Getting my RISO on…

People who follow my Instagram account know I love snapping away with my iPhone. For the longest time I have been thinking about printing the best pictures and putting on a show or curating a little zine but somehow I didn’t find the right medium to translate the images from digital to offline.

When I dropped by Ditto Press during a magazine launch party I saw all the great Riso printing they have been doing so far and inspiration struck!

When they offered a 4 colour risk printing workshop I jumped onto the opportunity to learn more…

According to Wikipedia Risography is “…a high-speed digital printing system manufactured by the Riso Kagaku Corporation and was designed mainly for high-volume photocopying and printing.” Fun fact: All the ink is soy oil based and directly imported from Japan to guarantee the best quality!

If I had to describe the process with my own words I would say it’s a screen printing machine trapped in a photocopier, making it possible to print up to 4 colour leaflets and posters in bulk at a cheap cost.

In order to trick the eye into seeing a bigger array of colours the artwork needs to get colour separated and the dots meticulously aligned. Good that Ben from Ditto was ready to lend a helping hand!

He provided cold beers to improve our ability to absorb technical explanations ( at least that’s my theory ) and showed some sexy Riso printed books. He then explained how the artwork is getting colour separated and prepared for printing.

Making things look that good is a science in itself for sure!

After this technical introduction we moved to the print room where we got introduced to the machine that makes all the magic happen. After doing some test prints it was time to start the printing process.

The print is layered and starts with printing the two lightest colours first. Then the ink drums are changed and the last two colours are added with printing the darkest colour last. Fine tuning manually the alignment of the screens is important to get the best result.

The printing itself took a few minutes and after all was done each participant of the workshop could take a nice amount of prints back home. I really liked how the colours popped and how the overlaying of ink gave an interesting texture to the final artwork.

I’d say: Job well done!

Riso is a very fun technique to get artwork out there so I can recommend checking out the workshops, events and publications Ditto Press runs!

Ditto Press
4 Benyon Road
London N1 5TY