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Risograph Printing - What's that, I hear you say?

A Risograph machine is a digital duplicator from Japan, manufactured by the Riso Kagaku Corporation. It was launched in Japan in 1986 and was designed for high-volume photocopying and printing, however in recent years it has become a medium in its own right.

The technology used by the Risograph is similar to that of a screenprint and automates several processes that were normally carried out manually.

The Risograph creates a master of the original image using a thermal plate, whose tiny heat spots burn voids (corresponding to the image areas) on a thermal, rice-based paper sheet. This process is very similar to the one used when making a stencil within screenprinting but requires a lot less preparation. Because of this, Risograph machines are sometimes described as halfway between screenprinting and photocopying. Once the stencil is on the drum and the ink has been applied, the paper is then fed flat through the machine whilst the drum itself rotates at high speed to apply ink to the image.

The inks used in Risograph printing are made from a vegetable soybean oil, making them more environmentally friendly than petroleum-based inks. The pigments themselves aren't 100% biodegradable, but they are easier to recycle as the soy ink can be more easily removed during the paper de-inking process used in recycling.

I hope that gives you a bit more of an insight into Risograph, here are examples of the prints I have created with this process.

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