Paul Smith's workshop, Scotland Island Australia. Paul carves a wooden plate.

Unique collograph prints

Colloblock: my collograph printmaking technique explained

I have developed a printing process called colloblock. Colloblock is a combination of collagraph and woodblock printing techniques. It is a hand crafted process. Each work on paper is hand painted, hand carved and hand printed.

Also of interest:

Watch the video: Making a colloblock print: Samoan Skin
Read what artists say about my printing technique 

How colloblock printmaking works

With a combination of gel and impasto mediums, the artist applies a variety of textures onto the surface of a carved wooden plate. These are brushed, scraped or poured onto the plate.

This gel medium represents the artist’s signature or mark, an important process in the art's creation.

Next, using a series of hard or soft rollers, I apply ink to the plate. This is a process called relief printing. I then roll the inked plate and paper through the press. If the image requires it, I wipe back some areas to provide a soft edge or tonal variation.

There can be as many as 80 colours and up to 8 plates for each print.

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Printing stages: from light to dark

There are generally 3 stages of printing, working from the lightest to the darkest colours. With each stage I reduce or carve away the printed areas within each plate. This is known as reduction printing. I destroy the plates on completion, increasing the print's value. All my colloblocks are limited edition prints

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Working with the artist

No two artists work alike and this is a labour intensive, complex technique. It is my responsibility as a master printmaker to develop each edition of prints to the individual needs and requirements of the artist.

It is truly a partnership. Australian artist Arthur Boyd said: “These works are half yours and half mine.” That is why in respect of each other’s abilities we stamp and sign our names at the bottom right hand corner on completion of the edition.

See how I create a colloblock print (video)
Learn about types of prints and printmaking techniques

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Artists interested in colloblock prints

Please send us your enquiry

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