Derwent Inktense printing set experiment

Inktense printmaking set box

We had to try the set out as we haven’t used anything like this before. Similar to using quickprint and a biro, but the foam is far more durable. The ink blocks make the printing experience much more clean!

Inktense printmaking set 1

Here are the contents of the set. Foam, needle with 2 different sized tips, water spritzer, roller and Inktense blocks.

1 23

We just drew a design free hand to test it out. When using the ball point needle you need to press into the foam quite hard and repetitively, but you get the hang of it. It means a light touch wont effect the print so there will be less mistakes. You can also faintly mark out the next part of the design which is good.


We cut out the design from the foam which was extremely easy!


Lightly spray the surface with water using this fine mister.


The inktense blocks are then applied over the surface. The pigment comes away very easy, and you can apply as much or as little as you like. You use lots of colours at once, layering to mix.


Roller the back of the design on to paper…

91 9 8

and here you go, our first attempt! You can re-wet the foam to release more ink. We kept adding colour afterwards and rewetting. We learnt don’t be shy with the blocks and bold designs will work the best. Altogether quite a fun set, brilliant as a gift for budding printmakers!

Princeton Catalyst Polytip brushes

Catalyst Polytip Brushes

Catalyst_Brushes_feature catalyst_brushes

You may have noticed Princetons’ Catalyst Blades and Wedges have recently arrived on the scene, but Princeton have brought out Catalyst Polytip Brushes out as well! A little more understated than its colourful counterparts but just as brilliant to use. Once you try these brushes you may never go back.

We had a play with them in our shop and found they really did live up to their claim- ‘Super stiff yet extremely responsive… Catalyst is able to hold a higher volume of paint while providing a smoother application.’

We decided to test the brushes with heavy bodied acrylic paint, and painted onto Fabriano Pittura a textured thick paper which holds the paints well, letting it sit on top as opposed to sinking in. We found the brush had the right balance of stiffness and give. It is designed to cope well with thick paint and mediums, so you can use oil paints too.

The synthetic bristles are designed with splits at the end to emulate natural bristles. The paint brush moves with ease across the paper or canvas yet keeping its form. You can see in the photograph how it holds its shape when painting long marks.

The range includes 8 different shape brushes and in many sizes. Just look above to see the variety. We were impressed by how well the brushes cleaned up, too. The ferrule didn’t hold the paint like many brushes do and the water ran clear after a short rinse. Look after these brushes and they should last a very long time.

Customers in our Hove Art shop have said they are a brilliant product and they won’t go back to ordinary brushes. It is a superior brush to many. We are very proud to be stocking Catalyst Polytip Bristle Brushes and we would really like for you try them out.

Lawrence linseed oil based relief ink

Lawrence linseed oil based relief ink

Our linseed oil relief inks are one of our most popular ranges; the formulas used to create them have been in use for hundreds of years.

Technical facts: They dry through absorption into the paper and by exposure to air. Fighting fire with fire, you will need to use white spirit to clean these up, or if you prefer the less toxic approach, try getting the vegetable oil out of the cupboard. You can also use these inks on fabric and iron-fix them on the back to set your print. Suitable for printing lino, wood cut, wood engraving and monotypes.

Discovery time: Printing inks were invented around the 15th Century and are credited to a Johannes Gutenberg (inventor of the printing press). Johannes Gutenberg seems like an interesting character- he was involved in financial misdemeanors and was even sued (yes suing existing in the 15th Century if you can believe it!). Check him out on Wikipedia.

_G104843 _G104847

Woodcut printing

woodcut2Woodcut print

Basswood is designed to replicate the wood traditionally used for Japanese wood cuts. A layer of Basswood is pressed to both sides of the block, making it cost effective and easy to use.  We had a go in the warehouse recently, see above for the finished print.

We made a start by painting the surface of the Basswood block with indian ink and waiting for it to dry thoroughly, so that we could see the cuts we make. We cut the design using our ultra sharp Japanese woodcut tools. They are the ideal set to get started.

As the design is a moonlit river, we thought it would be nice to use 2 colours for inking up. Lawrence original linseed relief mid blue for the sky and black for the foliage. We printed on Masa White Japanese paper (shiny side up) with a traditional baren.