Joan Higgins


I spent some time on this course doing monoprints (photos 1 and 2) and the main learning, from my point of view, was how little ink was needed for a good effect. It was very easy to over-ink the plate. I used a fine point biro for the drawings and thought it produced quite a crisp image. I like the lines which monoprints can create and I enjoyed the pen and ink work we did in the sketchbook sessions before Christmas. I am doing some drypoint etchings in my other printmaking class and enjoy making those lines too (photos 3 and 4).

Click on first image to view slideshow


Here are a couple of photos of the woodcuts I tried. The first one (photo 5) was based on a drawing of the fruit/seed of the plane trees which we saw in Lincoln’s Inn Gardens on our sketching day. I found the wood easier to cut than the lino, although it had a tendency to splinter when doing fine lines. I thought one of the benefits of the wood blocks was that they could be washed and reused more easily than the lino (which tended to curl). In order to see how much to cut, I did rubbings of the blocks (with black pastel and newsprint) as I went along. This saves inking and printing the block each time you want to see where to cut next.

As you can see, I have had a bit of a ‘fish theme’ going on (photos 6 and 7)! Here is my woodblock print alongside an etching with aquatint which I did recently!

Click on first image to view slideshow


I did a few reduction linocuts in these sessions (photo 8). They were based on the figs which we were drawing in one of Tony’s classes. They weren’t as effective as they might have been because the two colours weren’t sufficiently different and the two sets of cuts I made were also too close together. A learning point for next time!

Finally, I found that printing on newsprint rather than cartridge paper was quite satisfying. It is pretty fragile, of course, but I thought it gave a more immediate effect and was very good for proofing.

Thanks to Olivia for putting together our thoughts and experiences. It is great to see what others have picked up from this course.

And, by the way, I set up a website at the end of last year to share some ideas about the printmaking I have been doing on other courses. If you are interested it is

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