top of page
etching tools

Printmaking is the creation and transformation of images using a transmitting medium - the printing plate. Between the idea and the printed work there is a level of mediation in which artistic expression is reflected as a correspondence with the material and the entire inherent process.

Based on its traditional history and further developed by contemporary operations and the use of modern tools, printmaking is a unique process for creative image design.
Each technique has its own individual characteristics, starting from the most archaic impressions such as footprints, handprints and rubbings up to the creation of printing plates of relief, intaglio and planographic printing.

Classical techniques complemented by modern methods such as photographic exposures, the use of milling techniques and 3D printers open up a wide range of artistic expression. With all its possibilities, printmaking opens up modes of expression for current and future themes, both as unique pieces and in editions.

Everything is printable, it just depends on how it is done! Achieving high quality requires knowledge and handling of tools in addition to experience and mastery of the printing process. This is exactly where Edition Hoke comes in, collaborating with artists to push printmaking beyond its limits!

In addition to personal expertise, Edition Hoke offers the following techniques for artistic work:


Drypoint is a technique in which cavities are introduced into the printing plate through direct manual processing by scratching, scraping or grinding. Depending on the artist‘s intention, this type of design with direct impact produces soft to very strong, intense, hard lines or typical fur-like structures through the resulting burrs. Depending on the printing process and the nature of the ink, this results in a wide range of expression.

In line etching, a flat copper or steel plate is coated with an acid-resistant varnish. Free lines and curves are drawn into this protective layer without physical effort and without damaging the plate itself. Placed in acid, only these exposed lines are deepened by etching so that they later absorb the printing ink. By regulating the exposure time of the acid, the finest to deep and coarse lines, dots and hatches are created, resulting in very stable printing plates for editioning.

line etching

Aquatint is the process by which areas (halftones) are created by many small dots, similar to a raster or grid. Depending on the spacing, dot size and etching time, these etched points produce tones from delicate gray to deepest black in the final print. This way, both continuous tone and gradations can be achieved with a classic aquatint dustbox. A variety of shapes is possible through the use of airbrush and spray paint.

Spit bite refers to partial etching using viscously prepared acid directly on the printing plate. This allows light gray tones and convergent structures to be produced, depending on the effect and strength of the acid used. Spit bite, or brush etching as it is sometimes called, results in painterly effects and overlays with its typically spontaneous expression. It can be used as a sketchy, spontaneous expression, as well as in combination with other techniques.

spit bite
soft ground

Soft ground or Vernis Mou is a process in which a greasy varnish is used to transfer material structures, natural material impressions or pencil drawings onto the metal printing plates. By partially removing the soft varnish layer and subsequent etching, a wide variety of gray scales can be achieved. In this way, sketches and drawings can be created, resulting in prints that look like pencil drawings.

Lift ground is used to create brush strokes directly on an etching plate, as in painting. Some tusche mixed with sugar or gum arabic is used to draw on the plate. After curing, an acid-resistant varnish is applied to the entire surface of the plate. If the plate is then placed in warm water, the drawing ink swells and blasts off the layer of varnish above, exposing the copper to be etched.

lift ground

Photogravure uses light-sensitive layers to transfer the most detailed exposure films onto photopolymer or metal plates, which are then exposed, developed and etched. The resulting photographic elements, in combination with, for example, free line drawings, offer a wide range of working methods. Variations in light sources, exposure time, and screening open up a wide spectrum of artistic expression.

Galvanic is an electrochemical process for etching metal plates as well as for the positive build-up of printing plates. In this way, molecularly fine structures can be molded or created, whether for the production of printing plates or also for small sculptures. The process is particularly important for hardening printing plates making them stable enough for long runs and high editions by steel finishing.


Collagraphs consist of coherent layers of material that are glued together to form the printing plate. All conceivable materials with their specific properties and materiality can be used and further processed. The resulting plate can be printed as an embossing as well as an intaglio or relief. The individual materials used give this process its particular charm.

Embossing is a printing process without the use of ink. It creates a very special impression of the paper relief depending on the depth and incidence of light. Metal matrices, wood, fiber composites and plastics can be used; processing ranges from manual cutting and engraving to CNC milling and even 3D printing. Very large formats are possible, both as single pieces and in editions.


Lithographic processes are based on the different properties of water-attracting and water-repelling substances. Both the ink-receiving and ink-repelling areas stay in one plane, hence the name planographic printing. This allows incredibly detailed and fine dot sizes and color gradations. Specially prepared limestones and aluminum plates, but also foils and polyester plates, are suitable as printing plates. Almost all drawing materials will work for creating images and nearly any artistic technique can be used in this process.

Linocuts / woodcuts are traditional printmaking processes in which all non-printing areas around the subject are cut away from a flat printing plate. The surface is then rolled with ink, which is transferred to paper. Manual cutters as well as drills, routers and CNC-controlled processes are suitable for this technique. Both opaque and transparent inks can be used, with the latter printed on top of each other to produce translucent layers in which the reflected light creates a special color impression.


Frottage is a technique that uses waxy crayons to transfer relief images onto paper by rubbing. It can also be applied to thin foils, which can then be used for printing. The composition of the drawing material is crucial for softness, hardness, smudgability, clear contours or brittle surfaces. Of course, this technique can also be combined and supplemented with many other processes.

Monotypes open up the multifaceted play between drawing and printmaking. From direct impressions, spatulaed surfaces and soft lines, everything can be implemented. Through playful ex-perimentation, small to very large originals are created, each of which is unique. Monotypes have their own charm in the form of sketchy, expressive impressions from the finest gray overlays to rich black.


Cyanotype is a technique that uses ultraviolet light to chemically convert a salt compound into Prussian blue. In other words, it is design with light and shadow, fixed in the characteristic blue. Photographic as well as drawing and painting elements can be used, such as translucent and reflective objects, in interaction with sharpness and blurring.

Transfers are available for various printing processes such as intaglio, lithography or as a template for linocuts and the transfer of photographic elements. From clear and fine to crumbly structures or distortions with their characteristic style, a wide range of expression is possible. This is also suitable for collages with images, fonts and symbols.

toner transfers
experimental prints

Experimental prints are made directly from unprocessed materials or even already-altered objects. For example, found, assembled, rusted artifacts, plastic objects, textiles, microchips, etc. can be used. There are no limits to artistic expression.

Everything is printable, it just depends on how it is done. Achieving high quality requires knowledge and handling of tools in addition to experience and mastery of the printing process.

This is exactly where Edition Hoke comes in, collaborating with artists to push printmaking beyond its limits!

bottom of page