5 BEST Intaglio Printmaking Tips of 2023 from Intaglio Editions

As we close down another year, it’s a good time to pause and examined what we’ve learned. Over the years we have come up with some effective ways to increase print quality and efficiency when printing steel-backed, polymer photogravure plates. Here are the Top 5 tips we use all the time when printing your Intaglio Editions polymer plate:

Jon Lybrook at Nils Borch Jensen Studios in 2018 in front of a large Keith Haring print.

Jon Lybrook at Nils Borch Jensen Studios in 2018 in front of a large Keith Haring print.

  1. Use heating pads available from drug stores to warm your plate before applying ink. The same pads can be placed under the glass ink slab. Heating the ink makes it looser and allows it to flow into the pits of the plate better, providing better density and richness. This is especially vital in winter months.
  2. Some projects go on longer than the ink can stay fresh. Weigh your ink when mixing combinations of modifiers and inks to ensure a consistent mixture every time.
  3. Always calender your paper before printing photogravure! This pre-stretches the paper, and allows for more consistent results. It is also necessary when printing multiple plates on the same sheet to prevent overlap.
  4. To secure registration of your plate, lick a clean finger.  Now put three dots of spit from your finger to the middle of the back of the plate. Moisture behind the plate helps prevent the plate from pivoting or sliding during the printing.
  5. Clean your plates using a gentle solvent, like SoySolv2 after use, but avoid over-cleaning or scrubbing polymer photogravure plates.  Cleaning plates too often or roughly will lead to an early loss of fidelity.

Questions?  Contact us for a free consultation!

Jon Lybrook - Printmaker and Publisher, Intaglio Editions LLC

Jon Lybrook – Printmaker and Publisher, Intaglio Editions LLC

Fine Traditional Printmaking in Copenhagen, Denmark

There is nothing like a vacation abroad to open your eyes. Our trip to Copenhagen was no exception. The number of fine printmakers within that city rivals any other city in the world.  Henrik Boergh recommended we visit here after giving us a grand tour of his studio a few miles away.  Our conversation had not prepared me for the magnitude of this operation or the friendliness of the artisans running the place.  It was all at once educational, joyful, and a great connection to the tradition we follow in fine, archival printmaking.

Here are some of the highlights.

We had the pleasure of visiting the Niels Borch Jensen studios in Copenhagen over Thanksgiving (2017)

Having to find the studio by bus in Copenhagen was a grand adventure that required some planning and assistance from the many kind people there.

One of the most jaw-dropping photogravure from polymer plate was just tacked to their entryway bulletin board at Niels Borch Jensen’s studio.  Alas, the photogravure master had left for the day. Next time I will plan my visit better. I would love to learn from him directly more about how he did this!

Mitte gave me a fabulous tour and was most generous with her time and experience. She  has been working at the studio as a professional fine printmaker since 1989!

We looked over a cross section of about 50 years of fine printmaking in the hour plus I visited the studio.

In Master Printer Niels Borch Jensen’s office! This Keith Haring piece was printed at the Copenhagen studio where I was visiting in the 1990s.

Mr. Jensen regularly sends his printmakers to art openings in America, Berlin, and all over the world. Mitte had just returned from an art opening in Atlanta. Thanks for a grand tour!