Relief Printmaking – Collograph

I quote from Susan Yeates’ “Introduction to Printmaking” course, Module 5: 

“Collograph is a simple and very effective form of printmaking that is created by using various types of collage as the plate, that you then take a print from. 

The collage is created by sticking items onto or cutting into a cardboard printing plate that is then sealed, inked and printed. It is a very flexible relief technique that is good for beginners, but can become very advanced if you develop it further and perhaps think about working with a press for picking out fine details and capturing deeper areas of the printing plate. 

It is a great fun and experimental way of creating an image that makes use of the textures of different items contrasted next to each other. You can print more than one collograph from the plate (i.e. produce an edition of prints) and by inking up the plate with different colours or mixing colours on the plate, you can create very differing images from just the one design. 

Collograph is a very inexpensive technique due to the found objects, cardboard, PVA glue, various household bits and pieces for the plate that you use.”

Note that there is a difference between monoprint and collograph in that the former cannot really be printed re than once, unlike collograph that can be printed as an edition.

The Module covered three techniques:

  1. Glue Drawing – a simple way of using PVA or white wood glue to draw onto a plate (thick card such as mount board). Once dry, the plate can be printed in either relief mode, where the ink highlights the raised glue marks, or in intaglio mode, where the plate is fully inked and the ink removed from the glued marks.
  2. Collage – a more complex technique where objects such as string, ribbon, corrugated card, etc. are glued onto the plate and printed in either relief or intaglio mode.
  3. Found Objects – a variation of the collage above where found objects are used. This differs from collage as you print directly from the objects and not gluing them to a plate.

Recommended Reading:

    • Harthill B. and Clarke R. (2015) Printmaking Handbook – Collagraphs & Mixed Media Printmaking”. Published by Bloomsbury. 

Comments & Conclusions

Whilst this might be a good way of getting into printmaking, I did not enjoy this technique. Nevertheless, it was interesting to experience collograph.