Help: Relief Printing Inks

Homepage Forums QA – Ask us anything! Help: Relief Printing Inks

Viewing 3 posts - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
  • Author
  • #214
    Saira Sujanani

    Hi there.

    I’ve been learning to print from home recently and as I’m just doing some practice and figuring out my “workflow”, I purchased small tubes of Schmincke Aqua Linoprint Ink which is water-based. I also bought Essdee’s Block Printing Ink which is similarly water-based. Since I’m working from home, I wanted to ensure I had an easy clean-up process, hence the water-based inks. The issue I’m having is that the ink is drying way too fast that I can’t evenly ink out my block before the paint has dried on it, and on my inking plate. When the ink is transferred onto paper, it creates a sort of weird texture which is fine for what I’m doing now, but going forward I would really like a smoother finish.

    I’m therefore considering purchasing another brand/type of ink. The frontrunner for me at moment are Caligo Safe-Wash Relief Inks so I was wondering if anyone had any feedback or advice regarding this problem/whether the Caligo inks are good.



    Jacqueline Chiu

    Hi Saira,

    Thanks for getting in touch! There are a number of safe-wash oil based inks for relief printing, and there are broadly similar. All oil based inks are basically the same – they contain pigment, binder, and drier. Driers tend to be the hazardous component. The reason the Caligo safe wash inks are so safe, is that they have very little drier in them, less than 1%.

    – they stay wet for a long time, so you can really take your time printing by hand, mixing inks, rolling out, etc.
    – you can use them for monotypes, and have different inks rolled out for hours, and they will stay good
    – you only need dish soap to wash up – use washing up gloves
    – you can print wet-on-wet, or wet-on-semi-wet

    – they take a long time to dry
    – they emit a slightly linseedy smell

    Here is a link to Nick Morley’s giant whale lino cut, which he now prints entirely with a wooden spoon, using Caligo inks:

    Giant Whale Linocut – Live Printing at London Illustration Fair 2017

    Hope that helps!

    Lisa Chappell

    Hi Saira,

    I have not used the Schmincke waterbased inks myself, but if you have already invested in this brand, I believe they make a “retarder” that can be added to slow down the drying time whilst you’re printing. This may stop it from drying on your block when you’re rolling out, and give you more time to print.

    Good luck!


Viewing 3 posts - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.