National Print Museum – One Day Colour Print Workshop

Yesterday I had the pleasure to share a whole day with a talented group of people in the National Print Museum for a One Day Colour Print Workshop. Most of the participants were new to printmaking but, oh wow!, they produced such nice works, you wouldn’t believe it! For plates we used perspex, drypoints, and lots of colours, of course. Experimentation was the word of the day!





Ballybough Community Centre – printmaking sessions 2017

Hello All!

I am sharing some of the drypoints produced over three sessions at the fantastic (and award-winning!) Ballybough Community Centre. This is the third year that I collaborate in their extensive cultural programme and I must say that their creativity and enthusiasm are inspiring. With one hour per day and twenty participants of mixed ages and backgrounds, the worked developed covered Dublin scenes and of course… Easter!

Check out what they are up to:

Presentation Warrenmount and The Print Workshop!

Last week I ran a print workshop for 15 students in Presentation Warrenmount secondary school, located in Dublin 8. This is part of a bigger project that included a visit to the National Museum where they got inspiration to develop works in different techniques and explore a range of materials. The works will be part of an exhibition in Irish Museum of Modern Art later in the year.

During our morning together their task was to learn more about intaglio processes, prepare a drawing, create a plate using drypoint, and finally… printing it using chine collé and roll-up techniques. The results were really interesting and I very much look forward to see them on display in the museum.






Picture Book and Illustration Courses 2016: new drypoints

Every year I had the pleasure of working for 4 sessions with the Illustration and Picture Book Courses ran by Adrienne Geoghegan ( Using drypoint as our technique we focused on drawing textures and patterns. Some got their inspiration from photographs, some from their own sketches and some others did it all free hand from scratch. Perspex (or plexi) is a great material to bring to these workshops because is not as intimidating as a copper plate and because it is transparent one can easily trace over lines of an existing picture. The quality of the drypoints is also another important factor to pay attention. Investing on good tools will help your students not only understand how the technique works but will make them also see the possibilities that can be explored individually.

Limerick Printmakers Aquatint Workshop

Last weekend I was in Limerick Printmakers running a one day aquatint workshop.  It was a busy day where we focused on testing  the possibilities of the medium exploring it with sugar lift,  spit bite, lithographic crayon and soap ground. The results were interesting and show many ways of creating through intaglio.

Seacourt Print Workshop: new aquatint methods

These are the results of a great day teaching in Seacourt Print Workshop (Co. Down). Special of the day: hairspray aquatint. Many thanks to all in the studio and Robert Peters! To learn more about the use of hairspray please click on the link in the main menu.

Get to see what they are up to:


Printing with Ballybough Community Centre

In the month of May I ran a series of 4 drypoint workshops of 2 hours each in Ballybough Community Centre in Dublin. They don’t have a print studio but the room available for us was more than sufficient to set-up my little etching press and the inks. In fact you don’t need lots of materials to do small format drypoints – it is down to the drawing and how you can facilitate the making of it.  This was my second time working in the centre and just as the first one: fantastic! How wonderful it is to meet a group full enthusiasm to learn something new.


Mokuhankan – Japanese Woodblock Print Workshop in Tokyo

Last month I had the pleasure to attend a traditional print workshop session in Mokuhankan in Asakusa, Tokyo. The workshop is managed by Japanese print expert Dave Bull and counts with a team of master printmakers devoted to the art of woodblock printing. It was a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the process and see some fantastic prints produced in his atelier.

If you ever go to Tokyo I do recommend a visit to this cultural gem: 

Illustration Boot Camp 2015

Busy week teaching and printing but finally some free time to share a little of what we did on Tuesday’s Illustration Boot Camp in the Carmelite Centre – 2 1/2 h workshop where none of the 21 participants had previous experience in printmaking. Techniques: drypoint and chine collé on perspex. All details about the illustration course:

Well done everyone!

Aquatint using Hairspray

I have always been concerned with safer practices in printmaking and this grew stronger since I founded my open – space print studio in 2012. I spent a long time trying to think about a method to recreate aquatint effects on copper plates without using aquatint resin. I researched the alternative aquatint methods available and although those seem effective they presented some type of difficult in terms of consistency, handling or removal. I was looking for a replacement that produced consistent results, good tonal range, it was easy to apply/clean off, had good adherence to the metal plate, and good value for money. It was equally important that my students could use it with some level of independence either during a weekend etching workshop (regardless their level of experience in printmaking) or as part of a continuous practice.

My experiments also took into consideration handling of materials, feasibility of procedures in small spaces, safety (especially in comparison to the resin), and availability of products involved.

sineadfSoap ground by Sinead Fitzgerald

Coming from the principle that in aquatint the acid bites around every single grain of the aquatint resin, I started thinking about ways of creating a grainy-type texture that would be strong enough to resist the action of the ferric chloride.

Hairspray has adhesive properties that I thought could well resist the acid bath at the same time that it can produce tiny dots. It seemed like I had the ideal conditions to go ahead with that. The experiment was successful and since then I have incorporated this technique in my classes.

Every single student is able to understand it, work independently, and achieve excellent results that don’t lose in quality to the aquatint resin. However it does create a different type of grainy texture from the aquatint resin that can be clearly observed in the darker tones. For lighter ones either grainy or flat tones can be achieved depending on application. Dark large flat areas may present a slight tonal variation in some parts.

alice_bentleyTwo plate print: soft ground and aquatint by Alice Bentley

The process allows for reapplication of spray and overlaying of tones. For better and more consistent results use fresh and strong ferric chloride.

I really hope you get to try this one and share the results, questions, observations.

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