My reviews are listed below, A-Z by author. Check side bar for links to book reviews covering different techniques. Please feel free to add comments – especially if you disagree with me!
PRINTING BY HAND: A Modern Guide to Printing with Handmade Stamps, Stencils and Silk Screens by LENA CORWIN
Firstly (craft publishers take note), this is a very practical book because it has a spiral binding, and lays flat while you work from it. It is also practical to use in terms of clear step-by-step photography and thorough accompanying text for each technique shown, with demo patterns in varying degrees of complexity to see the best type of design to use with each method. A handy photo chart also demonstrates the different results of the same print technique on different surfaces, to help you achieve best results.
I was afraid this book would be too focused on fabric printing, but this fear was unfounded, and projects include printing onto notebooks and furniture and creating a framed picture, as well as bags, t-shirts and well yes, a wide array of fabric projects, actually. But the techniques are shown to be versatile, which is important.
‘Printing by Hand’ includes tips on having your own custom rubber stamp made as well as carving your own, stencils (my least favourite section), and screen printing. A separate packet of Lena’s own designs and templates is also included for those who don’t feel confident enough to make their own.
Easier to follow than ‘Handmade Prints’ by Anne Desmet and Jim Anderson (if not as wide-ranging) and more varied in style than ‘Lotta Prints’, this is a great book to add to your design collection, with all sorts of possible applications.
HANDMADE PRINTS: An Introduction to Creative Printmaking without a Press by ANNE DESMET & JIM ANDERSON
Absolutely brilliant! Leading up to lino/woodcuts, screenprinting (including building your own screen), stenographs and transfer painting, this book covers a whole heap of additional, more basic techniques that don’t require very much at all, if anything, in terms of specialist equipment. Beginning with papermaking and marbling, chapters cover printing with everyday objects, vegetables, polymer clay, collage etc – LOTS of creative suggestions!
The book is largely text driven. There are illustrations throughout with examples of the results for each technique and one or two mid-process illustrations, but if you prefer a step-by-step guide with photos of each stage of each process, you will, unfortunately, be disappointed. However, the content covers such a wide range of possibilities, it is still a wonderful resource for anyone considering thinking creatively with printmaking.
LOTTA PRINTS: How to Print with Anything, from Potatoes to Linoleum by LOTTA JANSDOTTER
Much more interesting than its bland (sorry) cover suggests, this is actually a fairly funky and practical guide to printmaking. The text gives suggestions for collecting ideas and inspiration as well as how to apply the various techniques which range from potato printing through to transfer paper, from lino printing to screen printing. The technique sections are laid out with step-by-step instructions, but lack of step-by-step photos alongside may be a barrier to some people.
The designs shown are all in a very simple, naive style (stencils are included), so you will have to use your imagination to visualise the techniques when combined with other styles and crafts. It’s also unclear whether the same techniques would be as effective with more complex designs.
The main problem for me is that I think this book is really just aimed at people who wish to emulate Lotta’s own style. For anyone else, you can find a far wider range of print techniques in other books, as well as clearer step-by-step instructions. But it is a nice book.