Printmaking with OCA | The Open College of the Arts
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Printmaking with OCA

Printmaking is a hugely versatile medium that transcends more than one discipline. With OCA it can be studied within a number of degrees including, Fine Art, Creative Arts, Visual Communication, Photography, Illustration, Painting and Drawing.

Printmaking has a pedigree stemming from its early roots as a reproductive process in seventh century China to its vital role in political and social commentary. Throughout its truly global development, artists have turned to printmaking for multiple reasons including – political satire, social engagement, the multiple distribution of images and more recently for its formal, conceptual and aesthetic values. It’s a hugely diverse subject that encompasses everything from the simple monoprint made easily on a tabletop, to the giant stencilled guerrilla graphics of graffiti artists such as Banksy, Alexia Tala and Jan Hendrix.

Printmaking has expanded beyond its traditional categories including, Intaglio, relief, silkscreen and lithography to incorporate the digital, installation, sculpture and photography. Prints can be the traditional editioned etched and engraved but also the democratic billboard and badge. Prints can be made on a building or wall as well as archival paper. The possibilities are endless, vibrant, dynamic and challenging.

The process can be routed in drawing, appropriating images that already exist, digital manipulations, text and letterpress, traditional processes and the expanded field that crosses over into so many disciplines. 

OCA introduces students to the possibilities of Printmaking specially designed to be developed at home. Printmaking 1 and 2 leads students through a series of thematic assignments that explore the singular monoprint, the world of relief and into the expanded field.

The ambitious and expressive Printmaking images by OCA students below demonstrate the diversity of response to the exciting courses that enable students to explore both context and ideas within the processes of printmaking.


Ramona Mason’s prints combine linocut and monoprint. Her work titled a Pattern for Tomorrow explores themes around global warming and climate.

She writes I was drawn to post war design of the 50′s and 60′s specifically of the Atomic Age of design/ Post war/ Contemporary Modern. Artists during this time were inspired by the hopeful ideals surrounding the scientific tomorrow, molecules, atoms, and the prospect of a better future. The design is instantly recognisable with atomic motifs and space age symbols. The furniture, textiles and architecture are playful and reflect the hope of a generation who had lived through the war and were looking forward to the future. New materials such as plastics allowed for cheaper mass production in a wider range of colours that hadn’t been seen before’

Hugh Hadfield’s prints combine drypoint and woodcut 

Hugh writes, ‘The prints are built on two layers. A background layer consisting of an image for a news story that was current at the point the prints were being made using news imagery as reference. The foreground layer is the image of a child’s doll, with open welcoming arms and vacuous fixed grin; this is a metaphor for how we view, ignore, use, or dismiss this information’

Alessandra Alexandroff’s prints combine monoprint, lino and wood cut.

Alessandra writes, ‘My intention was to create a set of monoprints using a combination of a linocut of blackthorn and monoprinted backgrounds.  Geometric areas of colour would represent the boundaries within the landscape: field, hedge, hanging wood, fencing, river.  I wanted to impose symmetry on these compositions to express the ways in which hedge construction is a manipulation of the landscape imposed by man for his own ends:  protection, shelter, enclosure, containment and ownership. Within is “home”. Outside is wildness’.

Great examples of OCA student’s work within Printmaking 

Steve Meyfroidt reduction lino prints

Lami Mulvey lino cut 

Lami Mulvey monoprint

Paraig O’Driscoll Lino cut

Annette Bruton Collagraph

Annette Bruton experimental print

Anna Barnard lino cut

Anna Barnard monoprint

Trine Wade experimental prints with collage

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Posted by author: Michelle Keegan
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5 thoughts on “Printmaking with OCA

  • Printmaking 1 was one of the most exciting courses I’ve ever done.
    Before I did not know anything about printmaking and I blindly chose it as my optional course. I am so glad I did! The Student’s Handbook for this course is exceptionally well-written, it takes you from the basics to very in-depth practices, and was easy for a student to follow. Also, it gave you freedom to choose both subject and genre for each exercise, which I find very important for developing your personal voice.
    I still do monotypes in my free time.

  • Quality imagery from students, thanks for sharing, Michelle. Printmaking is often overlooked yet it contains so many skills and is really addictive once you get stuck into it!

  • I have loved printmaking with OCA having completed PM1 and PM2 on the Creative Arts pathway. As you rightly say, printmaking is a very wide and versatile field relevant to graphic design, book design, fine art, illustration, etc. This highlights the shortcomings of the degree path silo that resources are currently delivered within. Printmaking needs its own resources across all pathways.

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