5 Easy Printmaking Tips

Pro Tips for Printmaking Beginners

Although Printmaking has been around for hundreds of years now, with famous prints from artists such as Rembrandt, printmaking has recently exploded on popular social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest. We here at Jerry's are all for this explosion of impressions, etching, lithography, and lino carvings, so we thought we'd share some advice from professional printmakers to make getting started in this exciting medium easy for even the most novice printmaker.


1. Work in Reverse

One of the most important things to remember when printmaking from a plate, stone or block is that your printed image will be the reverse of what you carve into your linoleum or printmaking block. To stay away from a finished project with backward words and images, plan everything out before hand with the end goal in mind so that whatever you create or the words you write end up facing the correct direction.

2. Always make sure your ink is tacky before you apply it

When you're getting ready to ink your block, make sure you apply extra ink to your inking plate before you start rolling with your brayer. While rolling, the brayer should be completely covered and the ink should be "tacky enough" that it makes a sticking sound akin to getting your boots stuck in the mud. 

3. Work Light to Dark

If you plan to use multiple colors in your print, it's best to start with the lightest color first, then work in the darker colors. This will help your lighter colors stand out against the darker backgrounds.

4. Selecting the best prints

When printmaking, you should always make an additional 25-50% more prints (copies) than you'd originally like to, just to cover your bases in case of ink covering issues, too light/too dark etc. Lay all your prints out on a table or working surface and then select the best one. This is called your Artist Proof. From there, your series should be the next best one that matches the proof, that is called your number one print. (For instance, if an addition is ten prints, you want to put that best print as 1/10, the next best print as 2/10 and so on. Museums use this notation style all the time to judge famous prints for their price points when considering buying work- the lower the number, the more valuable!)

5. Want to make clean up easy?

If you want to keep your hands clean from any messy ink, the best way to protect your hands is actually by washing them before you even start getting them messy in the first place. By washing your hands thoroughly with a water-soluble lotion, making sure you get your cuticles, fingernails, and all areas of your hand before you start, the inks will slide right off of your hands while you're working. You'll have such an easy clean up when you're done, you'll wonder why art was ever considered messy in the first place.



Paint Your Easter Eggs with Watercolor for Better Results

Create Artistic Easter Eggs with Easy Designs

While dying eggs may be fun, it's far from artistic. However, with watercolors, painting hard boiled eggs can become true works of art!

Using watercolor paints and watercolor pencils, you can now create fantastic designs, patters and scenes easily. It is a great project for kids to share in without the mess of all those messy dyes. 

Materials: Watercolor paints, hardboiled eggs, and a smaller watercolor brush (we've found that Rounds work the best).


Step 1: Lay down a nice background with soft, bright colors on your hardboiled egg. The watercolors should spread on easily, especially if you're painting with Turner Artist Watercolors, SoHo Watercolors or Winsor and Newton Watercolor paints.

Step 2: While your paint is still wet, add in designs with either your watercolor paint or watercolor pencils for especially fine details. If you let the colors drip, you can create a wash and see the colors disperse in neat ways that you can't get with dye.

Step 3: Let them dry and enjoy!

Fun tips:

  • Mix wet paints together to get a fun, marbled look.
  • Dip the eggs in water, and while wet, add watercolors to them to make fun swirls.
  • If using watercolor pencils, be sure to go lightly on them so as not to crack the egg shell. 
  • Find everyday items with irregular textures to remove paint from your eggs (with a watercolor wash) such as crinkled up newspaper or a plastic bag.


Disclaimer: some watercolor paints contain lead and other dangerous to consume materials. So please, do not eat these painted eggs, but feel free to enjoy them for their aesthetic beauty.


Looking for more Easter and Holiday fun? Check out our Home Art Studio DVDs made just for the holidays!


Did You Know- Vincent Van Gogh

Little Known Facts About One of Our Favorite Painters!

Yesterday was Vincent Van Gogh's birthday! And while we know that he is  the father of Post-Impressionism and the painter of such favorite paintings as Starry Night, sunflowers, wheat fields, self portraits and cypress trees, there are still a lot of interesting facts that fall to the wayside. So, for your entertainment, here are some fun and intriguing facts about one of the greatest painters to have ever lived.

Van Gogh was born March 30, 1853 and died July 29, 1890 at the young age of 37.

Van Gogh was born in Holland.

He was supposed to follow his father's footsteps and become a pastor. And while he didn't follow his father, he didn't start painting until he was about 27.

Van Gogh painted his most famous masterpiece, Starry Night, while residing in a mental institution

Vincent only sold one painting during his lifetime.

He painted approximately 900 paintings in only about 10 years, thats amazing!

When he was a child, Vincent had to walk past a tombstone with his own name on it on the way to school- the tombstone belonged to his brother with the same name who died as an infant.

Vincent was good friends with another famous painter, Paul Gauguin

The story of Van Gogh cutting off his own ear may have actually been false as new evidence suggests it was his friend, Paul Gauguin who cut his earlobe off.

Van Gogh has painted over 30 self portraits of himself between 1886 and 1889. Narcissistic much? He should have entered our Self Portrait Contest as he would have surely won.

Vincent was known for eccentrically wearing candles on his hat so that he could paint at night.

Van Gogh used LUKAS oil colors and wrote this to his brother Theo about them in 1885:

"I have ordered colors from Schoenfeld [LUKAS] in Düsseldorf, as there were some colors which I couldn´t get here…the picture with the potato eaters is not good in some details…I should have had a better result with the mineral blue that I have now [from LUKAS], instead of the old one."

- Vincent van Gogh


Jerry's Artarama carries many products under the Van Gogh name including:

One of the strangest things about Van Gogh's supposed suicide is that he might have been in fact, murdered. It is now thought and speculated that a local teen bully may have murdered him. Evidence points out that no gun was found where he was shot, his hands showed no signs of gun burns, and because he would have been unable to hold the gun close enough to his body to shoot himself. However, the verdict is still out. 

To learn more about Vincent Van Gogh, check out The Post Impressionists: Vincent Van Gogh DVD.


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