Relief Printing: 3 Tips for Successful Printmaking

Update: All of the 2016 Art Lessons are now available in this compilation (click here)! 

We’re starting off 2016 right with more mixed-media inspiration and advice for you. One of your favorite monthly resources is now available for download: the first of the Cloth Paper Scissors 2016 Art Lessons! This January Art Lesson features Lynn Krawczyk and her step-by-step technique for reduction printing. (Stay tuned–Lynn will be back soon with more Art Lessons for February and March.) The theme for this year is The Extra Touch, and additional topics from other artists include altered photos, adding books to collage, and working with fiber paste. I hope you’re ready to bring on the mixed media!

Printmaking Techniques |


Reduction Printing:
A Printmaking Technique

by Lynn Krawczyk

I am obsessed with printmaking. I’d say it’s a hobby, but my studio is filled with supplies for printmaking and I have a lifetime of sketches for new printmaking projects. I especially like printing techniques that allow me to make prints with multiple colors. Reduction printing is one of those techniques. Each layer is printed by carving away more of the design, allowing you to lay down multiple colors and produce a one-of-a-kind print.

Since we’re basically destroying the printing block as we work, there is a precious quality to this type of print. Even if you print each layer 100 times to create an edition, once you have printed the last layer that exact print can never be reproduced again.

It’s one of the reasons I love this printmaking method so much–it holds a magical touch that I’m sure you’ll find intriguing.

3 Printmaking Tips
• Do a practice print first to insure a successful print.
• Write “top” on the back of the printing block so you orient the block correctly every time you print.
• Always carve away from yourself for safety, and make test prints as you carve to make sure the design is as you want it. ~Lynn

In this Art Lesson, titled Reduction Printing Diptych, you’ll find a complete materials list, and steps for planning the print, preparing the base, and carving the printmaking block. Included in this download is an exclusive video featuring Lynn in action. For only $3.99, you can add another printmaking technique to your repertoire with Lynn and Cloth Paper Scissors to guide you.

Stay obsessed with art,


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Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques, Printmaking


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