I began experimenting with Risograph Printing on 19th February 2016. Risograph -named after the manufacturer, Riso Kagaku Corp, is a combination of photocopier meets mimeograph, a printing system that proved its qualities and convenience by enabling the production of superior quantity printing on limited funds. Like any new new process, using Risograph took some getting used too, but also helped stretch my imagination. Developed in the 1980’s the Risograph Printing has become popular for high volume print runs, it is capable of duplicating prints from its built-in scanning bed, but has the dual advantage of being used as a conventional network printer. These last features have become useful to designers and illustrators, and the Risograph system comes into its own for those who are printing relatively small numbers of a product, such as works of art, fanzines or small runs of self-published and manufactured books.
Riso printing, as it has become more commonly known as, uses master sheets to transfer the ink from the drum and onto the moving paper from a design than can be programmed digitally or by using the in-built scanner. The artwork is then transferred onto master sheets using a series of hotspots on the thermal plate which then proceeds to burn away the outline of the artwork, leaving voids in the master sheet, This then wraps around the ink drum so allowing whatever colours (ink) are being used, to be forced through the voids, onto the paper at a high speed.
Each print using this master will have the same colour, using more than one colour means removing the interchangeable ink-drum, replacing with the next colour and creating a new master to wrap around the drum.
Riso as a printing method is definitely a more cost-effective option when considered against other reproduction processes (screen printing or offset lithography) and provides similar aesthetics, and beautiful and varied colour overlays, plus a single sheet of paper can be passed through as few or as many times as desired to build up multi layered colours.