Monday 12 May 2014

Book Review: Simple Printmaking

Today I'm reviewing Simple Printmaking by Elizabeth Harbour.


It's part of the "Creative Makers" series that also includes Simple Sewing, Simple Crochet and Simple Knitting. I've enjoyed the books to varying degrees, but they're all equally lovely things to look at - nice hardbacks, yummy matte paper, great photography and charming design details.  


Simple Printmaking is the strongest in the series so far, I think, and it's also my favourite of the printmaking books I've reviewed. Elizabeth's skills, experience and passion for her work leaps off the page and the book seems really comprehensive with lots of detailed information about each technique and helpful hints and tips throughout.

It's also a beautiful book...

... and the featured designs are all quite gorgeous. I especially loved this cat cushion!


After a short introduction and a guide to some "printmaking basics" come 31 projects, divided by printing type: mono-printing, stencil-printing, relief-printing, screen-printing and lithography.


Elizabeth introduces a technique (e.g. creating a jelly-printing surface, using a lino cutting tool, preparing your screen) then takes us through step by step projects that make use of that technique but also teach different printing methods along the way. For example, she introduces simple marbling then you can make butterfly cards with basic marbling and decorative paper with combed marbling.

All the projects have step by step instructions and some illustrations too. The difficulty level of each project is marked with cute little printers blocks.

Elizabeth includes detailed information about the materials, techniques and processes and has also thought about the costs of printing and how to make techniques accessible. She writes writes about the appeal of each process and project with the passion of an artist, which makes the book enjoyable to read and also rather inspiring.

The projects themselves are very varied, including printing cards, a scarf, cushions, bags...


... pictures, a table runner, wrapping paper, a lampshade and even china bowls.

All the designs are charming and templates for all of them are included in the book. Many of these do need enlarging but there are lots of them and there definitely isn't that feeling that full-size templates could have been squeezed in if they'd only bothered to make it a priority... this book is so jam-packed that many of the templates are printed on the inside covers and endpapers!

In case you hadn't guessed by now, I love this book and I'd really recommend it if you're interested in exploring the world of printmaking.  

Simple Printmaking is published by Mitchell Beazley. RRP £16.99. It's available from Amazon UK, The Book Depository and many other bookshops. A paperback edition published by Stackpole Books is available from Amazon USA & The Book Depository.

Please note: I was sent a free review copy of this book. The Amazon & Book Depository links in this post are affiliate links.


Manu said...

Oh, that bag is SO pretty! Looks like an awesome book indeed :-)

Anonymous said...

The cat cushion is gorgeous and the bag very pretty. There are just so many crafts, too many books and so little time. Once upon a time I used to look at craft books and be able to say no. Now they keep calling to me as they are just so full of lovely things. Only thing is, I'm running out of space! This book looks lovely though.

Anonymous said...

OK, now you've got me - I need to know, what on earth is a jelly-printing surface, and can you eat it afterwards?

Bugs and Fishes said...

Manu - there are so many pretty projects in here it was hard to choose just a couple to include in my post!

Anon - oh yes, always too many things to make and not enough time :)

Stash Avalanche - it turns out to be something you make from gelatine then use as a surface for making mono-prints! Eating it probably wouldn't be a good idea ;)