Printing Without A Press: Part Two

When we were making our printing block last month, we were taking off material to make a texture that would print onto a piece of paper, but of for this month’s printing technique, the collagraph, we’ll be adding texture onto the printing plate to make the printing surface. The results can be very unpredictable with a slightly edgier look than the linoleum print, but that’s also the beauty of the medium. I could see this technique used on a Zombie or Vampire comic book.

I made my printing plate from a piece of card stock and I glued more cardstock on top and also added some Liquitex Acrylic Texture Gel. You can use whatever textures you feel will look interesting on your print, but keep in mind that you don’t want any area of the plate to be much higher than any other part of the plate. If you are adding a lot of heavy-duty textures, I suggest that you use a piece of chipboard or even Masonite for your plate. Don’t forget that everything prints in mirror image, so any text you have will need to be done in reverse.

When I finished, I covered the entire plate with a layer of acrylic gloss medium to seal things up and to make sure that all parts were secured to the plate. I let it dry over night and the next day I did a rubbing of my plate with a graphite stick just to make sure every thing looked like it will print. If an element of your design isn’t showing up, you either need to make that part of the plate higher or shave off some of the texture around the part in question.



We’ll set up our printing station just like we did last time only now we’ll add a damp rag to the list of things needed to print the collagraph. You also may want to make sure you’re located near a sink or at least have a spray bottle handy.

Get your paper slightly damp — either with a quick run under the sink or with a spray bottle. Be sure you’re using water soluble ink on this project, because we all know that oil and water don’t mix!

Ink up the plate with the brayer and then use the damp rag to wipe the plate. Don’t wipe off too much ink or you won’t have anything to print. I did a general wipe and then worked over the areas with text so they’d be crisp in the print.

Move your plate to a clean part of the table and place your paper or card stock on top. The damp paper will take up most of the ink, but you may want to rub in a few areas like the text area or other fine detail with a metal spoon. Don’t rub too much or the dampened paper will rip. You can carefully peal back a corner of the print to see if everything printed properly, but if you put it back down don’t move the paper or you’ll have a smeared image.



You can also print without the cloth and the damp paper. It looks a bit like this:



For my purposes I’m going to stick with the wet method, because I like the softer look it gives to the print. It’s a matter of preference, though so experiment with both.

Here is just one more way to add a little class and hand made feel to your mini comic to set it apart from all the rest.

Xaviar Xerexes

Wandering webcomic ronin. Created Comixpedia (2002-2005) and ComixTalk (2006-2012; 2016-?). Made a lot of unfinished comics and novels.