The Natural Collection Through Collagraph Printmaking: Part 2

| 7/23/2018 11:15:00 AM

Four Drying Plates

If you’ve followed along with the idea of collecting from nature in Part 1 of this post, I hope you enjoyed your time spent contemplating the natural world. Now it’s time to affix the bits and pieces of treasures you’ve found onto your plate, and then we can start printing.


First, decide how large you’d like your design to be. Are you making small notecards? Framed art prints? Cut your cardboard to whatever size you desire. Any creases or other protruding parts will most likely appear in your final print, so notice them as you design your plate. Next, lay out your leaves, grasses, etc. onto your plate -- keep in mind that the design will be a mirror image once it’s printed on paper. I affix my materials to the cardboard plate using a paint-on adhesive. Once the materials are pretty well affixed, I brush the adhesive over the entire exposed area of the plate. If stems stick up too much, I’ll staple them to the plate. Leave the plate to dry. This sometimes takes 24 hours, depending on how thick the adhesive is applied.

Single Plate

Paper Choice

Another important material in collagraph printmaking is the choice of paper. There are times that I’ll use watercolor paper, which provides a more feathered look to my paint and allows the paint to bleed a bit. Other times, I’ll want a crisper image. In that case, I’ll choose printmaking paper. It’s fun to experiment with both, as well as other types of paper, using the same plate.

Using a brayer, roll a dab of printmaking ink onto a separate smooth, thick paper. Cover the surface of your brayer entirely. Then roll the brayer all over your plate. You’ll soon find that the thicker materials will take on more paint. That’s okay!

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