What is a Glue Collagraph?
A glue collagraph is a printmaking plate made from a stiff background with a printable design applied with glue.
Traditional collagraphs are often built with papers, fabric, thread or organic embellishments adhered on the plate. Sometimes a collagraph plate is also carved or incised to create recessed areas.
All of these treatments on a collagraph plate are in the interest of getting lovely patterns and shapes after the adhered items are inked and then printed against paper.
The collagraph in the image above was made with a mat board (sometimes called mount board) plate, and drizzled glue left to harden as raised line work to hold ink. This is a simple, straight-forward – and quite painterly approach to collagraph printing – as there is no carving or cutting involved. Read on to learn more….
How Do you Make a Glue Collagraph?
The suggested figure in the hat (above) was first sketched lightly in pencil directly on the mat board. Then the plate was sealed as described above. Next, the figure was doodled using a bottle of glue that features a precision tip squeeze bottle – it’s called Scotch 3M glue.
The piles of intaglio printmaking ink (oil based) in the background were used for a whole day of printing other plates, so you wouldn’t need this much for a project and plate this small, and you can use water-based intaglio printmaking inks too.
Note: be sure the intaglio inks you use to print your collagraphs are the type that don’t dry as soon as they’re exposed to air, as many water based inks do. Those inks will dry on your plate before you’ve even printed.
I pulled four glue collagraphs from this plate, using small amounts of printmaking inks.
Inking the Glue Collagraph Plate
Here is the plate above, inked. I used an inexpensive paint brush to apply light shades of yellow, orange and cerulean blue inks to the background. I saved the darkest value of indigo blue ink to “top roll” the raised glue areas with a printmaking brayer.
This darker color on the glue contrast brings the linear elements of the glue-line up from the background colors on the pulled print.
You can see that my brayer touched the background in some areas (hazy blue ink on the yellow background around her hat). But that’s completely fine, because this is a loosey-juicy printmaking method with lots of wiggle room for added media later, as you’ll see below….
Transferring the Ink from the Plate to the Paper
If you’re hand-transferring the image (without a press), I’d recommend two things;
1) keep your glue drawing pretty simple, with very few or no little circle or loop shapes. You won’t be able to get your paper into any “donut hole” raised glue interiors to collect background inks.
And 2) use a lightweight paper, soaked and blotted, like BFK Rives lightweight white paper, which will adhere well to the ink, and it’s thin and flexible enough to curve around the raised glue areas to dip towards the flat surface of the plate and pick up your background colors.
BFK Rives is also tough enough to give you the option of adding other media.
Enhancing Your Collagraph with Colored Pencil
This (above) is what the print looked like before I added colored pencil. There is a variety of media you can add to the print after it’s dry – which is why you don’t have to be too fussy with the inking. Colored pencil, pastel, acrylic and oil all work very well on top of this collagraph art print.
While the ink on your first glue collagraph dries, you can add more ink to the plate and print another collagraph in the same color scheme, or wipe the plate clean and add completely different colors to print it again.
Unfortunately, the plate for this print was stolen at an art exhibit. I packed the plate and supplies to describe/encourage the process to the art festival attendees. While talking with a patron for just a minute, I returned to the demo counter, to find the plate was gone.
Collagraph Video Tutorials
If you like this method of printmaking, and you’re interested in learning more, you can also create a line-style collagraph, like the girl above, using mat board, an exacto knife and carborundum.
And if you want even more collagraph goodness, you can watch the tutorials I’ve posted on my youtube channel here.
Thanks for stopping by to check out this glue collagraph printmaking method. I’ve published another post on this process here.
I’ll see you in the next post!
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One authentic portrait of Leonardo by his own hand exists in a red chalk drawing at the library at Turin. Dating from the last years of his life, it shows the face of a seer, moulded by incessant thought into firm, strongly marked lines.
The eyes lurk deep beneath shaggy brows, the hair and beard are long and straggling – it is the face of a man who has peered into hidden things and who has pondered deeply over what he discerned.
The beard is no longer “curled and well kept,” in the words of a contemporary document, wherein he is described as “of a fine person, well proportioned, full of grace and of a beautiful aspect, wearing a rose-coloured tunic, short to the knee, although long garments were then in use.”
Mr. Berenson has suggested that the youth in armour, who alone among all the figures in Leonardo’s Adoration of the Magi in the Louvre turns away from the scene and looks towards the spectator, is a portrait of Leonardo himself.The Drawings of Leonardo da Vinci by Charles Lewis Hind (1907)