Relief Printmaking

Step one: Choose image/design

I opted for an image I took during my trip to Seoul, South Korea in 2014 of the amazing Gwanghwamun Palace.  I thought the mountains on the background would create a nice block background to the more intricate things I had planned for the foreground.

Step two: Trace image

I only did a very simple trace of the image, just to get the general shapes and lines I needed. There is surely room to be more precise at this stage however considering I was adding most of my mark making through imagination rather than actual textural stidies I thought it best to leave it.

Step Three: carve out


The carving process was actually quite enjoyable and the tools we used gave just about the right control. Some of my shapes were a little small so had to be simplified, such as the little openings under the roof of the palaces entrance. Over all though I was happy and was excited to see how the different textured would turn out one they had gone through the print press.

Step four: Print


This was my best print of a the two I did, my first one of the two in fact. I think the sky didn’t quite come out as boldly as I had wanted however it gives it a slightly softer feel, more like a cloudy sky and helps keep it not too confusing with all the varying texture as well as the details themselves.


I would probably not carve out the sky so deep, as I said above, in order to get more detail out of the print, although this could have also possibly been improved by adjusting the pressure on the printing press.


In regards to the printing press, one must watch their hands when passing their print through and adjusting the printing press’ pressure. To avoid incidences occurring keep hands clear when turning the press and keep hands, hair or dangling clothing away from the rollers.

Upon talking to my teacher, I realised the foreground grass would have looked better had I varied the length/boldness of the carving. This would have given the composition more depth and a more realistic look however I didn’t think of this when I was carving. On my next try o this method I would be more careful to think about the images perspective.

Some of the shapes I included in the design were slightly too small and detailed to keep in the final piece. In future I will keep the design very simple to avoid losing the core image.

Lastly my final piece of evaluation is also a lesson turned in regards to the printing press. The guard sheets that work as padding must have had a crease in them when I was printing my second print and I subsequently have a crease in the end product. I shall double check the sheets in future as to make sure this won’t happen. The crease isn’t very noticeable in the image below however the effect on the print is. it turned out less detailed and slightly fuzzy where the lines should be white although despite this I did enjoy the coloured version had it gone better.


I found this video to be very interesting .


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