For those who don’t know, Glom Press is: We’re a small risograph printer based in Melbourne. we mainly print comics, zines, posters and art. Our time is split between printing our own work and work for hire.
What is risograph – or affectionately known as riso – printing? Riso printing is a somewhat anachronistic technology that is still in use, combining photocopying and screen printing. It’s seen a renewed vitality as a simple and relatively inexpensive way to reproduce small press comics, zines or art, with a vividly coloured and beautiful aesthetic.
What are the origins of riso printing? Riso is a Japanese company that make digital duplicators and have since 1986. Our two Risograph machines used to be owned by a real estate agent/ right-wing political propagandist and a catholic high school in Tasmania.
Upon the first point of contact, what are some of the most frequently asked technical questions from artists, and the like? Mainly people ask about mixing colours and separating layers.
What is the riso printers point of difference, compared to other printers? Riso printing has the aesthetics of handprinted techniques like silkscreening or linocut works, but with more of the speed and efficiency of digital or offset processes.
Does the riso printer have physical limitations that publishers and artists need to consider when selecting this type of printing, or is the sky the limit? There are a bunch of limitations and considerations. Alignment and registration between multiple layers can never be consistently perfect. Mainly because most artist run machines are old and constantly falling apart (our two machines were made in 1994 and 2004 respectively). We print at the max size of A3, and so all books or prints are printed either at A3 or smaller, then cut down.
What characteristics of the riso printer determine the finished product? Working with a limited palette of colours on separate layers is distinct from creating full colour images in pigment or digital. Knowledge of how images reproduce and colours mix on riso ultimately informs how your colour works for printing.
Let’s talk paper stock and ink, what does the riso printer need to work its magic? We work with a max of 150-200gsm A3 nongloss stock, or anything smaller and thinner than that. We print with soy based RISO brand inks manufactured by the Riso company. Our paper of choice for printing is KW Doggetts 150gsm Envirocare recycled paper.
Hypothetically, if we were to send you 500 copies of a 12-page tabloid paper to print, how long would it take? Three to five days maybe?
You print posters, art, comics, & zines with the riso printer…but if you could print ANYTHING (and had infinite time), what would you print? A faux CMYK newspaper comics anthology maybe or a human cadaver to harvest organs from or a concept like truth.