The Perfectly Imperfect Print

How do you know when you’ve made the perfect print? I don’t have a technique that could help you make that decision. For me it’s more of a feeling that I get that tells me “this is the one.” The likelihood of making the same exact print more than once is not very good. There are so many factors that come into play when you’re making a print, making each one unique.

When I was making the prints for the Speedball New Impressions Printmaking Competition I went through almost all of the Arnhem 1618 paper pad. After each print I would make small changes in how I applied the ink, how much pressure I applied to the paper, and even on the linoleum itself.

After about 10-12 prints I laid them all out, in the order in which they were printed, and inspected each one individually and then as a group. After taking a good look at all of the prints I put them in two groups; needs work and doesn’t need work.

The print that I submitted to the competition was chosen by lining up the prints in the “doesn’t need work” category and rearranging them in the order of least to most aesthetically pleasing.


The print that I submitted was not the one with the most even ink printed. I chose one with a little bit of character because it was perfectly imperfect.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.