Derivan Block Ink

This block printing ink has the perfect consistency for lino and wood block printing, and transfers onto paper. It is non-toxic, water-based, and washes up easily in water.

Derivan developed this unique product for art and craft courses to give people a premium quality block printing ink that did not contain harmful solvents. Derivan Block Ink is therefore non-toxic and easy to clean up, while still giving the feel of a professional-grade oil-based printing ink.

Derivan Block Ink is available in open mouth 250ml jars.

The consistency of Derivan Block Ink will always give you sharp, accurate prints.

Derivan Block Ink has been formulated for lino and wood-block printing on paper with classroom teaching in mind. Derivan Block Ink will remain open on the block for some time but once printed will dry quickly to facilitate stacking of prints after each class. If a longer open time is required, mix the ink with Derivan Drying Retarder to slow the drying time.

Colour Mixing
All the colours may be intermixed to form bright secondary and tertiary colours. It is advisable to mix the colours with a spatula on a sheet of glass or other non-porous surface.

All Derivan Block Inks have an ASTM rating of either 1-2, indicating excellent permanency. They are artist quality and completely lightfast so they will neither fade nor break down over time.

For reference, the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) is a world-wide rating standard used to determine lightfast characteristics. The scale ranges from 1 (maximum lightfastness) to 5 (minimal lightfastness). This is important to determine if the paint will remain permanent over time.

Derivan Screen Ink

Derivan Screen Ink is a totally water-based silk screen printing ink.


Derivan Screen Ink has been formulated as a safe, non-toxic silk screen printing ink for fabric and Tie Dyeing. It can be used in the classroom or at home safely without the worry of being exposed to harmful solvents such as white spirits, turps or thinners. Derivan Screen Ink is water-based and washes up in water (before it is heat set) but has excellent rub resistance and lightfastness once heat set.


All the colours may be intermixed to form bright secondary and tertiary colours. White (Opaque) may be mixed if pale pastel opaque prints are desired on dark coloured fabrics.


This is a thick milky coloured paste which dries colourless and transparent. It is used for intermixing with standard printing colours in order to extend deep colours into pale or lighter transparent shades (Red into transparent pink, etc.). Mainly for White or pale fabrics.


Wash all utensils, brushes and hands with soap and water to clean up.


It is important to make sure the silk screen blockout or stencil system that is to be used is compatible with water-based products (some are completely resistant to many solvents but water will destroy them).


Generally speaking, the best mesh size for fabric printing is 10T to 25T (monofilament). A coarser mesh screen is required for fabric than for paper; more ink is required as fabric tends to be more absorbent.


Best results are obtained from absorbent fabrics; avoid waterproof fabrics as they tend to inhibit penetration and repel the water-based colours. Fabrics containing starch, size, fillers, softeners or crease-proof treatments should be washed prior to printing. Fabrics containing waterproofing treatments may not accept the paints and may result in mottling, poor colour adhesion or patchy printing and may not remain washproof.


It is necessary to heat fix the image if it is to be washproof. Heat fixing can take many forms. The main points to be observed are:

  • The image must be air dried before it is heat fixed.

  • Ensure the heat is applied evenly over the image.

  • Ensure the heat is applied continuously for the required time over the image.

  • Be sure not to scorch or burn the image or garment.

  • Any type of heat can be used. Heat tunnels, ovens, even the humble household iron can all be used. If using contact heat (for instance an iron), use a tea towel or another piece of cotton cloth over the image to iron on. Do not iron directly over the print.

Heat fixing times and temperatures vary. However, a guide is as follows:

Cotton, calico, linen, rayon - 4-5 mins at 140-180°C

Synthetics, nylon, polyester, tetron, acrylic - 5-8 mins at 115-130°C. .

Important projects warrant testing to determine maximum temperature to make image fast and avoid scorching. Test by heat-fixing a test strip and washing in a heavy duty cycle.

Lukas Linol Printing Ink
Lukas Linol Lino Printing Inks are a versatile, water dilutable ink that can be used oneverything from linoleum, wood, material prints, glass, paper, and more. A highquality, water based, and water dilutable printing ink, Lukas Linol Inks remain wet onglass or linoleum for an elongated working time with a Lino roller for better results. Available in 12 opaque colors

Perfect For:

  • Printmaking
  • Linoleum, wood, plexi, glass, or paper
  • Easy clean up

Key Features:

  • Colors are intermixable and odorless
  • Quick drying and smudge-proof when used on paper
Maries Engraving Colour

Ink for Lino Printing, Block Printing, Engraving, Stamping, painting and more.

Product features: 

1. This product is water washable superfine particles, fat ink, moderate viscosity. 
2. After use, the tool can be cleaned with clean water, and the effect of the soap is better. 
After the 
3. The image is dry, is not reflective, and has a strong resistance to water. 
4. For typography, concave plate, etc., not suitable for hole plate, plate. 

Gamblin Relief Inks

Gamblin Relief Inks are formulated for all relief techniques, including woodblock, linocut, monotype, and Solarplate. They contain the right amount of stiffness and tack to hold fine detail yet spread evenly on the block or plate. The palette of ten colors is designed to give artists intense pure pigmented colors straight from the jar, along with a wide range of color mixing capabilities. Monotype printmaking, the most painterly of printmaking techniques, is very popular. While most painters and printmakers working in this process learn how to make any kind of ink work, the viscosity of Gamblin Relief Inks makes them ideal for monotype printing processes.

Gamblin Relief Inks are all bound in the highest quality Burnt Plate Oil.

MONOTYPE The Painterly Print

Monotype has its own unique form of expression and certain types of marks and imagery can only be achieved using the monotype process. Monotype is the most painterly method among the printmaking techniques and is often called “the painterly print” or the “printer’s painting.”

Rolling out Color for Printing

Gamblin Relief Inks are designed to suit the specific requirements needed for monotype printing. Their unique softer body and high pigment load allow them to be rolled out in thinner applications with greater color intensity,

particularly as you print multiple layers of color.

You can also mix Gamblin Relief ink with Gamblin Artist Grade Oils to create an even wider range of color. When mixing oil paint with relief ink, it may be necessary to add plate oil and/or tack reducer as the oil paint and ink have different viscosities. If you decide to use paint directly from the tube, we suggest that you mix the oil paint with Gamblin Burnt Plate Oil #000, to lower the viscosity and improve the printing capabilities of the paint. Burnt plate oils are raw linseed oils that have been heated to change their molecular structure so that the oil does not affect the permanence of the paper fibers. Do not use Linseed Oil to thin oil paint, as the Linseed Oil will adversely affect the paper fibers over time.


The viscosity of an ink refers to its flow characteristics. If an ink has a high viscosity, it will be too stiff to transfer from the printing element to the paper. An ink with extremely low viscosity will be too thin and may be difficult to control because it flows too easily. High viscosity inks can be “thinned” by adding either Gamblin’s Gamsol or Burnt Plate Oil #000. Low viscosity inks can “thickened” by adding magnesium carbonate.


Ink “tack” is the stickiness of an ink, similar to what you would feel if you try to pull your fingers apart with ink between them.

If you notice that the ink is ripping the paper during printing or perhaps not transferring very well from the printing element to the paper, then the ink is too tacky. Add Gamblin Tack Reducer to make the ink less sticky and better able to transfer to paper.

Printing the Image

If you do not have access to a press, printing by hand can have its advantages. Lay a sheet of paper on top of the printing element. Rub a barren, or similar tool such as a flat wooden spoon, on the back of the paper. This style of printing allows for thicker ink applications and selective printing pressure.


There are two types of printmaking papers usually used in monotype: sized and unsized. Sizing is a material, usually a starch, that is added to paper to regulate how that paper absorbs moisture.

Sized printmaking papers usually contain more sizing inside and less on the surface. In order for the paper to print properly, the paper fibers will need to be softened. This is usually done by soaking the paper in water and then blotting, prior to printing. Examples of printmaking papers that contain sizing are Rives BFK, Arches Cover, Fabriano Tiepolo, Magnani Pescia, Somerset, Stonehenge. An example of a printmaking paper that does not contain sizing is Arches 88. This paper must be printed when dry and should never get wet.

Creating the Image


Mark-making in monotype is vast and exciting. Any tool that can be used to apply or manipulate ink can produce an interesting effect. The tools used will reflect the two basic approaches to drawing for monotype: Additive or Reductive.

Applying materials directly to the printing element is called an Additive Approach. Ink can be applied in a painterly fashion with a myriad of tools. This is known as working into a “light field” because your direct mark making creates the positive image. When working in the Additive Method, stiff brushes such as hog-bristle and brayers can all be used to apply ink or paint to the printing surface.

The Reductive Approach is essentially the opposite. Known as working from a “dark field”, ink is first applied to the printing element and then removed to create the image. A soft rubber brayer is best for even distributions of ink. Shop rags, Q-tips, stiff-bristled brushes, and silicone wedges are all great for moving ink.

The mark-making possibilities are endless! Somewhere as unexpected as the kitchen cabinet can yield compelling textures and patterns.

Gamblin Etching Inks

Gamblin Etching Inks were formulated at the request of professional printmakers in the Pacific Northwest who wanted strong reliable inks for edition printing. The palette of pure intense pigments offers a broad range of color mixing potential.

Five black inks and Graphite were formulated to meet the demands of printmakers who want deep rich black inks with good working characteristics. Portland Black and Portland Cool Black are ideal for edition printing; both offer a strong line and medium plate tone. For engravers, printers of mezzotints, or others who need more resistance from their ink, Portland Stiff Black is also available. To read more about selecting the Black ink most suited to your printmaking process, read our latest newsletter here.

Gamblin Etching Inks are all bound in the highest quality Burnt Plate Oil.

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