I often conduct workshops but very rarely do I get to be a participant these days. So I was really happy to have joined Bad Student’s Risograph Workshop a few weeks back! Bad Student, founded by talented young local artists Pau Tiu and Dyam Gonzales, is the only art studio in the Philippines that provide full color Risograph services.
It was a fun and interesting afternoon learning about the perks and indiosyncracies of said copy machine. In case you’re not familiar, a Risograph is a high-volume copier released in the mid-eighties that uses real ink (unlike laser copiers or Xerox machines which use heat and powder to transfer image). It has two interchangeable ink drums in its system thereby allowing it to print two colors in one pass.
At the workshop with Bad Student, participants were told to hand-draw and design an eight-panel zine of any style or topic. And because we printed these zines in two-color, we had to create a sketch for each color which were then printed as one through the Risograph. We were allowed to pick a combination based on the swatches they provided.
It was my first time to make a zine! I wanted to make it meaningful but also not overthink it. So the idea I ended up executing was to loosely doodle my love story in eight frames — from when I first met Kayo to our engagement and finally, to our current family setting of five. It was fun to make! We did encounter some technical difficulties though, which required some digital editing on my master sketches. But that taught me a lot about how color values and balance play a huge part in the process and how I can manipulate it in order to come out with a good print. So after all, the Risograph is not just all copy and print. There’s also quite a bit of math and science that goes into it if used for artistic purposes.
I’m happy I joined that class. I may not have any intention of purchasing a Risograph but if I ever want to print something in this process, it’s cool that I now have a better idea how to design for it. Colored riso prints definitely have a certain bold retro charm that you probably won’t easily achieve in standard digital prints. I guess you can say the Risograph is the hipster of printers!
Bad Student is moving to a new home soon but you can follow and check them out on Instagram: @_badstudent