Direct to Plate polymer plate creation

February 12th-13th, 2022

Direct-to-plate is a platemaking technique that utilizes inkjet printers to create both the image and aquatint directly on a polymer plate prior to exposure.

This two-day workshop will introduce participants to methods for using this technique for creating photopolymer printing plates. While the primary emphasis will be on continuous tone photogravure printing from digital image files, the method is not strictly limited to photographic imagery. We will also teach techniques for creating plates from hand-drawn artwork.

DTP Advantages

  1. No intermediate positive or negative is needed. This saves on material costs during the platemaking process.
  2. No vacuum frame is needed to expose the photopolymer. Traditional two-exposure methods require a vacuum frame to ensure perfect contact between the aquatint screen and the plate. This method applies inkjet printer ink directly to the plate, which allows plates to be exposed using any UV light source, including the sun.
  3. This method is much more tolerant of exposure variations than the two exposure method, and predictable results are achievable even when using imperfect UV light sources.
  4. This method can be used for both intaglio and relief plates. The only difference is whether a positive or negative image is used.

Topics covered

  1. Use of the QuadToneRIP printer driver for creating printing profiles for this process. A streamlined calibration process will be demonstrated on the final day of the class for those who are interested.
  2. Creation of both intaglio and relief plates using this technique.
  3. Methods for creating plates from hand-drawn artwork.
  4. Intaglio printing techniques, including paper preparation, inking, wiping and a simple chine collĂ© approach.
  5. Incorporation of digital methods into a workflow.
  6. Software and hardware options for this technique.
  7. Simple Lightroom and Photoshop editing techniques

The workshop includes a $75 materials fee, which will cover the cost of three A4-size plates, printmaking paper, ink and inkjet printer ink. Additional plates will be available for sale during the workshop for anyone interested in making more plates.

The workshop participant will need to have either digital photo images or hand drawn artwork which we can scan to use for making plates. All other materials and equipment will be supplied in the class.

The workshop will be from 8AM to 5PM on February 12th and 13th of 2022. We will conduct the workshop at our studio at 96 Weaverville Road Suite 108 in North Asheville.

The cost for the two-day workshop will be $300 which includes a $75 material fee. There will be space for up to 6 participants in this workshop.

More information here: