Register and print as follows:
- Prepare a color image in Adobe Photoshop with a minimum of 100-150mm (4 to 6 inches) space above the image. The other three sides should have a border at least 24mm (1 inch) wide.
- Create registration marks on the four corners of the four-color digital halftone file before splitting the channels.
- Print each transparency in black ink. For detailed instructions on preparing an image file for Intaglio Types, see: 'Process Color Intaglio Type' by David Jay-Reed in Keith Howard's The Contemporary Printmaker . However, this new registration method does not require the image files to be manipulated with blur or noise tools while being prepared in Photoshop.
- Register all transparencies by laying them over one another and - using the registration marks as guides - clip or stick them together using large paper clips, small pieces of double-sided tape etc., to stop them shifting. This is the most crucial step; great care should be taken to ensure all transparencies are perfectly registered with one another. Center the clipped pieces properly in a hole-punch and punch two holes at the middle of the top edge for registration.
- A few sheets of intaglio printing paper, the same size as the plate, should be calendered and dried flat the previous day. For added support, attach clear tape to the edge of the paper that will be used for registration or use hole strengtheners on both sides. Then punch registration holes on all sheets of paper in a manner similar to that of the transparencies.
- Cut four 3000 to 2000 gauge PETG or Styrene plates to the size of the transparencies. Center them properly and punch two holes at the top center of each plate in the same way as on the transparencies.
- Laminate a piece of ImagOn (large enough for the image) on each plate.
- Using registration pins, register each transparency to a laminated plate and expose in an exposure unit.
- Develop all four plates and ink them using nontoxic Akua intaglio ink.
- Dampen the printing papers that are already punched with registration holes and dry between blotters. The paper may buckle slightly underneath the tape, but this should not create any problems so long as a gap of 100-150mm (4 to 6 inches) is maintained between the image and registration holes. Register the paper first with the yellow plate by fixing the registration pins outside to prevent blanket damage. A space of 150mm (6 inches) between registration pins and image will give the roller sufficient room to print the image. Print the yellow plate; fix the registration pins onto the bed with masking tape.
- Print the rest of the plates by replacing the first printed plate with each subsequent color plate. Each time, the paper must be removed from each printed plate and should be attached into the registration pins of the next plate. Assuming the instruction in step 4 have been followed properly, all colors will register perfectly and printing will be easy.
- Print an edition or series of variations.
The process is not limited to digital half-tone Intaglio Types. Any hand-prepared transparencies can be used, provided one follows the correct procedures for each technique.
By reducing the uncertainties of previous methods, this system enables printmakers to enjoy the printing process and its image-making potential. It should also save valuable time and energy. In The Contemporary Printmaker  Keith Howard writes:
"The evolution of contemporary (nontoxic) intaglio printmaking started in 1991 with my first book... It became the catalyst for artists from all over the world to re-think and re-invent printmaking in an unconventional, innovative, and safer manner."
I am happy to be part of this research and particularly pleased to have solved a problem that plagued me for years and put me off four color intaglio. Using ImagOn with this registration system has made printing four color intaglio not only viable but also enjoyable.
1. See LITHCOPRODUCTS for images of these registration pins
2. The Complete Printmaker, The Free Press, Ed., Roundtable Press, revised & expanded 1990
3. The Contemporary Printmaker, Keith Howard, New York: Write-Cross Press, 2003