I took part in an introduction to Risograph printing workshop at Out of the Blueprint (a social enterprise offering print services to the local community) in Leith, Edinburgh on Saturday 13th July 2022.
I made a series of 2-colour A3 riso prints (2 separations), using red ink + black ink printed onto assorted coloured and plain papers (uncoated paper stock).
The workshop was a useful exercise in simplifying my ideas and having to make something within a set timeframe. I made a sugar paper mask based on the letterforms of some typography I had previously drawn freehand in pencil. The style was inspired by blackletter type often seen in the visual vernacular of alternative music and felt like a fitting choice to represent a venue that was known for championing alternative music.
I also created a background texture using Chinese ink and a wide, dry paintbrush, in addition to some hand drawn lettering that reads “Let the music live!” and some glyphs I sourced from a type specimen book. The final elements that I incorporated into my print were two hand-drawn illustrations, of an electric guitar and a bass guitar respectively, to add a visual cue that directly linked the design to (loud/live) music.
Riso is a technique I had not previously tried so it was good to experiment with a new method of printmaking. I found it comparable to silk screen printing, but much quicker and less messy. As the riso machine had two drums/cartridges, it was possible to do the 2-colour print simultaneously.
The limited colour palette was very effective/actually worked really well and the particular translucency of the riso ink created some interesting effects when the two colour separations overlapped.
Due to the fact that it uses master screens which initially need to get inked up, each resulting print is completely unique as the amount of ink per print varies, lending them a “crafted” feel which adds to its character. I was really pleased with the results of my printmaking session and they definitely have a DIY quality that echoes the values of punk. The fact that risography is a very eco-conscious and sustainable printing method also appealed to me, as the inks are made from the waste products of rice production.
My intention is to fold up the selected poster(s) and insert it into the 7” record sleeve. Alongside this will be an accompanying mini handmade zine inspired by memories of nights at Studio 24.
The prints I created are essentially prototypes but gave me a clear sense of what’s possible and given more time I could create a limited edition series of posters from a small print run. Apart from the initial set-up cost, it could be relatively economical to produce a run of around 50-100 posters.