Here at 91 Magazine, we love to celebrate creativity, in its many different forms. Recently we shared a selection of some of our favourite ceramicists, this time around, we have compiled a list of some of the best printmakers to discover, invest in and decorate your walls with their beautiful prints. But as always, this is by no means an exhaustive list. We could keep going on and on.
Hanging art prints on your walls is an easy way to set the tone for a room and inject some character into it, whether you want to brighten up the space or create a tranquil, relaxing setting. Not to mention, it is far more affordable than purchasing an original painting. From linocut to risograph prints, vibrant, graphic styles to calming designs inspired by nature – whatever your taste might be, this bunch of artistic makers has got something for everyone. You’ll also get an understanding of the various printing processes involved, which is particularly interesting. So, let’s meet these 20 printmakers, I wonder which will be your favourite?
If we had to describe Lorna Freytag’s prints in one word, it would, without a doubt, be ‘playful’. An almost child-like naivete shines through every design of the Edinburgh-born and north Scotland-based illustrator (in a good way, might we add), utilising scribbled sketchbooks and digital techniques to bring her designs to life. Lorna’s prints are certainly bold but by no means kitschy, and they are visually pleasing to the eye both for children and adults alike. Widely known for her alphabet series with every print depicting a given letter and an image of something beginning with that letter, her new decorative yet educational collection features animals and their sounds. But if you’re after something a little more made-to-measure, personalised portraits of your little ones or four-legged friends are also available.
Tropical Scandinavia’s collection of prints is filled with fun, colour and symbolism. That’s perhaps not something one would expect from Scandinavian design, famed for its utilitarian simplicity. But the Swedish husband-and-wife duo Emil and Johanna Stark behind this brand, that sits on the border between art and home décor, are the opposites of traditional Scandinavian minimalism. The couple’s previous home and workspace featured in 91’s sell-out 10th-anniversary issue and even graced the cover, while their new studio, equally as colourful and fun, is based in Hammenhög on the southern tip of Sweden. Combining Johanna’s background in design and Emil’s experience as a painter and film director, the couple makes pieces that are not only beautiful to look at but are charged with good intentions, like modern totems.
Another recognisable face among the 91 readers is Leeds-based illustrator Abbey Withington, who expresses her ideas through print. Abbey’s peaceful oasis of a home was featured in Volume 9, and her graphic illustrations also covered the section and opening pages of our anniversary issue. Attracted to stationery or anything with an exciting print from a young age, Abbey favours a pastel colour palette in her work paired with earthy tones when creating her fun, modern, and plastic-free (sustainability is fundamental to the maker) prints that play with simplified, graphic shapes and lettering. Whether it’s a starry piece letting you know that ‘you are magic’ or a large eye design.
These days, Chilean artist Carla Llanos is based in Bristol, where she crafts her original paintings, drawings and prints created with the help of digital processes in her airy, light-filled studio. While Carla quotes women, interiors and fashion as her sources of inspiration, her more recent works – which have proved extremely popular – have been centred around the theme of flowers. They bring the artist much joy, populating her space and often seen as formed into a bouquet held in her hands. Florals are the focus both in her flower prints coloured in muted pastel hues titled Las Flores and a new, richly pigmented series named Serie Cerámica, celebrating the illustrator’s love of ceramics and depicting vibrant blooms encased within large vases lightly resembling a woman’s womb.
Hofer Print’s motto is ‘nature nurtured through print’, and the brand’s inspiration from the natural world is evident through its minimalist yet vibrant depictions of fruit, veg and florals. The practice was started in 2018 by graphic designer and illustrator Davina Schluttenhofer, who escaped into the Kentish countryside following a 20-year-long career in design. Here, the founder unearthed a world of inspiration on her daily walks and rediscovered her passion for letterpress printing. This relief printing process uses repeated direct impressions of an inked plate that is produced based on Davina’s drawings. She was first introduced to it while studying at the Royal College of Art, taking a class led by the world-renowned letterpress printmaker Alan Kitching. Because nature is at the heart of everything Hofer Print does, the brand also keeps the environment in mind by using salvaged inks, FSC-certified paper and compostable packaging.
The work of Liverpool-based artist, illustrator and printmaker Samuyya Khader is recognisable for its rich and deep hues of sunset yellows and oranges paired with midnight blue and forest green, beautifully composed shapes, and dramatic depictions of figures and faces, all having one thing in common – their dark skin tones. Much of Samuyya’s work is inspired by the injustices she sees and experiences as a black woman, and her goal is to bring awareness to these issues through her work. Apart from creating her own prints, she has also established Granby Press, a community print studio where locals can print leaflets, zines or artwork.
Every one of Danii Pollehn’s prints feels like a party, filled with figures ready to burst out dancing (or sometimes already doing so), coloured in tropical brights and neon colours and sprinkling confetti. Based in Hamburg, Danii is an illustrator that aims to celebrate the female form through her giclée prints – digital prints made on inkjet printers using pigment-based inks which closely resemble actual paint – as well as the natural world. And that she does, but not in the most traditional of ways, but rather in a fun, bold and super contemporary style as her leading ladies skate through a palm-tree-lined promenade at sunset, pose with a single flower stem as if taking a mirror selfie or walking home with a tote full of new house plants. Let yourself be energised by Danii’s dynamic designs.
Sofia Lind is a Stockholm-based artist and print designer. She turned to her current path after realising she had no desire to become an engineer following her final engineering exams. The transition, however, felt natural as painting and creating was nothing new for the Gothenburg native. Female forms and bold patterns in the way of clothing regularly dominate Sofia’s prints, influenced by everything from society to literature and public art, as is the case of her Paris Metro Collection, sold exclusively through The Poster Club, which was mentioned in one of our previous articles, when rounding up online stores to buy affordable art. Utilising the giclée technique, this allows details of the original paintings like brush strokes to be seen and for the colours to pop.
Rosanna Morris uses the technique of relief printing to create her art prints, hand-carving blocks from salvaged lino which she then imprints onto linen banners or handmade lokta paper, an artisan type of paper indigenous to Nepal, using non-toxic inks. It is clear that this Bristol-based printmaker cares deeply for the environment and sustainability. So much so that they make up the majority of topics explored through her pieces, along with food growing and horticulture – all subjects close to her heart. Rosanna studied illustration at Camberwell School of Art in London, where she established her unique style. But it wasn’t until she visited Mexico that she fell for relief printing, which is now her primary medium. She has since also co-founded Cato Press, where she teaches printing and provides a creative space for studio members.
Philippa C Thomas
Philippa C Thomas’s landscape prints are the artist’s interpretations of the environment she is surrounded by living on the Isle of Skye. Trained as an illustrator at the Edinburgh College of Art and having gained experience as a theatre set designer, Philippa uses all those skills she has picked up over the years when crafting her prints driven by forms, shapes and space. The printmaker fell in love with the relief printing method when she first moved to Skye and learnt different printing techiques, which she had sampled while at university. Currently working from her little studio, Philippa uses an etching press comprising of two hard rollers in contact with a flat hard bed to make her whimsical, illustration-inspired prints, based on her observational drawings of the sea, fishing villages or the woods.
Usual Malarkey Prints
York-based Claire Harrison spends the majority of her time as a professional gardener. But when she’s not tending to flower beds, she can be found in her loft creating linocut prints for her Etsy shop called Usual Malarkey Prints, a practice she got into about five years ago. A creative by nature, Claire has always been into arts and crafts, and the majority of her current artwork is based on cooking. Her bestselling Ramen Noodle design and the Egg Cup, both depict precisely what the title says in a playful manner. However, her gardening background is slowly starting to seep in, as evident in her fern andmushroom images, something the printmaker hopes will continue to inspire her.
If minimalism and the simplicity of abstract forms are more in line with your aesthetic, then Particular People is for you. Started in 2018 by former graphic designer and museum exhibition designer Lynne Walker, the brand of archival quality giclée prints enables its founder to express her creativity while also dedicating a portion of her time to teaching. The process usually starts by sketch painting outdoors, as much of Lynne’s inspiration comes from the organic shapes of the natural world. She then streamlines the silhouettes into something more simplified and abstract. While a portion of her prints come in a subdued, monochrome colour palette, others are adorned with vivid tones of fuchsia, burnt orange or mustard yellow.
Pine Forest Press
Pine Forest Press was born two years ago when founder Janette Tan quit her corporate job in favour of pursuing a more creative path. Having always been interested in art growing up, the Sydney native pursued printmaking rather than her original medium of acrylic painting, as she wanted to explore the possibilities since taking an introductory printing class in high school. The technique Janette uses is linocut, consisting of carving a design onto a sheet of linoleum, a process she finds deeply therapeutic. While the surrounding nature plays a part, the most significant influence on the Aussie’s work is her love of house plants, as she hopes to convey the calming effect her own collection has on her through her artwork.
Polish-born and Sheffield-based Luiza Holub embraces all the quirks and imperfections of printmaking, as do her customers purchasing one-of-a-kind still lives (Luiza’s specialty) from her Etsy shop. Luiza, too, practices linocut printing – cutting pieces out of the lino, inking them up, and then reassembling the carved pieces onto paper like a jigsaw puzzle. The printmaker likes to freely put the pieces back into place, often creating misalignments and overlapping, which is exactly what she loves. Working from her garden studio, Luiza takes inspiration from ‘the mundane, beautiful everyday’ as she puts it, which she manages to depict in an exciting, unconventional, and beautiful way. The self-taught printmaker especially leaned into the mundane everyday during the pandemic, which resulted in her taking on printmaking full time after making prints on and off for about seven years.
Bedford-based printmaker and illustrator Hannah Carvell will add a pop (or a few) of colour to your home with her vibrant prints filled with joyful motifs like sausage dogs, pop-arty illustrations of bananas, or gorillas, as well as flowers made from multi-coloured, layered love hearts. Hannah’s limited edition prints of around 20 each, each one slightly different from the last due to their handmade nature, are crafted using the screen printing process. A mesh is used to transfer ink onto a substrate by repeated scraping to spread the colour, except in areas made impermeable by a blocking stencil. Every colour of the creator’s Hearts and Flowers artwork is designed as a separate layer and screen, continuously diluting the inks used to create different shades in a print.
Alessandra Chambers of Aeand Studio creates abstract works utilising solely hand-rendered techniques exploring a plethora of topics from travel to architecture. No part of the printmaker’s process is digital as tactility, natural materials such as linen or recycled cotton rag paper, and a neutral, earthy colour palette are what she is drawn to. Alessandra often uses paper cut-outs to create her conceptual, shape-driven patterns. She favours the screen-printing technique, which she performs on a fabric printing table, often leading to texture and irregularities that the founder embraces and celebrates. While her online shop is currently taking a hiatus, with a brand-new collection arriving at the end of the summer, Alessandra’s works are still available through a few selected stockists. One is interiors store Caro Somerset, for which she created an exclusive series of folklore-inspired wall prints. And if you want to find out more about Alessandra’s creative process, then have a read of 91’s Meet The Maker feature here.
Nature and the printing process itself are the only sources of inspiration for London-based printmaker Jo Hill. Her botanical linocut prints portray everything from house plants to currently her most popular works featuring a variety of seaweed in richly pigmented hues of mustard yellow, burgundy and moss green. This is in a bid to bring a sense of calm to your home through her art in the midst of all the everyday chaos and to show how much we can benefit from being in nature. Creating from her home studio in North London, Jo hand-carves sheets of lino to then imprint on traditional handmade Japanese washi paper, known to be delicately thin yet durable.
Inspiration can strike anytime and anywhere for Leeds-based printmaker Emily Edwards, which is why her phone is filled with pictures of interesting compositions, colour combinations, and shadows that she encounters in her everyday life when on the go. Parts of these are then often translated into her creating process, which usually starts for Emily by playing with pieces of cut paper, combining collaging and painting. Doing everything by hand is what enchants Emily, and so do bold, joyful colours, which are always present in her artworks. She then moves on to her printing using the risograph technique, a digital process known for creating spontaneous and unpredictable effects.
Founded in 2015 by Carys Briggs, Stoff Studios knows how to bring a sense of sun-soaked summer holidays into a home, whether it’s indeed the middle of the summer or the depth of winter. Trained as a textile designer at the Royal College of Art and Central St Martins, Carys also creates an extensive collection of hand-screen-printed wall prints with matching motifs to the rest of her offering. These include seashells, an illustrated sun design, and amphora-style vases, each of which boasts a Mediterranean aesthetic and bold colour combinations. Based in a river-side studio in London’s Woolwich, the designer prints each piece on heavy-weight paper crafted from recycled disposable coffee cups with sustainability in mind.
Leeds-based print designer and illustrator Sophie Forster is all about the ‘feel-good’ aesthetic, in which uplifting colours play a key role. Recently graduating from the Leeds Art University with a degree in textile and surface pattern design, Sophie uses mixed mediums to create her work, from collaging – one of her favourites – to screen-printing and drawing, finished by digital manipulation. The themes explored in her prints are varied as Sophie is influenced by the everyday. Hence, anything goes – from a bowl of ramen noodles to a Greek landscape or even psychedelic motifs like patterned, starry mushrooms or stairs to the sky.