One of the most common questions I get asked is what tools and materials I use. Below I have made a list of my most used and loved tools and materials, with some (hopefully) useful chat. These opinions are based on my own experience, and are the things I love, I highly recommend testing things out yourself to see what suits you. I am still on the hunt for my favourite recycled paper… It is ultimately up to you to decide what you love using the most, but I hope this is a useful starter.
I buy almost all of my materials through Jackson’s art, Handprinted.co.uk, GreatArt or Amazon. When buying tools and materials I aim for a good balance of quality and price. You will find links throughout this page and in an effort to be completely transparent I have made the below statement about my use of Amazon affiliate links:
‘The Messy Creative is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. This said, the following opinions are based solely on my experience and preferences, written with no regard to the affiliate programs.’
To me, this is a no-brainer: I provide links to make it easier for you, knowing I would honestly shop through these sellers myself, and I can earn a few extra ££ at the same time. Win/win.
For the first 18 months of printmaking I used a Essdee lino-cutter with 10 interchangeable heads for all my prints. I still use this tool often for the larger size gouges. They are a great starting point and are really reasonably priced to get you started.
After reading and debating with new fancy tools, I decided to upgrade my detailing tools to some lovely Pfeil’s. I absolutely love them, they carve like butter, are really nice to hold & use.
I mainly use easy carve rubber blocks… I find they are best for my style and definitely easiest when starting out. I have tried many different ones over the past few years but my favourites are Easy Carve Rubber and the pink Speedy Carve – I do sometimes pick up different types at local craft stores to try out, so much of it is trial and error.
When I did my first ever print course with Dena from Kiwi Print Studio she gave me the advice ‘printing the plate should take as long as the carving’ – inking is so important in the process and you can get so many different effects from inking the lino in different ways.
I have stuck with what I know and use Caligo safe wash inks (Cranfield colours do a really good range) for almost everything, apart from fabric printing when I use Speedball fabric ink. Inking fabric is different to paper so I always suggest buying a specific fabric ink, they dry quicker and set on the fabric much better.
Again, when starting out I used a 10cm Essdee brayer (roller) for EVERYTHING. I have recently upgraded to a soft rubber brayer by Abig from GreatArt and it is glorious! But I still do a lot of my smaller prints using the Essdee rollers, I have varying sizes now which does really help!
I do have a Speedball baren, but if I am completely honest my favourite technique is using the palm of my hands. I find I can feel the lines better. Although, this being said if you are doing a large print run your hands can start smelling of burning… so I do recommend a baren or a wooden spoon.
At the moment I am using a lovely recycled paper from Artway called Flat White. It is made from recycled coffee cups. I love the textures when printing and I love the fact it is recycled. I have never really found posh printing paper I got on with and I like to keep my prints at an affordable price and posh paper is very expensive.
Jackson Art and Handprinted.co.uk have a great range of professional Japanese papers if you did want to splurge.