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Unusual courses

New and unusual courses – # 2 – Practical Colour Mixing for Printmakers.

Following on from the previous news posting about piloting new and unusual courses at Double Elephant, I would now like to tell you about New and Unusual course #2.

This has grown directly out of the mentoring sessions I did last year which entailed encouraging people to really get to know the particular printing inks they are using.

The second of these pilot courses that I’m responsible for is :-

Practical Colour Mixing for Printmakers

Colour ExperimentsThursday 6th June, 10am – 4pm

Getting to know your inks and how to achieve the results you want.
Practical exercises to build your knowledge base and confidence to mix your own colours. One day workshop for practising printmakers.

The idea is that with practical exercises participants can build their knowledge base and confidence to mix their own colours. It is necessary to experiment with the actual c olours you use, so if people currently use Double Elephant’s inks for your own practice these will be the colours you will be using on the day. If you print elsewhere you may be advised to bring in your own ink if they are a different make to ours.

InkCourse participants will be introduced to the principle of using a restricted palette and how to mix any colour with only 6 colours (double primaries) and white. Experiments will show you how to darken and lighten a colour effectively; match the colour you want; and how the colour you need isn’t always the same as the colour you see. We will explore some simple colour theory while acknowledging ideas about colour must always work in practice. Theory is only any good if you can get it to work for you in practice!

I’m currently engaging in experiments to work out what would be the best and most time effective experiments that participants could do on the day. I’m using the colours normally in stock at Double Elephant – ie Intaglio Printmaker’s brand of Etching ink and Litho/Relief ink, plus Rowney System 3 for the screenprinters.

Process colours
Process colours

I’m aware that I need to take into account that people with a background in computer graphics might have a different grounding to their existing colour mixing knowledge to someone with a background of painting. For example computer screens use red, green, and blue as primaries, but painters have traditionally used red, blue and yellow. Plus some screenprinters might prefer to get to grips with process colours (cyan, magenta and yellow), rather than the usual range of pigments on offer. I have used this as an excuse to have a play with the screenprinters process colours that I don’t normally use. I’m creating a lot of teaching aids as a by-product of really enjoying myself.

I would be very interested to know what you have found challenging with colour mixing – and any other insights you might like to share.


Other one day and two day workshop coming up in May, June and July include:

Create your own Cine Collé; Practical Colour Mixing for Printmakers; Alternatives to Etching; Full Colour Multiblock Intaglio; Kitchen Lithography; Wet Ink on Wet Ink; and Printmaking for the Terrified!


Lynn Bailey

Through my artwork I look to say something about the environment - explore how we interact, use, abuse and collaborate with the natural world around us. This has taken me to increasingly focus on the small ubiquitous and often reviled weeds and bugs that form the foundation and engine-room of ecosystems. I use a wide range of printmaking techniques – both traditional and innovative, often creating complex one off prints. ****** Co-founder and director of Double Elephant Print Workshop since 1997. Originally trained in Conservation of Prints and Drawings 1980 -1982. Studied Fine art at University of Plymouth 1993 -1996.

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