10 Printmaking Tips for Consistently High-Quality Art
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


1. Choose the Right Paper

2. Prepare Your Tools

3. Mix Your Inks

4. Apply Ink Evenly

5. Practice Proper Press Techniques

6. Experiment with Textures

7. Clean Equipment Thoroughly

8. Maintain a Clean Workspace

9. Store Materials Correctly

10. Continue Educating Yourself

Printmaking is a beautiful art form—a craft that allows for a wonderful blend of creativity and precision. But, like any art form, it requires practice, knowledge, and a few insider tips to consistently create high-quality prints. So, if you're looking to elevate your printmaking game, you've landed in the right place. This guide will walk you through 10 practical tips that can help you master the art of printmaking, achieving consistent and high-quality prints every time. Ready to dive in?

1. Choose the Right Paper

Let's start with the foundation of your print—the paper. The type of paper you choose can make a big difference in your print quality. But hold on, it's not as simple as grabbing any sheet from your local art store. You need to consider a few factors:


Heavier paper typically holds ink better—giving you a crisp print. But remember, too heavy and it might be challenging to press.


Smooth paper can provide a clean, detailed print, while textured paper can add an interesting depth to your piece. It's all about what suits your style and the print you're making.


How the paper absorbs the ink is vital. You want a paper that doesn't soak up the ink too quickly, causing it to spread, but is absorbent enough to take in the ink and hold it well.


For the long-lasting art of printmaking, opt for acid-free paper. This will ensure your prints don't yellow or degrade over time.

Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all answer here. Experimenting with different types of paper will help you find what works best for your prints. It's all part of mastering the art of printmaking: tips for achieving consistent and high-quality prints often include trying, failing, and trying again until you find what works best for you.

2. Prepare Your Tools

Alright, now that we've got the paper sorted, let's talk about your tools. Having the right tools—and ensuring they're in good condition—is key to creating high-quality prints consistently. Here's what you should pay attention to:

Carving Tools:

These are your bread and butter in the art of printmaking. Make sure they're sharp—dull tools can lead to rough, uneven lines and potentially damage your printing plate.


When it comes to rollers, quality is key. A good roller will distribute ink evenly across your plate, giving you a smooth, consistent print. On the flip side, a poor-quality roller could result in patchy inking and thus, an uneven print.

Printing Press:

If you're using a printing press, make sure it's calibrated correctly. Too much pressure can cause your paper to pick up ink from unwanted areas, while too little pressure might not transfer enough ink onto your paper.

Other Tools:

Don't forget about the other tools you might need, like ink knives, brayers, and burnishers. Keep them clean and in good condition for the best results.

Remember, your tools are an extension of your hands in the art of printmaking. Tips for achieving consistent and high-quality prints always include taking good care of your tools. With well-prepared tools, you're already halfway there!

3. Mix Your Inks

Now that your tools are ready, let's talk about the fun part: mixing your inks. This is where your print truly comes to life. The right color can make your design pop, while the wrong one can make it disappear. So, here's how you can ace the ink mixing game:

Consistency is Key:

When it comes to the art of printmaking, consistency is as important in your inks as it is in your prints. The thickness of your ink matters. Too thick, and it won't spread evenly; too thin, and it won't adhere to your plate properly.

Color Mixing:

Remember your color wheel from school? Time to put it to use! Understanding color theory can help you mix the perfect shade for your print. Don't be afraid to experiment until you find the right match for your design.

Test Before You Print:

Always test your ink on a scrap piece of paper before you start printing. This will give you an idea of how it will look on your final print. It's better to catch any issues here rather than on your final piece.

Getting the perfect ink mix is a big part of the art of printmaking. Tips for achieving consistent and high-quality prints often include mastering your inks. So take your time, experiment, and remember—every great printmaker was once a beginner messing up their ink mix.

4. Apply Ink Evenly

Once you've got your ink mixed to perfection, the next step in the art of printmaking is applying it. This might sound straightforward, but there's a subtle art to applying ink evenly. Here's how you can do it:

Use the Right Tool:

Did you know the type of tool you use for ink application can make a lot of difference? A roller, also known as a brayer, is your best friend here. It helps distribute the ink evenly across your plate. And remember, not all brayers are created equal. Pick one that suits your plate size and the type of print you're making.

Applying the Ink:

When you're applying the ink, less is more. Start with a small amount of ink on your brayer and roll it out on a mixing surface before applying it to your plate. This helps spread the ink evenly on the brayer and ultimately on your plate. And hey, don't rush it. Take your time to ensure uniform coverage.

Checking Your Work:

Once you've applied the ink, take a moment to examine your plate. Is the coverage even? If not, go back in with your brayer and smooth out any inconsistencies.

Applying ink evenly is integral to the art of printmaking. Tips for achieving consistent and high-quality prints always include this crucial step. And remember, practice makes perfect, so don't get discouraged if you don't get it right the first time.

5. Practice Proper Press Techniques

Alright, you've chosen the perfect paper, prepared your tools, mixed your inks, and applied it evenly. The next puzzle piece in the art of printmaking: mastering the press techniques.

Align Your Paper Correctly:

First things first, you need to align your paper on the press correctly. This can be the difference between a clear, centered print and a messy, off-center one. Here's a tip: mark the center of your press bed. It'll guide you while aligning your paper.

Apply Correct Pressure:

Applying too much pressure can squeeze out the ink, while too little can result in a faint print. The trick here is to find the right balance. Start with a medium pressure setting and adjust according to the detail of your design and the thickness of your paper. Remember, it's always better to start with less pressure—you can always add more, but you can't take it away!

Peel Off Carefully:

After running your plate and paper through the press, it's time for the grand reveal. But hold your horses—peeling off the paper too quickly can smudge your print. Peel it off slowly, keeping the angle low to avoid any mishaps.

The art of printmaking is a delicate dance between preparation and practice. These tips for achieving consistent and high-quality prints will help you master the rhythm of this dance. So, keep practicing, be patient, and soon you'll see the fruits of your labor.

6. Experiment with Textures

Now, let's dive into another layer of depth in the art of printmaking — experimenting with textures. Ever thought about why some prints just pop and catch your eye? It's all about the texture!

Play with Different Materials:

One way to add texture to your prints is by using different materials. You can use anything from bubble wrap to leaves for creating interesting patterns. Just remember, the sky is the limit when it comes to creativity!

Explore with Techniques:

There are various techniques you can use to create texture in your prints. Ever tried intaglio? Or how about collagraphy? Each technique brings with it, its own unique texture. So, don't be shy to try new techniques.

Use Textured Inks:

Did you know that inks can also add texture? Thick inks can create a raised surface on your prints, adding an extra tactile dimension. Experiment with different inks to see what works best for your style.

So, the next time you're working on a print, remember, texture is your friend. Experimenting with it can elevate your prints from good to great. Just keep these tips for achieving consistent and high-quality prints in mind, and you'll be on your way to mastering the art of printmaking.

7. Clean Equipment Thoroughly

Ever heard the saying, "cleanliness is next to godliness"? Well, when it comes to the art of printmaking, this couldn't be more accurate. A clean workspace and equipment are essential for creating consistent and high-quality prints. Let's see why:

Avoid Unwanted Marks:

Imagine this - you've just finished a print that you're super proud of. But then, you notice an odd mark right in the middle. Where did that come from? That, my friend, is the result of unclean equipment. A simple wipe down before you start can save your masterpiece from unexpected surprises.

Keep Your Colors Pure:

Ever mixed a beautiful shade of blue, only to have it turn into a murky mess? Leftover ink on your tools can mix with your fresh ink, changing the color. Regular cleaning helps maintain the integrity of your colors.

Extend the Life of Your Tools:

Let's face it, printmaking tools don't come cheap. And nothing wears them out faster than dried ink. Regular cleaning can significantly extend the life of your tools, saving you money in the long run.

So, always remember to clean your equipment after every printmaking session. It might feel like a chore, but trust me, your prints (and your wallet) will thank you!

8. Maintain a Clean Workspace

Just like cleaning your equipment, keeping your workspace tidy goes a long way in the art of printmaking. It's not just about having a pretty looking studio — a clean workspace can significantly impact the consistency and quality of your prints. Let's break it down:

Stay Organized:

Ever lost a tool in the middle of a printmaking session? Not only is it frustrating, but it can also break your creative flow. Keeping your workspace organized ensures you always know where your tools are, helping you work more efficiently.

Prevent Accidents:

Printmaking involves many tools and materials — inks, plates, paper, and more. Keeping your workspace tidy can prevent unfortunate accidents like knocking over a bottle of ink or damaging your print with a misplaced tool.

Create a Better Working Environment:

Let's not forget, a clean workspace can make you feel better too! It's no secret that a cluttered workspace can lead to a cluttered mind. Keep your workspace clean, and you'll create a more pleasant, stress-free environment to craft your prints.

Remember, a clean workspace is more than just a habit — it's an important part of the art of printmaking for achieving consistent and high-quality prints. So, why not give your workspace a little tidy-up before your next printmaking session? You might be surprised at the difference it makes!

9. Store Materials Correctly

Storing your printmaking materials correctly is a small step that can make a big difference in the quality of your prints. Improper storage can degrade your materials, leading to poor quality prints even if you've got everything else right. Here are some tips to ensure your materials stay in top condition:

Keep Your Paper Dry:

Your printmaking paper is the canvas for your art, so you'll want to keep it in the best condition possible. Store it in a dry, cool place to prevent any moisture damage.

Seal Your Inks Properly:

Printmaking inks can dry out if not stored correctly, and that can impact the quality of your prints. Always tightly seal your ink containers after use and store them in a cool, dark place.

Protect Your Tools:

Tools like your brayers and carving tools are essential for the art of printmaking. Store them properly to prevent any damage. A simple way to do this is by wrapping them in a clean cloth or keeping them in a dedicated storage box.

Remember, proper storage is an often overlooked but key part of the art of printmaking: tips for achieving consistent and high-quality prints often include good storage habits. So, take a few minutes to check your storage methods and see if there's room for improvement. Those few minutes could save you hours of frustration down the line!

10. Continue Educating Yourself

Our last tip for consistently high-quality art in printmaking, but certainly not the least, is continuous learning. The art of printmaking, like any other form of art, is a journey of continuous discovery. There are always new techniques, materials, and styles to learn about. So, how can you keep educating yourself about the art of printmaking: tips for achieving consistent and high-quality prints?

Read Books and Magazines:

There are many printmaking books and magazines out there that are filled with tips, techniques, and inspiration. Look for titles like "The Complete Printmaker" or "Printmaking: A Complete Guide to Materials & Processes".

Attend Workshops and Classes:

One of the best ways to learn is by doing, and workshops and classes offer a hands-on experience. You'll also get to meet and learn from other printmakers, which can be incredibly inspiring.

Watch Online Tutorials:

There's a wealth of knowledge right at your fingertips online. Websites like YouTube and Skillshare have a wide variety of tutorials for all levels of printmakers.

Remember, the more you learn, the better your prints will be. So, keep reading, keep watching, keep practicing, and most importantly, keep making art. The art of printmaking is a journey, and every print you make is a step along the way. Happy printing!

If you're seeking ways to improve the quality of your printmaking, don't miss out on Austin James Jackson's workshop, 'How to Sharpen & Resize Images for Print'. This informative workshop will teach you essential techniques to sharpen and resize your images for consistently high-quality art prints.