Firstly, she takes the unworked block and cuts out the highlights – those parts that will show as unprinted areas of paper. She then rolls up the block with printing ink, usually the lightest colour, and prints it on every sheet of paper for the complete edition, plus a few extra proofs.
She then cleans the block and cuts away all the areas, which are to remain in this first colour. The block is inked up with the second colour and then printed over the first printing. This process is repeated as many times as there are colours needed. Usually by the time the final colour is reached, very little uncut block remains.
Correct registration of each colour is vital, as a mis-register could completely obliterate small details. The method requires mental agility and great concentration. It is all too easy to cut away some crucial part, mistakes are irrevocable and the print can never be repeated.
Knowing this the term ‘limited edition artist’s print’ takes on a greater significance.