Printmaking class – collograph

I’m continuing to get enormous pleasure from this class and learn lots of new technique including…


I recently visited an exhibition of Norman Ackroyd’s wonderfully atmospheric etchings of the coastline around the British Isles at The North House Gallery in Mann
. Previously I’d seen just one or two of his prints in the Royal Academy so an exhibition featuring a large number of his works was a real treat. They feature great, solid statuesque rocks surrounded by swirling sea birds, crashing waves and enormous dollops of weather. I’m fond of the West Coast of Ireland so I was particularly drawn to his views of The Skelligs.

I came away feeling inspired and decided to have a go at creating a collograph featuring rocks and seabirds and a choppy sea. Believe me I soon discovered how difficult it is to create atmosphere in the way that Ackroyd does – especially using a medium that I’ve never tried before. The materials I used for my plate included paper and card, sandpaper, and skrim fabric. I also cut into the board using a Stanley knife and made marks using a biro.

My prints tended to be either too inky, losing the detail or too faint. I left just one exactly as it came off the press and then let go with inks and bleach on the rest. It was a productive experiment. I may not have achieved the perfect print but I learnt a a lot about the process and discovered that it is possible to entirely change a ‘failed’ print into something else. I’m keen to do more collograph printing as I’ve go quite a few ideas to work on now.


Choppy seas – touched up with ink using bamboo pen


Experiment with overpainting strong print with vivid colours. Good textural detail on the rocks and foreground emerged.


Lighter print overpainted with inks and then bleached in parts – the most successful of my experiments


Heavily inked print lightly painted.


Choppy seas; my collograph as it came off the printing press.


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