Useful information and other stuff.
Can more than one color be printed at the same time?
No. Letterpress printing requires the user to print one color at a time from a separate printing plate per color. That means if you want three colors, say red, yellow and blue, then you will need to have a plate for each color for a total of three printing plates.
What is the difference between emboss and deboss?
Both emboss and deboss mean that an impression is being made into a piece of paper. When a piece of paper is embossed it appears raised from the surface of the paper. When a piece of paper is debossed it appears pressed down into the surface of the paper. Debossing is the most common form of impression in letterpress.
Can ink be glossy? Metallic?
Letterpress inks tend to have more of a matte finish. The two most popular ink types are rubber based and oil based. Rubber based inks are more matte and richer in color. Oil based inks are considered to dry somewhat glossy but even still, they tend to look matte. There are metallic inks but they are only offered as oil based inks. They do have some sheen to them but will not be as metallic looking as a screenprint ink.
How do you match the colors I have chosen in my design?
We use the Pantone system. This system is number coded and by using the codes in a Pantone book we can match your colors and mix the correct formula of inks to acheive the color you are looking for. Sounds very scientific! Colors can vary slightly depending on the color paper.
What is a blind or tonal impression?
These are two different printing methods that can create very interesting effects on the paper. A blind impression happens when the printer "prints" from a printing plate or form without any ink. This means that the bare printing surface is pressing into the paper and the deeper the impression, the easier it is to see the text or image. A tonal impression is similar except that the printer will mix an ink color that is very close to that of the paper, giving it the illusion of looking slightly darker. This method allows for the impression to be seen a bit better than a blind impression.
What kind of paper can be used in letterpress printing? Does it have to be thick?
The best types of paper for letterpress are generally made of cotton rag, rather than from trees. This type of paper has a rich surface that can be textured, smooth and takes impressions well. This type of paper is also very absorbant, which is great for aiding in drying the inks. Paper like this is always uncoated, which is ideal for letterpress. The thickness of the paper can vary. It is possible to print on thin paper as well as very thick papers. The thicker the paper, the deeper the impression can be.
Coated or uncoated paper?
Uncoated paper is the best for letterpress paper. While it is possible to print on coated stock, it is unlikely that the quality will be great. As coated stock is coated with a polymer or other type of compound, most inks will either take a very long time to dry or may never dry. Stick to uncoated!
What is a printing matrix?
This refers to the surface from which the print is made. In letterpress, that could be a polymer or magnesium printing plate. In relief, that could be a woodblock or a linoleum block.
What does 'relief' mean?
Relief refers to the raised surface of a flat (in this case) board such as wood or linolium. The flat surface holds the ink and the lower areas (what has been carved away) stays clear of ink. When printed on paper, the carved areas show up as the color of the paper.
How long does it take to make a relief print?
That really depends on the size of the print, the detail of the image and whether or not it will be one or more colors. If we are talking about a one color fairly simple line drawing that is 5x7 inches, that could be carved and printed in a day. The more complicated the project, the more time it will take.
How many colors can be used?
Relief printing can involve as many colors as one wants. The more colors that are added, the more time it takes to carve the blocks and print them. Printers can get magical by overprinting certain colors, creating new colors. This is a great way to add colors without adding more printing blocks.
How many prints can I have?
That all depends on how big you want the edition to be. I can print as many as you want, within reason. 100 or less is common.
Edition? What is that?
An edition is a set number of prints from the same printing block. There can be prints made outside of this edition; these are usually called Artist's Proofs (APs for short). If the edition is a set of 20, then you will know by the fraction in the bottom left of the print. It will look like 2/20 or 16/20. The prints are printed to look as identical as possible, thus creating an edition.
How is this different from letterpress and relief printing?
One of the biggest differences that separates screenprinting from the other printing techniques is that the image is not backwards on the printing form. With letterpress and relief printing, the image or text has to be reversed so that when it comes into contact with paper, it prints the image or text in 'right reading'. With screenprinting, the ink is passed through a screen onto the paper, so the image and text can be 'right reading'. This makes your brain hurt less when creating an image. Screenprinting also allows for large solid areas of color to be printed. If the image was to be a ten by ten inch solid red square, screenprinting would be the way to go.
Can you mix the different printing techniques?
Absolutely, but within reason. Letterpress is limited to the printing area of the press, while screenprints are limited to the size of the screen. Relief is limited by the size of the wood or linoleum block. That said, If the project is planned correctly, all three techniques could be utilized in one print.
How many colors can be used in a screenprint?
Like the other printing techniques I offer, screenprinting works on the basis of one screen, one color. Overprinting can be utilized for more colors, as well as a split fountain or rainbow roll.
What is overprinting?
Overprinting is a technique where the printer prints a color right on top of another color, thus creating a third color. This is a great way to add more colors to a print without adding another printing plate.
Do you shoot in digital or film?
I use both, although I am partial to film. I have a wide range of film cameras; 35mm, medium format and large format. I shoot in both color and black & white films. There are great qualities to both and I would be happy to work with you to decide what is best for your budget and aesthetic.
How do you print photos? How large do you print?
I print on an Epson wide format printer that is capable of producing high quality prints up to 13 x 19 inches.
What is medium format photography?
Medium format refers to the size of the film used. The film is a roll of 120 film that typically creates a 6x4.5, 6x6, 6x7 or 6x9 centimeter image on the film. These have higher resolution and less grain than 35mm film and can be enlarged to much greater sizes without losing quality. The drawback is that while using a 6x6 camera and a standard 120 roll, you will have room for 12 exposures. With 35mm, you can get up to 36 exposures per roll.
What is large format film?
Large format is another type of film size. These are sheets of film rather than rolls. I use a 4x5 inch camera (meaning it makes an image on 4x5 inch sheets of film) but there are even larger cameras out there such as 8x10s, 11x14s, 16x20s and even 20x24s. Like medium format, large format is much higher resolution and even less grain and can be enlarged much greater than medium format.
What types of design services do you offer?
I specialize in graphic, or print design. This can be anything from business cards to logos, wedding invitations to booklets. I design for letterpress printing, relief printing, screenprinting and other graphic needs. I can print most things in house through these methods, as well as through my high quality Epson inkjet printer. Talk to me about your project and I will help you make it happen.
What programs do you use?
I use the Adobe Creative Cloud including Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator, InDesign and Dreamweaver.
How much do you charge for your services?
The best way to get an idea of how much something will cost is to have all your information ready when you contact me. The more details you can give me, the more accurately I can figure out the cost.
Do you use recycled papers?
Yes! I use paper that is made of recycled materials, as well as handmade papers and sustainable papers, such as bamboo or cotton paper.
Are you a Green studio?
Besides using sustainable and recycled paper and envelopes, I reuse old stock for make-ready and proofing. I also recylce everything I can. I use vegetable oil to clean up ink (execpt for my rollers, which I use an as environmentally-friendly solution as I can). Ink is as environmentally-friendly as it will get.
Can I do a press check?
I offer the option for a digital press check, which means that I can proof your project and send you a detailed image. Once you OK it, the project moves forward. Digital press checks are not manditory but you are welcome to request them!
Do you offer custom framing?
I can certainly work with you to find the right frame for your project, however I do not build custom frames. I would be happy to work with you on framing things such as fine art prints and photographs that you have purchased from me. I use several frame types and frame services that offer custom frames. I can then frame your work and ship it to you.
Do you offer any full color printing services?
I can print in full color through my Epson wide format printer. It is possible to do a four color process in screenprinting, but for relief and letterpress, it is better to stick to a few colors.
What equipment do you have at your disposal?
- For letterpress, I have a 1920s Chandler & Price New Style 8x12 platen press and a 23 inch Challenge guillotine paper cutter.
- I print all of my screenprints and relief prints by hand.
- I run Apple computers with up-to-date software.
- I have an Epson wideformat Inkjet printer and an Epson V700 flatbed scanner.
- I have many different cameras from 35mm and medium format to large format and digital. I hand-develop our black & white and color films or send out for bulk development.