How to Become a Printmaker

How to Become a Printmaker

Printmaking is a form of fine art that involves creating works of art by printing. Printmakers are trained artists that design and create printed images from a variety of materials.

What does a printmaker do?

Printmakers use a variety of materials such as paper, textiles, metal, stone, plastic, glass and wood to create original printed images. They often etch or cut their designs into the material and they then use a printing press to roll the design onto fabric, paper, or other material. Many printmakers create etchings, woodcuts, serigraphs, lithographs, screen prints, and a variety of other art forms. Some printmakers create prints by pressing an inked surface onto material by hand and others use computer software to create digital images that will be printing on paper. They often make several copies of their work for sale and distribution.

What kind of training does a printmaker need?

Printmakers typically need at least a high school diploma and good artistic ability. Many printmakers complete formal training in fine arts or other related field. Many colleges, universities, and independent schools of art and design offer a variety of programs in fine arts. Prospective printmakers typically take courses in drawing, printmaking, perspective and dimension, life and still life drawing, color, and different types of media. Many aspiring printmakers complete internships or shadow experienced printmakers to gain practical experience. Printmakers typically start out performing simple techniques and move on to more advanced tasks as they gain experience and improve their skills. Many printmakers prepare detailed portfolios to showcase their work to potential employers and clients. They often complete continuing education and additional training throughout their careers to improve their skills and stay current with advancements in the field.

What are the prospects for a career as a printmaker?

Employment of printmakers is expected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 9% from 2008 to 2018 (1).

Job prospects should be good with strong competition. Printmakers with advanced training and extensive experience will have the best job opportunities. Some job openings will arise from the need to replace printmakers that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do printmakers make?

As of January 2010, fine artists (including printmakers) with 1 to 4 years experience earn average annual salaries between $20,769 and $58,039. Those with 5 to 9 years experience earn average annual salaries between $12,289 and $45,781 (2).

A career as a printmaker is a great choice for people with a strong interest in printmaking and creating a variety of artwork. Printmakers must have a solid understanding of methods and techniques of printmaking and the ability to use a variety of materials. Excellent artistic ability, creativity, patience, perseverance, and self-confidence are necessary characteristics. Printmakers must have good communication and interpersonal skills because they often work with a variety of clients. They must also be able to effectively work independently.

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