Here are a few examples of the punchy, bright prints coming from Massachusetts-based print maker, JooHee Yoon. Her prints have the charming fantasy and magic of more traditional children’s illustration, but can also achieve the more editorial edge of contemporary design. I was interested in finding out more about the kinds of printing techniques she uses so was over the moon when she took some time out to answer a few questions.
How would you describe the work you do?
My work is very narrative with a focus on odd characters. It’s also concept based, meaning that I try to think of an interesting way to illustrate something; usually that something being very mundane, I try to make it less so with my drawing. Process wise, my work is very heavy on planning since with printmaking there are lots of different stages I have to go through to reach the finished artwork.
It’s extremely time consuming, but I continue to do it anyway as I enjoy working with flat colors and patterns.
Can you tell us about the different printing techniques you use?
For the last two years I have been working primarily with toray photolithography and screen printing. They are quite similar in a way, with an image on acetate being transferred onto a surface (a screen for screen printing vs. a plate for toray) when light reacts to a coating of light sensitive chemical. The main difference is that you need a litho or etching press and oil based ink to print using toray plates.
I think I fell in love with this technique because it has certain similarities to screen printing but with a different, more textural look. For me, by working with both techniques, the one influences the other, and at times it can be hard to tell them apart. This past year I’ve also been experimenting with relief printing, linoleum being my choice of material.
This has a different feel, more cruder, less delicate, but I it’s growing on me.
Where did you learn about these techniques?
I dabbled in screen printing while in high school since my art teacher decided to set up a makeshift exposure unit using a light table and a stack of textbooks. A few years later I took a more official screen printing class and a toray photolitho class while in college. I also managed to fit in a letterpress class where I first learned about lino cut.
What advice would you give to someone who’d like to learn more about printmaking?
I’d recommend taking a class just to learn the basics of operating all the equipment like the exposure unit and the various presses. It’s also best to work in an actual studio rather than, say your room, since ventilation can be a problem. If you do have to work in a space with limited air circulation use water based ink.
Printmaking can seem a bit mysterious but once you learn all the steps involved it’s pretty straightforward. The biggest things to keep in mind are: be patient, don’t try to rush through any of the stages as this will most certainly lead towards disaster, prepare to spend a lot of money on paper and be open to mistakes.
Is there any equipment/technique that you haven’t tried yet that you’d like to?
I’ve always been curious about traditional stone lithography. I’d like to try it sometime if I get a chance.
© JooHee Yoon, 2011.