Printmaking: A Complete Guide to Materials & Processes


It was like one of those gift-giving holidays when my mailman arrived with my copy of Printmaking: A Complete Guide to Materials & Processes by Beth Grabowski & Bill Fick published by Prentice Hall. When I  heard about this book several months ago, I figured with two authors of such diverse print talent: this was one to put on the wish list. Since the volume arrived only days ago this is more of a first look, rather than a full blown review.

My first thoughts are as follows: Go Buy This Book! It’s the one you’ve been waiting for!

The rest of the review after the jump.

IMG_7094Clean/Dirty.. who knew that was my problem all along?

It meets all the requirements I’ve been looking for in a handy shop reference both for teaching and my work. It’s comprehensive, the table of contents runs the gamut of all the major print processes, including: Screen Printing, Relief, Intaglio, Collagraph, Lithography, Monoprint, but it also includes chapters on digital processes, mixed media (mainly focusing on using multiple print processes on one image) and a smart chapter on “Practical Matters” that goes over the basics of setting up a shop and current best practices for safety. Even the introduction is an interestingly readable treaty on the value of working in the multiple.

IMG_7095Some snappy illustrations of digital print work by Randy Bolton (left) and Shaurya Kumar (right)

There is a ton of art work through out the book, often in context with the process being discussed in the text. And.. it’s really good work, inspiring even. There are the familiar print legends that we all love to see, but the vast majority of work showcases newer voices in the field. The artists included cover a range of well established print artists, like, Beauvais Lyons, Randy Bolton, Endi Poskovic, Tom Huck, Sean Caulfield, Michael Krueger, Jenny Schmid, Kevin Haas, and Swoon. There are also a large number of more emerging talent, whose work holds up next to the heavy hitters. Surprisingly, the book breaks with print manual tradition and includes many great illustrations from artists whose print work is published by master printers including the likes of Beatriz Milhazes, Carl Fudge, James Sienna and Polly Apfelbaum, to name a few. The bottom line is that this book is full of good looking art, which means that if you are like most people and only actually read the technical writing when you have a problem  you will still have something great to look at for inspiration.

IMG_7096Easy to follow steps that show you how to engrave your own Chinese five RMB note.

By the way, the process descriptions are easy to follow and informative. It seems that Grabowski and Fick  did their homework on the state of the american attention span, their writing and layout doesn’t get bogged down with too much information, is full of informative ‘pop-up video’-style printing tips and clearly understood charts. And if that proves too much, there are great step-by-step photos breaking down the steps into easy to follow.. um, steps.

IMG_7097Some big relief printing and installation by the german artist, Thomas Kilpper.

In addition the authors included ‘Profile’ pages, that include a brief bio and interview with an artist or master printer, photos of their work or them working in their studios.

IMG_7101Jenny Schmid, making it look easy.

In closing, this book rocks.

My only complaint: 60 bucks for a softcover? Prentice Hall must think that we really can print our own money. Buy a copy if you can swing it and/or get your local library to pick up a copy today.

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Categories: Interesting Printmaking, Resources, Reviews

7 Responses to “Printmaking: A Complete Guide to Materials & Processes”

  1. RL Tillman says:

    I have high hopes for this book.

    I haven’t seen it yet, and it may be a while before I’m willing to shell out sixty bucks for yet another printmaking manual. I’ve been so disappointed by a lot of the recent print-related books.

    But I have a lot of respect for Beth G.’s excellent Printshop Handbook. And if Amze vouches for the illustrations… Well, it sounds like a winner.

    Maybe Urban Outfitters should add this to their inventory.

  2. Although we don’t have this book listed online, we sell it including shipping to USA for £20. email me if interested. It’s the same book but a UK publisher, therefore has a different cover. I guess £20 is around $35.

  3. Dan Judge says:

    Thanks for the tip about the UK edition. Found it new for $27. Shipping within the US.

  4. pj says:

    Where can I get this book from off your website?

  5. amze says:

    Hi PJ,
    Actually you can’t get it off this site, however you can purchase it from Amazon or order it through your local book seller.