The printing process

Before printing, the required amount of paper is dampened so that it is forced into the deepest recesses of the plate. It is then said that the paper is ‘in love’.

Printing is a three step process :

The inking consisting of filling with ink. A thin layer of ink is laid on the plate using a roller or a tarlatan dabber.

The next step is the wiping. Tarlatan cloths are laid flat on the inked plate; most of the ink is soaked up by successive layers of cloth, which become cleaner. At this stage, we can choose between an immaculate background or keeping a tint. Wiping is always finished using the palm of the hand lightly covered in French chalk, carefully avoiding the empty the scratches. A tarlatan rag is sometimes used to lightly rub the plate to bring up the ink and produce a blurred, fuzzy effect and increasing contrast. This is the retroussage.

the printing itself can begin. The inked and wiped plate is laid on the press’s table, the dampened paper is precisely centred on the plate, the catcher blanket are placed to absorb the sizing of the paper and the excess water, the wheel is turned forcing the plate and paper between the rollers of the press. The ink is transferred to the sheet of paper. The print is done and just needs to be left to dry between deux sheets of blotter for a few days.


Christine Gendre-Bergère all rights reserved.