Last week I learnt all about Risograph printing in a workshop at Hato Press, in East London.
I've been meaning to learn more about this form of printing for so long, as I love the texture and immediacy of Riso prints. Much like screen printing, Riso printing is basically a form of spot printing - the machine creates a 'master', which is like a primed screen, and then ink is passed through this to create the image. The riso printer can print 2 colours in one process and the master only takes roughly 15 seconds to create. It is a very reliable, low energy, economical way of printing, which can achieve quite interesting results.
For the workshop we were making 2 colour prints. As the machine registers colour in grayscale, and prints the different colours on different 'layers' - we used paper and tracing paper to see the layers together and create the image.
I used collage (of course) and some texture with colouring pencils to create my image. It was a bit of an experiment, as I didn't know how dark the final colours would come out. As with screen printing - black means the full colour comes through and lighter shades of grey mean less of the colour will transfer.
I was amazed at the speed of the printer. After creating the masters, there are buttons to adjust the registration of the colours. As the master is effectively printed on a thin film (sort of like tracing paper) it is impossible to get a perfect registration every time. I quite like this, however as I think it adds to a more unique looking print, and further distinguishes the process from digital printing.
So here is one of my final prints. The plant pot didn't come out quite as dark as I'd have liked and melt in to the shadow a bit, plus I'd planned to overlap the colours to create another tone, however the green was quite strong so this wasn't visible on the final print.
Now I have a much better understanding of the process I hope to create a few more successful prints in future! If you've ever thought of giving riso printing a go I'd recommend it. And check out Hato Press and their workshops to learn more!