Collagraph Print from Mat Board with Akua Inks

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Collagraph Print from Mat Board with Akua Inks

Here is a small Collagraph Print from Mat Board with Akua Inks. I printed this last Sunday as part of a demonstration for my Mastrius group. (Our next session is Sunday, April 9th at 10:00am Pacific Time, and we’re going over gelli plate drawing transfers. Want to join us?)

Rather than building the image up, by adding things to the plate, I’m removing material from the mat board, to create recessed “wells” that will hold printmaking ink.

The inking and wiping and printing of this plate is intaglio (the word is Italian for engraved) style, or printed from the recessed areas. Have you tried this method?

Sealing the mat board collagraph plate after cutting and peeling shapes from the surface of verso.
Printmaking Ink on a sheet of plexiglass
Small felt daubers to apply ink to the collagraph let. You can see how to make felt daubers here.
Inking a collagraph plate with Akua ink using a bristle brush

Akua Inks

My first printmaking experiments were done with traditional, oil-based printmaking inks that required solvents or cooking oil and dish soap to clean up. When I learned about soy bean oil based, water-wash-up Akua inks, they were still a mom-and-pop ink shop, created and sold by Susan Rostow.

Speedball now owns Akua, and I still use their inks in my studio. My favorite things about them are the rich pigment load in each color, the excellent customer service, and the fact that I can leave them out on a sheet of plexiglass (see above photo) for weeks at a time and they won’t skin-over. These inks need absorption to dry, so they stay workable on a sheet of glass or acrylic for a long time.

I use a lot of Akua transparent base with my prints, to create transparency in hue and color, as well as Akua’s MagMix to thicken the inks, and Carborundum paste for more control over adherence on various plate characteristics.

Pulling a collagraph print with two colors (Akua inks) applied to the plate.
After a trip through the press, pulling a collagraph print with five colors of Akua Inks
Three collagraph prints, in slightly different colors, printed with Akua inks, drying in the studio. The plate has been cleaned and is ready for another color. Edition of Four

Collagraph Print Post Roundup

Here are some of the most popular and visited posts on this blog related to making collagraph prints.

Pulling a tiny intaglio style collagraph print of a mother and child, incised from a piece of scrap mat board, and printed on my Takach etching press.

Printmaking as Meditation

I’ve been asked (many times) what attracts me to printmaking. The folks who are curious are usually knit-browed by their perception of steps, sequence, supplies and work to create an edition of prints.

First you have to build the plate, and then you have to ink it, and sometimes you wipe the ink partially away from the uppermost surface of the plate, and then you have to press that to paper and rub the back of the paper into the plate, or run it through a press, and eegads, that sounds like So Much Work.

Making art is a meditation. Creating can be a form of journal-keeping. Working with your hands is a one way to feel accomplished. At the very least, art making on a regular basis is a documentation of the incremental improvements of all of your creative skill sets.

Printmaking is a celebration of a conviction to be with yourself, focused on that zone of sequential rhythm while you make something lovely. Give yourself (gift yourself?) some time to dabble in that.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you in the next post –


P.S. You can subscribe to receive each new post as soon as it’s published by signing up here.

P.P.S. Sktchy is hosting another challenge to paint or draw 30 Faces in 30 Days. If you get more motivated by joining a group project, consider this one.

Splash Spectacles – 5×7 Hand Pulled Collagraph print – available in my Etsy Shop here

Art Quote

Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.

Mary Tyler Moore

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2 thoughts on “Collagraph Print from Mat Board with Akua Inks”

  1. Hello Eleanor, I’ve never used shellac, or tar gel, or semi gloss or matte medium to seal a collagraph plate. The only medium I’ve ever used is the shiniest, most slippery I can find high gloss acrylic sealer made by Liquitex. I know many printmakers in the UK use shellac or “button polish” on their plates, and you can find details about that by searching the net. I always use acrylic high gloss sealer – even over carborundum and other “texture-based” treatments on the plate, so I can control the release of the inks via wiping. That way, even if the texture I’ve added to darken a shape isn’t working out in the resulting print, I have the option to wipe the ink away from the area I initially wanted to print dark. Slippery plate sealer = easy ink release two ways: when transferring ink to the paper (printing), or wiping ink from the plate *before* printing. I hope that makes sense, and I hope your students had a blast making collagraph prints. Thank you for the generous compliments. Belinda

  2. I love your work! I love the colors and the textures and the variation of lights and darks and your subject matter is wonderful.

    I have an issue, and I hope you know the answer. My students are brushing different acrylic mediums onto their collagraphs. Semi gloss, gloss, matte, carborandum paste and tar gel.

    Can shellac be used to seal a collagraph plate such as this? My students already own the shellac and I hope it is the right thing to use.

    Also, do you soak your paper before you print?

    I really hope you can help me. I am taking a risk with my students.

    Thank you so much,
    Eleanor Dickinson
    Little Rock, Arkansas

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