Faculty of Art Printmaking Course

Printmaking Course

Beauty beyond imagination is born in a moment

What kinds of images do we associate with printmaking? Woodcut printing with a motif hand-carved into a wooden block? Or etching with its intricate linework? These are certainly part of printmaking, but printmaking as a form of creative expression is much broader and deeper than you may think. And it can be extended even further depending on your ideas and creative effort.

Originally, “printmaking” meant a duplicated image printed with ink. Today the four fundamental techniques of printing are woodcut, etching, lithography, and silkscreen printing. Singularly within Japanese higher education, SEIKA’s curriculum includes every method since it has paid attention to the potential and rich variety of printmaking techniques since its early times. SEIKA also offers its own newly innovated polymer printmaking, which students can use combined with photography and computer graphics. In addition, the course has its own papermaking studio as well.

Despite acquiring various techniques and making use of top-level facilities, it is difficult to perfect work exactly as envisioned because the arbitrary and unpredictable come into play throughout the various processes of putting colors onto print media and printing an image onto a sheet of paper. But this is precisely what makes printmaking interesting. Those fascinated by printmaking all say that the most exciting moment is when the paper is lifted from the printing surface to reveal the actual result.

Printmaking students need to incorporate these elements that cannot be calculated or controlled into their work. The history of printmaking has created beauty beyond our expectations while also evolving alongside technological developments. Come to SEIKA and experience this excitement.

Four years in the Printmaking Course

  • 1st Year

    Starting by creating engraved surfaces

    • The first semester predominantly focuses on drafting and drawing, cultivating the shaping ability and sense of color essential for making patterns and motifs. The course also features classes on pinhole photography and polymer printmaking, through which students come to understand the broader definition of printmaking. The second semester sees students studying foundational techniques through practical production classes, working on collagraphy with aluminum plates, followed by drypoint printing, using a metal needle on a copper plate, and then woodcut printing, the most familiar technique. Finally students move on to computer graphics, the “cutting-edge printmaking” that uses computer and digital devices.

    What makes these practical modules interesting is that students can experience the different results created by each technique. In this way, students can discover the distinctive features embedded in each technique. Drypoint printmaking surprises you with how ink accidental bleeds when you scratch the plate with a needle, while woodcut printing reveals the natural and simple lines and texture of wood. Enjoy the rich and unique processes of printmaking and start looking for the printing style that is right for you.

    1st year
    1st Year Goals
    Cultivating foundational shaping abilities and a sense of color, understanding the basics in printmaking. Starting to explore your own creative journey.
  • 2nd Year

    New techniques open up your creative landscape

    Students continue to learn widely the techniques of woodcut printing and etching, while also experiencing two new types of printing—lithography, directly drawing a picture onto stone, and silkscreen, using photo-emulsion as a way to quickly transfer an image to a screen and print it. Students complete their studies of the four fundamental types of printing methods. Additionally SEIKA offers classes such as hands-on bookbinding, papermaking, digital photography, and portfolio production, enabling students to experience a much broader definition of printmaking.

    Students take lectures on the history of printmaking around the world, learning diverse creative expressions as well as techniques. In-depth knowledge and cultural refinement help students pursue their individual creative styles. Through classes, some will become interested in photography and computer graphics, while others will obtain more specialized knowledge and techniques through selecting optional classes according to their fields of interest.

    In second year students build on the comprehensive foundation of printmaking, exploring which method is best for their own creativity. Changing the direction of the study they originally envisioned in the first year also demonstrates the unpredictable nature of printmaking

    2nd year
    2nd Year Goals
    Tackling papermaking and bookbinding, acquiring a diverse range of creative means, while simultaneously investigating historical context.
  • 3rd Year

    What is the best technique for you?

    From the third year on students are assigned to seminar groups according to their choice of printing technique. Under the guidance of professors, students improve their creative abilities in special area. The choices of printing technique are woodcut printing, etching, lithography, silkscreen, polymer, and photography. No other university offers such an extensive program that includes the four fundamental methods of printmaking.

    The most distinctive is polymer printing. Specially developed at SEIKA, this environmentally-friendly and advanced method of printing exposes a special photopolymer material to UV rays, creating an engraved surface by simply washing off with water. Students will learn much from exploring this new technique, which has attracted wide attention.

    Students undertake a series of discussions with faculty members over the period of a month and a half to select the appropriate seminar for their individual interests. These seminars provide them with opportunities to set specific themes, as well as to choose methodologies through exchanging ideas with fellow students and faculty members.

    3rd year
    3rd Year Goals
    Divided into seminars according to printing technique, students engage with production work, advancing their expertise through ongoing discussions with faculty members.
  • 4th Year

    Engaging in printmaking, the excitement never ends

    Fourth year students focus on establishing the printing style that is right for them. Based on the knowledge and techniques obtained up until now, students explore how to combine what they have learned and how to express it as a whole.

    The print art “world” that expresses who you are is mediated via the various different print media. Merely glancing at the sheer variety and vividness of the graduation projects makes this plain to see. Some graduation projects even combine different types of techniques, resulting in new forms of creative expression. One student said, “Over the course of the four years the excitement I feel when lifting up the paper has never disappeared. If anything, the excitement rather increases.”

    No matter how much you polish your technique, you cannot predict the result until the very end. And the more you enhance your techniques, the greater the excitement. The course’s comprehensive program, as well as top-class facilities, expands the possibilities of printmaking, enabling students to delve into the remarkable depths of print art.

    4th year
    4th Year Goals
    Through ongoing discussions with a supervisor, planning and establishing original creativity.

Career paths after graduating from the Printmaking Course

The course covers the four fundamental techniques of printmaking, a unique curriculum in Japanese higher education. Due to the fact that students can acquire such a wide range of knowledge and techniques here, the course produces many printmakers and contemporary artists who tackle new types of printmaking creativity. Learning photography, desktop publishing, and web production enables students to utilize their knowledge in wider career paths. Furthermore, since printmaking involves an intensive series of processes, students also acquire the ability to work patiently and methodically.

Career choices

  • Artist exploring printmaking
  • Working in the printing and designing industry utilizing your printmaking knowledge
  • Photographer
  • Art educator at junior high school or high school

Other career options

  • Video game designer
  • Art producer
  • Graphic designer
  • Computer graphics designer
  • Web designer
  • Paper maker
  • Museum curator etc.

Printmaking Course Faculty Members (in Japanese)