Book Review: Modern Printmaking: A Guide to Traditional and Digital Techniques by Sylvie Covey

Modern Printmaking b“Printmaking is flourishing in the modern era,” writes photographer and printmaker Sylvie Covey in her latest book Modern Printmaking: A Guide to Traditional and Digital Techniques. Ms. Covey is right, and while printmaking has never lost its place in the arts, it has been—in recent years—having a moment attributed in part to the many printmaking how-to books published in the United States, as well as to the growing popularity of printmaking and book arts-related programs in higher education and adult community education centers across the country.

Published by Watson-Guptill, a publisher of art instruction books, Modern Printmaking: A Guide to Traditional and Digital Techniques is organized into four parts: relief printmaking, intaglio printmaking, lithography and serigraphy; and chine-colle, mixed-media and new printmaking techniques. Each chapter provides an introduction to the history of the techniques and processes covered by Ms. Covey along with detailed instructions on how to make prints using each of these techniques. Within each category, Ms. Covey provides a brief history of each techniques in the book, followed by lavish illustrations with work by both historical and contemporary printmakers.

The book, as Covey writes in the introduction, is intended for anyone who wishes to discover and learn about printmaking or expand their printmaking knowledge and skills. It also doubles a resource guide listing printmaking studios and equipment suppliers for both traditional and contemporary printmaking, and includes a bibliography listing a handful of printmaking books published within the last thirty years or so, many considered classics in the printmaking world. But unlike April Vollmer’s beautiful, illuminating and indispensable book Japanese Woodblock Print Workshop, also published by Watson-Guptill, Modern Printmaking, even at 320 pages, is not an exhaustive guide. It does not provide a list of printmaking residencies, printmaking conferences or organizations that disseminate information on the many techniques covered in Ms. Covey’s book. It also does not include the new and already popular encaustic collagraph printmaking technique. Modern Printmaking: A Guide to Traditional and Digital Techniques is a useful guide for the absolute beginner looking for a book that isn’t too rich with information or in detailed instructions.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

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