My first letterpress * tears*

Ok so, I had my first letterpress session with my tutor James and I have to say it’s not as scary as I thought, it’s is a lot of little things like adjusting, and move this and that but I did it! And no I didn’t hurt myself to some of the haters out there said i would,I have all my fingers. It helped a lot more to do it than read it or watching you tube videos. The other thing I’m concerned about is mechanic things. Some guy on here told me that you will only be successful in letterpress if you worked on a tracker, but come on, show of hands of all the people on here who can work on their own car Ha! But I’ll cross that bridge when it comes.

But for now here are a few pics and I have a video coming up, once I figure out how to upload it.

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Ok so now you have produced your first prints ,you are a graphic designer you say, would you be happy to pay for 12000 of those for your top client?
Dont jump up and down like a child ,you now have to learn why its all mottly in the solids ,the colour is uneven across the job ,it is for those reasons you will come here to ask for help, yes you will get what seem like digs or unneccessary lectures ,this will have nothing to do with being female or black or anything else, it will be because you have to get a good ground in print before you jump onto a press rubbing your hands together with the attitude that its simple, it is not.
There is one thing i will point out to you ,in doing this you are going to learn something so very important , graphic designers should not be set free with the task of design until they have experience in the press and printing and if you are clever this will make you a better designer than your peers . The worst experiences i have had in this trade has been nightmare work designed by people who just dont have a clue about the way presses work and how ink is laid on paper ,rolling power ,grain direction, how trapping and fit come into play in relation to paper stretch (offset) and shrinkage as well as reduction (letterpress) , Reduction as i know it is where continually printing on the same piece of paper ,say nine colours through a single colour machine will on every pass pull the edges of the sheet toward the middle as the impression is made ,after multiple passes the sheet physically shrinks and on top of that you then have dehydration or atmospheric shrinking as well . It is a rocky road ,you will pull every ounce of your patience from the box ,you will come to respect the cancerous old grumblers regardless of the sexism and raciism you chose to use to back your point .
If you have a problem with what i have said you are welcome to contact me offline to discuss it ,this place is for the press problem lets keep it like that.
That said you will enjoy print as a craft ,many of us have had the chance to make our crust at it too ,kind of the best of both worlds .
Get into it and listen to people dont get defensive ,not every insult is meant to be read that way .


I know that excitement from printing your first time and it’s thrilling. However, learning to print independently of instruction is challenging at times. You mentioned the details of printing which come into play when on press and usually in different scenarios. But the challenges begin to repeat themselves and that’s where your ability to trouble shoot a job on press is valuable.

You don’t need to be a tractor mechanic to trouble shoot a press or keep one in running order. However, the ability to understand the working components of your press, to maintain it, repair as needed, and daily / weekly maintenance is vitally important.

There are many resources available which will enable you to be successful. Starting out seems daunting and there is a lot to learn, but when frustrated call a mentor and he/she will walk you through it.

Inky Lips Press

Please don’t hurt yourself. You will lose fingers and limbs permanently from one tiny slip-up.

From online and offline experiences, the attitude you display online suggests you’re in the risk category of injury.

Showing off and proving that you can pull a print, suggests you’re into letterpress printing for the wrong reasons.

Letterpress printing isn’t about you. It’s about respecting the process and the equipment. Continue to make it about you, and you’re in serious trouble safety wise.

In any case, I wouldn’t recommend posting newbie adventures here. Briarpress contains far too many “JOURNEYMAN” printers proving their own value. (I dare you to ask the forum what a “JOURNEYMAN” printer is).

JOURNEYMEN’S prime interest is to broadcast memories of their printing war stories. They also get scared when “kids” post about new adventures. This “take away” their little space on the internet.

@courtneydoyle, This is the one website where anyone can get information about finding resources, learning to print, internships, finding a press, and finding a mentor. Experienced printers are the resource to ask questions, explain techniques or to give a enthusiastic hooray for new people getting into letterpress printing with all kinds of letterpress printing presses.

To say you “wouldn’t recommend posting newbie adventures here. Briarpress contains far too many “JOURNEYMAN” printers proving their own value.” Is not correct. Not everyone has had the experience you may have had but it’s no reason to bring up your dislike or distrust to convey a posting to this forum.

@cococotton, Keep posting, opinions are free and everyone has one. Mine is to help where it’s needed and you’ll find many other folks here with far more experience than I that are willing to see you succeed.

Inky lips Press