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Print Curiosities: No. 6 – Valley II by Todd Snap

Pokemon Snap graphic of a turquoise waterfall between rocks viewed from below under a purple sky.
Valley II, 280 x 214 mm, 4-colour Risograph print, 2019

Some may recognise this image from the cult Nintendo game Pokémon Snap. It is one of a set of three risograph prints I bought from publisher Bronze Age in London last year. 

The prints are part of a 4-piece edition accompanying the artist publication Acts of Natural Magik by Todd Snap. According to Bronze Age’s description of the publication, in Acts of Natural Magik ‘The world renowned Pokégrapher turns away from the craft that shaped his career, instead creating a portrait of Pokémon Island; an island of intrinsic and fragile beauty.’ 

Low-resolution graphic of a person with a camera and red hair, crouching on the ground taking a photograph off screen
Todd Snap in action

The images document the island’s varied landscapes and infrastructure, void of its Pokémon inhabitants. Instead, it is full of dramatic, low-resolution pixelated scenery and sunsets. 

Printed on a Risograph MZ 770, the early-age digital colour palette is perfectly reproduced by overprinting just four colours. 

Blue Pokemon Snap graphic of the view from inside a cave up towards an opening with a waterfall.
Cave III, 280 x 214 mm, 4-colour Risograph print, 2019

The Risograph is a digital stencil duplicator. Each colour is printed separately, either from a greyscale digital file or a direct scan. It automatically converts images to half-tones, which results in a naturally grainy print. Sparser dots result in different levels of opacity. The transparency of the soy- and rice bran-based inks make it ideal for overprinting to create different colours.

The stencils are thin and flimsy, and the printing is fast. Both of these factors cause slight differences in registration, resulting in prints with small variations. In Acts of Natural Magik, this appearance brings to mind glitching in computer and console games. The grain of the print echoes the sharp pixel edges of low-resolution artwork, and the bright, mock CMYK colour separation emphasises the 8-bit colour palette of the original image.

Pokemon Snap graphic of bright red lava and a volcano under a yellow sky
Volcano III, 280 x 214 mm, 4-colour Risograph print, 2019
Loupe on top of a risograph print, showing dot distribution.
Volcano III through a loupe

The publication and print editions were printed by Pagemasters. They are a small print studio based in New Cross in London and offer an affordable and high-quality Risograph printing service using only recycled or FSC-certified uncoated papers.

Technicians Rahel Zoller and Daniel Fletcher collaborated with Pagemasters during a remote risograph colour separation and book binding workshop for LCC students.

Publication cover in two tones of dark blue with the text Acts of Natural Magik and Todd Snap in gold
Acts of Natural Magik by Todd Snap. Published by Bronze Age.
Spread of a publication showing Pokemon Snap graphic of a gravel road stretching towards an orange horizon
Acts of Natural Magik by Todd Snap. Published by Bronze Age
Spread with two Pokemon Snap images of gates on a river
Acts of Natural Magik by Todd Snap. Published by Bronze Age

Acts of Natural Magik is currently available in its third edition from Bronze Age – Undercurrents in international publishing. On their website you will find a wealth of affordable artist publications. Bronze Age was founded in 2011 in London and shares its founder Justin and studio space with Pagemasters.

Images of publication cover and full-bleed prints courtesy of Bronze Age.

I’ve done some awful prints and had worse ideas.

Now and then whilst sleeping, I get some really fantastic ideas for making images that no one has ever seen or done before, printed in a new way that will wow the creative world. For me it’s about the process, the journey, how you get there, the idea and not so much how it will look. How convenient of me.

Why go and buy something that’s pre-made when you can create your own unique version? Take AirFix Models for example: they never fit together as you see them on the box. The transfers were crap and would never stick to the model. My Spitfire looked decrepit. Like it had been in a dog fight (Labrador) before taking off.

It was about the thrill of making something from scratch, developing something new that you hoped would turn out amazing, even better than the picture on the box!
I’m sure all this has something to do with growing up in the 1970s.

For some reason those amazing, drowsy ideas involved overprinting my apparently amazing designs. When I say ‘overprinting’, I mean ‘blocking out’ the design underneath with a solid colour. So that no one on earth can see it!

At the moment I’m working from home and don’t have access to my extensive back catalog, but luckily here’s a couple of examples of where my tiredness took me. The first print is a Xmas Card. A total success of repurposing old prints from teaching+dreams idea.

My closest work mates, friends and family all said that they really loved it, whilst I watched them tear the envelopes open!

A Screenprinted Xmas Card.
Black over existing print. 2021 Xmas Joy!

Excuse the lockdown photography skills.
The next and last example of overlaying solid colour was done with White. At a push it’s a 5% White, multi printed to give a layered look, almost like 3D construction. Again it’s about the journey and so the 20+ colours are all paper stencils amongst other things.

A Screenprint showing examples of transparent layered white colour.
Transparent White over printing. Paper stencil Screenprint.

All jokes aside, printing flat areas of colour can be a great way of blocking out parts of your print you’re not happy whilst creating new bits that you are!

Enjoy your journey!

How to prepare a print ready artwork for printed pages

Understanding how to set up a document on Indesign can be confusing the first few times you try, but it is the best program to use to design and format the content for your books. Here is a guide on how to prepare your print-ready artwork.

How to set up your document?

Open InDesign and select file/New Document. Here is an example of an A4 Portrait book with 48 pages. (48 is the minimum number of pages needed for a multi-section binding)

Screenshot of the InDesign file set up showing the correct set up for an A4 document with 3mm bleed and 15mm margins
  • Choose your page size and the orientation. (Here we are doing A4. The size is 210x297mm)
  • Set up the margins all around with a minimum of 10mm on top, bottom and outer edge. I suggest using 15mm all around as a safe start.
  • Check carefully if your binding will require a larger margin. For example – Japanese binding will require a larger margin so that you have space to sew. Very thick books might also require a larger margin as you get towards the centre pages.
  • Set a minimum of 3mm bleed all around the pages.

How shall I set up my pages?

Your first page inside the book will always be on the right hand-side.
Below you can see the order of your pages. Please start your layout with the 1st page of the content. If you want to print your cover you will need to make a separate document and print as separate files. 
You will also need to include any blank pages where needed. You will not be able to ‘add in’ any blank pages during the binding process, unless you are perfect binding or single sheet sewing.

Screenshot of InDesign showing first three pages of a document
Screenshot of InDesign showing first three pages of a document

Why did we set up margins?

The binding edge (where the pages will be bound together) on your pages will alternate from left to right to left to right.

Screenshot of InDesign demonstrating the binding edge
Document demonstrating the binding edge

As mentioned above, in Japanese binding, we pierce the holes along the spine (binding edge). These holes can be up to 10mm into the page. It is very important that you leave enough margin on the binding edge inside of your pages so your content isn’t cut-off, or sewn into the spine. I would recommend a minimum of 20mm.

All the document settings can be changed at any point, and can be set to affect the whole document, or a particular page

Screenshot of InDesign showing incorrect use of margin
The text will get trimmed on the edges

The above right-hand side page has no margins. The text will get trimmed off on the edges.

Screenshot of InDesign showing correct use of margins, with 20mm on the binding edge and 15mm on all other edges
This page has 20mm margins on the binding edge and 15mm margins at the top, bottom and outside.

This page has 20mm margins on the binding edge.
It also has 15mm margins at the top, bottom and outside.

As mentioned before, the size of margin on the binding edge can change depending on the thickness of your book (the amount of pages). Especially with Japanese binding, the thicker the book, the larger the margin needs to be.

If you are concerned, you can always email us at and we can look over your document, or give you some advice.

Why do we need bleed on the document?

To print a full bleed image, the printer will print on a larger sheet and trim it down.
If you want an image to be full bleed, you need to allow space for the image to “overflow” off the page.

You should always include bleed on your document, as it is needed for document imposition. We recommend to leave 3mm bleed all around the pages.

Screenshot of InDesign showing incorrect use of bleed
document set up with no image in the bleed

This page has a full-page size image on it but has not been extended to the bleed. When trimming, some white borders could appear on the edges.
These edges happen because the sheet can shift slightly inside the machine during the printing process. 

Screenshot of InDesign showing correct use of bleed, with image extended to outer limit
Document set up with image extended into 3mm bleed all around.

This page has 3mm bleed all around. The bleed is shown by the outermost line around the document. You will need to extend your images up to, or beyond, this line if you want to have them printed full bleed. In Indesign the black line all around the page shows where we will trim, and will be printed as crop marks.

Screenshot of InDesign showing both correct and incorrect use of bleed

Here is a close up of the two documents set up.

The top page has not been extended to the bleed.

The bottom has been fully extended to the 3mm bleed.

Now you are ready to export your PDF.

Make sure you export as a High quality print PDF, and remove the crop marks. Use the document bleed settings (this should have been set at 3mm).

InDesign export set up

At LCC we don’t include the crop marks so we can work out the pagination. This can change for different print companies and printing techniques, so double check with your printer to see how they prefer to work.

Now you are ready to bind!

You can find tutorials on the Book Arts-Learning resources page of this website, and on on our Moodle page, where you can also book an online 1:1 with a technician. Alternatively, you can email us at

You can also attend a workshop on File prep for book binding, with Esmeralda in the Digital Space.
This workshop goes into preparing files in more depth and can be booked here :
You can also ask any questions, or organise a 1:1 with Esmeralda at

For Printing enquiries, you can email Claire in Reprographics at

This post was made with the help of Folio Atelier, a bespoke bindery based in Margate.

Easy Single Sheet Zine Making at Home

A group of zines on a table, all hand drawn with colourful pencils.

This is a super easy way of working from home, only using a single sheet of paper, a scalpel and your favourite drawing tools. I started by creating these small, cheap zine based ‘sketchbooks’ as a way for me to get creative and start drawing without feeling pressure, during the previous lockdown in March.

I found these really useful for getting my hands moving again, whether it be drawing, collaging, potato printing etc. They can act as springboards into new ideas, finding drawings you want to develop further, or even just a way of loosening up drawing. I have created a guide of how to make this easy zines including folding, cutting and assembling instructions. Give it a go and hopefully it will help to kick start any projects!

Two sheets of paper. One printer paper, roughly 90gsm and the other Fabriano Accademia, roughly 200gsm.

You can use any paper you have for this zine, you only need 1 sheet! The two above are a printer paper (shiny, low quality, roughly 90gsm) and a piece of Fabriano Accademia (matte, high quality, 200gsm). Use ANY paper so think about what you have to hand, don’t go out of your way to buy specific paper. Here are some examples: printer paper, artist papers, recycled papers, left over collage photograph paper, junk mail, newspaper, old drawings, old prints, paper samples etc etc!

You can follow this step-by-step instruction or scroll to the end of this blog post where there is a video of this process.


A piece of paper with folds marks drawn and labelled A, B, C and D.

Above is an image of the fold lines you will need to create. You will be folding your paper into 8 equal sections. Start by folding your paper in half widthways (Fold A in the diagram). You can use a bone folder, but I have been using a pen to get the edges crisp.

Then fold the outer edges on the short side into the middle folded line, creating two parallel folds (Fold B & C in the diagram).

Piece of paper with folds width ways half way and then either side half of that.

Fold your paper in half lengthways (Fold D in the diagram). You should now have all the fold marks shown on the grid in the diagram. The folds should divide the page into 8 equal sections.


Paper with all folds on. A cut line has been drawn from the first width fold to the third width fold.

Above is a diagram of where you will need to cut. Unfold your paper, so that it is flat. Cut along the middle length line (Fold D in the diagram), starting at the first width fold line (Fold C in the diagram) and finishing at the third width fold line (Fold B in the diagram).

If you fold your paper along the length line and stand it up like a tent. You should be able to see the cut through the top.

Image of paper with a cut through the middle.


Start folding your paper along the half length fold so that it stands like a tent. Hold both sides of the tent shape and push the ends towards each other. You should see the incision open into a diamond shape. Keep pushing until they make contact and create a cross shape.

Make the cross shape into the shape of a letter K, so that two sides are in line with each other. To do this, pinch the middle of the cross and push two facing sides away from each other so that they create a straight line. These will be your front and back cover. Keep pushing them until they meet the other sides and squeeze them all together.

Place the zine flat and that is your front cover. Now, time to draw.

The folded zine.

Here is a video of one of the zines I created.

Congratulations Florence Hawkins!!

As many of you probably know, our Screen Print technician Florence Hawkins flew the nest mid-November. After 7 years at LCC, Flo was ready for new challenges and has moved onto a very exciting role at CSM as a Print & Dye Specialist Technician. Flo’s practice focusses on printed textiles and natural dyes, where she researches and creates colours from biowaste and foraged plant extracts. We were all sad to see Flo go, but knew that this job was made for her! In the new workshop Flo has quickly felt ‘at home’ and is inspired by the environment and new courses she teaches, from BA and MA Textile, Fashion, Biodesign and Material Futures. She is excited to see more projects focused on sustainable material practice and hopefully turn the roof terrace at CSM into a dye garden!

This blog post is a sneak preview of our new series ‘Inside the Technicians Toolbox’, where Flo has shared some of her favourite tools and studio must haves. Keep an eye out for our new series in the coming weeks to see the toolboxes of other technicians.

What is the one must-have basic essential (most used) tool in your toolbox?  

Sharp fabric scissors.

What is your favourite tool?

A range of different natural fabrics which will take natural dyeing in different tones.

What is the weirdest/quirkiest/most specialist tool you have?

My collection of tried botanical, kitchen waste and plant materials that come in different sizes, shapes, and shades of colours. They evolve with time.

Farewell Ling Chiu!

We would like to say a fond farewell to our amazing Technical Coordinator, Ling Chiu, who is leaving the Printmaking, Book Arts and Letterpress team at LCC to begin an exciting two-year residency at Thames-side Print Studios in London, and a month-long residency at AGALAB in Holland. We’ve been chatting to Ling to find out about her time here at UAL and her future plans.

Ling joined UAL in 2014, as a temporary printmaking technician at Wimbledon College of Art. She was already working as a technician at Thames-side Print Studio, and as a Curatorial Assistant at UCL Art Museum, and thought “why not try something new?”. Like many artists, she was juggling a creative practice with a mixed bag of freelance education and part-time work.

“Wimbledon’s printmaking workshop was magic – tiny but bold and ambitious. I worked with one other technician to run it, and we covered screenprinting, etching, relief printing and large format digital printing! It was exciting to work with a mix of fine art, costume and theatre students, and the technical team was very closely knit. We had competitive bake offs, Friday breakfast fry-ups, and ran lunchtime origami sessions for staff and students.”

Three years later, she moved to LCC as the full-time Printmaking Technical Coordinator. Formerly the London College of Printing, Ling was joining a College and team with deep and wide print knowledge. She wanted to balance that legacy with innovation, inclusive practice, and promoting printmaking in a College without fine art or printmaking courses.

“If I had to look back and pick one thing I’m most proud of, it would be developing the Printmaking traineeship with the team. We started with a single Arts Temps trainee and a ten-day paid programme! Now we’re known for providing good, paid, opportunities for students to train as technical staff, and get experience supporting day-to-day running, or some of our Outreach teaching. We’ve worked with DPS students, students from across UAL, alumni, and I’m especially proud to promote women in printmaking, and women in technical roles.”

Did you know? Ling is something of a Health and Safety nerd. She actually has a NEBOSH qualification in Occupational Health and Safety, which she completed while she was at LCC, alongside as PG Cert and PG Dip in Academic Practice.

“I think people have the wrong idea of Health and Safety – H&S is super-inclusive, and super-enabling. People think Health and Safety is all about paperwork and stopping people from doing what they want, when actually, it’s about how we can do exciting things, but make it safe for everyone to participate – who doesn’t want that?”

Ling is now embarking on a two-year residency at Thames-side Print Studios, where she also has her own studio. She plans to develop her own visual practice, while writing about, thinking about, and delivering printmaking that is inclusive, sustainable, safe, and beautiful. She will return to AGALAB in Holland later this year for a month-long lithography residency, working with vegetable cleaning agents (VCAs), and researching water use and workflows in printmaking processes.

“There is a place for printmaking 10, 50, 100 years from now, but it is incumbent upon us to be responsible makers; to not live in a bubble. We must use what can be grown when we can, and be precious with anything mined, distilled or shipped. We need to include more people, which means acknowledging where there are barriers: these lovely presses and processes were not designed for my body, my person, my ability, and they may not be designed for yours either… but I am going to do it anyway, and help you do it, too. This is how printmaking not only survives, but thrives.”

Ling will be greatly missed by both students and staff in the workshops, as her enthusiasm and expertise is top notch! She kept us all happy and motivated, with an excellent balance of humour, candidness, knowledge, kindness, respect and of course enough sweet treats!

We are super excited for the future that Ling has created, we wish her all the very best on her new adventure and look forward to following her progress on her Instagram.

Hello world!

We’re building a website! 
Welcome to the LCC Printmaking, Book Arts & Letterpress website.  We hope you will find it useful and interesting.  All are welcome.

We plan on filling our site with resources and links for our students, colleagues and visitors.  Some of our information will be especially useful for students at LCC, but a lot of it will hopefully be helpful to everyone. We are not website builders, but a team of passionate makers who are now looking for ways to keep in touch, and keep making in these uncertain times.   

Questions?  Email:

An image of us building a website here.