Drypoint: Bowman (new video: printing drypoint without a press)

Bowman  10.75 x 8 Drypoint with watercolor
Available in my Etsy Shop

Drypoint Printmaking

I took my first printmaking class in 1983. I bought my first press in 2012. For the three decades in between, I borrowed time on friends’ presses, audited printmaking classes to get access to college presses, scoured ads for used presses, and tried every method suggested to make prints without a press. It’s no surprise then, that so many subscribers to this blog and my youtube channel have asked for tutorials on printmaking without a press.

Drypoint without a Press

I used this drypoint engraving (above) to demonstrate how to print an intaglio style plate without a press. If you’d like to see a video of that process, click here.  But here’s the thing: there’s no secret sauce, no dragon-guarded, confidential method to printing without a press; it just takes time & pressure.

Schedule Some Time

With an etching press, after inking and wiping the plate, I can print this engraving in about 45 seconds… as much time as it takes to run the press bed through the rollers. With my hands, some newsprint and a cereal spoon, I can print the same drypoint, but it might take 45 minutes, and the line work might not be quite as sharp, but it *can* be done. What do you think? Have you printed without a press?

Painting the drypoint with watercolor
Pulling the print in my studio
Engraving the plate on a long flight over the Pacific,
inspired by a late 1940’s photograph taken by my great-uncle Antonio

You can watch a video demonstrating inking and printing this drypoint without a press on my YouTube Channel. (If you don’t see the video window below, you can watch it here.)

Art Quote

If we have plain old ordinary fear, then we are within reach of a solution. Fear has been with humankind for millennia and we do know what to do about it — pray about it, talk about it, feel the fear, and do it anyway. “Artistic” fear, on the other hand, sounds somehow nastier and more virulent, like it just might not yield to ordinary solutions — and yet it does, the moment we become humble enough to try ordinary solutions.
Julia Cameron

, ,

3 Responses to Drypoint: Bowman (new video: printing drypoint without a press)

  1. Belinda Del Pesco November 18, 2014 at 7:15 am #

    @nancy, thanks for your compliments. In my opinion, a press does result in a sharper, more saturated print, but you *can* transfer a drypoint by hand, if you’re slow and deliberate in the process. I’m glad you liked the video. 🙂

  2. Barbara Muir November 16, 2014 at 9:09 pm #

    Love this, and the quote. Ordinary solutions. Whatever you use, you create extraordinary art. Your major fan this side of the border knows. Me!

    XOXOXOXOXO Barbara

  3. Nancy Goldman November 15, 2014 at 7:06 am #

    I really love the soft colors you get with your watercolors on your prints. They’re beautiful.

    Thank you for sharing your video. I’ve done wood block prints by hand but always assumed that you needed much more pressure for an engraving.

Write something.... we'll wax poetic about art & making things!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.