I print mostly with woodblocks and engraved copper or aluminium plates.

The 2 different processes involved are relief printing and intaglio printing.


Relief Printing (woodcut, linocut etc.)

Blocks are made by cutting away the negative areas of the image. Traditionally a block is required for each colour and printed in turn but I find it is sometimes possible to squeeze several colours on to one block thereby reducing print time. The ink is applied to the surface of the block usually with a roller or dabber and transferred to the paper under pressure (the cutaway parts are therefore left blank)

Intaglio Printing (etching, engraving etc.)

The plates are made by incising the surface by engraving or etching. Ink is applied to the whole surface and then wiped so ink is retained in the incised parts of the plate but leaving the planar surface clean. Paper is made more pliable by dampening and the image is transferred under great pressure through a roller press. 

I use an Albion press with a 19" x 13" platen and a Harrild proofing press. Increasingly I print woodcuts by hand without the use of a press using a small round rubbing pad called a baren. This is for 2 reasons, firstly my woodcuts are often larger than either press will handle and secondly I find I have more control when printing with Japanese papers and more accurate registration on multiple colour prints.

The Harrild press, although designed for relief printing and lighter pressure than is required for intaglio, will print smaller intaglio plates perfectly well.

One of 3 woodblocks for The Drumbeg Road

Copper plate for Flog it