The place for original handmade prints and printmaking courses taught by Carol Nunan



Original PrintsWhat is an original print?

At it’s simplest, an original print is defined as a work of art that is conceived by the artist and printed by hand, by the artist. The emphasis is on the fact that the print is produced BY HAND, not by any mechanised or digital process (although it can contain digital elements in the making of the print). An original print is NOT a reproduction.

The process

This process can sometimes take many weeks to complete, either because a permanent plate has to be made from which to print, and/or the print is made up of several layers that require time to dry. My main printmaking media are monotype and collagraphs. Monotypes are as unique as a painting with no permanent matrix. Collagraphs on the other hand do require the creation of a permanent matrix on mount board or wood ply or sheet metal. However, because I do not edition my work, each print I take from the plate is also as unique as a painting.


CN203 - Auntie Ursie's EmbroideryWhat is a monotype?

At its simplest a monotype is a hand printed painting. It can be a very ‘painterly’ medium. I use a sheet of Perspex onto which I ‘paint’ oil based inks. I do this by rolling ink over the surface of the plate, painting ink on with a brush, or piece of card or inked up textured materials. Sometimes I create masks with either acetate, paper or natural materials.

The inks have a translucency that create a quality of light difficult to achieve in a painting. I first began to make my floral prints in one pass through my etching press. I inked up a background and then placed separately inked up floral shapes on top of the background which I then printed.

As I developed the technique, I’ve learnt to layer the colour from light to dark to create more interest and depth. More recently I have been pressing plants in the studio to use as masks and stencils. alongside using cloths, cotton buds, sticks and pieces card to wipe ink away as well as add it to the plate.Essentially bringing together years of different learned techniques to create the final print.

The beauty for me, about printmaking is that the learning never stops. There are always new things to try out and experiment with.

CN203 – Auntie Ursie’s Embroidery


Original Prints

Sycamore Gap


The word collagraph comes from the word collage. It is a print taken from a textured collaged plate.

It starts with the section of the substrate. I use mount board, .8mm wood ply or sheet metal depending on the type of base texture I’m looking for. For example, mount board comes with a smooth or slightly textured surface (such as a linen finish), wood ply will print the wood grain, sheet metal is great for combining dry point (scratching fine lines into the surface) and polishing back large areas to white.

A whole host of textured materials can then be applied to the surface of the plate. Examples include, textiles, wood filler, bathroom sealant, PVA, carborundum, textured wall paper, the list is endless. The main criteria in choosing what materials to choose is that they cannot be too thick or there is a danger of damaging the paper or the press blankets.

The plate is then sealed and is ready to apply the ink. I use brushes to work the ink into the plate with inks mixed with linseed gel to make it easier to work with. The excess ink is wiped off leaving only the ink in the grooves of the plate. I may then add contrasting or complementary colours to the relief surfaces with a roller or a padded cloth or combination of the two.

A heavy weight damp sheet of paper is laid over the top of the plate which are then passed through the etching press to mould the paper around the plate and lift the ink out of the grooves when the paper is lifted off to reveal the print