Introduction to Photopolymer Gravure with Martyn Grimmer 2015

An Introduction to Polymer Photogravure – Non-toxic intaglio printmaking.

Artist and master printmaker Martyn Grimmer introduced both drawing and photographic plate making and printing using this light sensitive, flexible intaglio printmaking method in his inspiring 3-day course at Rabley at the weekend.


Photopolymer gravure uses steel plates with a light sensitive coating to produce beautiful tonal and linear intaglio prints. This method is acid free, using ultraviolet light to first expose the plate, and then water to develop the plate.

Photopolymer gravure is an extremely versatile method and allows for great creative freedom. Images and approaches are diverse, you can incorporate autographic hand drawn elements, very similar to the direct drawn marks that can be reproduced in lithography, alongside photographic, text and emboss.

With a strong drawing sensibility here at Rabley this method has been perfect for the translation of the direct drawn mark, and we find it a very faithful yet versatile method of exploring ideas and pushing them forward into print. On this course with the expert guidance of Martyn, who has over 15 years experience of using this method, the group also had the opportunity to take their photographs from their cameras and computer screens and transform them into subtle, velvety intaglio prints.  Patricia was even able to produce a beautiful duotone print.

IMG_4966Everybody benefited from Martyn’s wealth of knowledge and delved into this fascinating process from both drawing and photographic perspectives. Martyn was on hand to guide them through the technicalities of preparing their positives using Photoshop and processing their plates, through to the subtleties and sensitivity of plate inking and wiping.

For some it was their first opportunity to get their hands inky, make an intaglio print and then witness their digital photographs and hand drawn positives take on a unique, hand printed quality. This method does have it’s complexities, as with any print process, particularly in the digital positive manipulation and production, but with careful honing it produces stunning, near continuous photographic prints, and images that capture every nuance and drawn mark.

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We hope this course has opened the door for everyone to progress their work forward and explore the subtle, yet rich sensibilities of print. We look forward to hearing how your practice develops and to see you at Rabley again in the future!

See some of Martyn Grimmer’s Photopolymer prints on our website.

Other artist’s using this process here at Rabley:

Naomi Frears

Sara Lee

Endellion Lycett Green

Nik Pollard

Emma Stibbon RA

Contact Meryl or Amy-Jane if you would like information about future courses: / 01672 511999

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