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Gocco user and enthusiast {printed in Art Bureau 10}

Have you ever been sitting in your apartment-studio and said to yourself, “You know, I really wish I had a readily available means of creating hand-printed paper goods, t-shirts and packaging for my small, yet promising craft business, but I don’t have the space or know-how for setting up a screen-print studio, and rubber stamps are for scrap-booking housewives?” Wouldn’t it be great if someone invented a home printmaking device that was economically accessible, easy to use, and small enough to fit in a shoebox? Well, I have the answer. It’s called the Print Gocco Kit, made by Riso. They cost about $150 at Paper Source, and it won’t be a waste of your creative space and energy.

I purchased my first Print Gocco Kit in 2005. I wanted to have the ability to make handmade paper goods to sell (on a small scale) and to be able to personalize and create original packaging without having to leave my home or use a professional printer. Since my Print Gocco purchase, I have made original thank you card/envelope sets, stickers and tags and have printed on hundreds of shipping envelopes. I find that there are some things that my home HP printer can handle and some things that I need to outsource to a professional, but for all those things in between, it is Gocco time!

I could, probably, spend a great deal of time trying to explain what the Print Gocco actually is, and how to use it. Truth is, though, you won’t really understand until you own one and experiment. Everyone has developed their own methods to accomplish what they need to create. For example, some folks will use computer printouts as their master template/image. I am a fan of just exposing the original pen drawing as my master image. After squeezing ink directly on the small screen, which was exposed by flashbulbs, you can make, by essentially stamping, any number of prints depending on how much ink you have or until you develop carpal tunnel-like symptoms. You can print on paper or fabric. You can do pretty much anything—that is, if Riso makes the accessory for it. For more in-depth instructions, check out Claire Russell’s book The New Gocco Guide. To see what people actually make with this thing, check out the Gocco group on Flickr.

Now, the Print Gocco isn’t the total gift from the creative gods that I hoped it would be. There are a few problems. One: you can only print on a space about four inches by six inches. Two: it is not really made for advanced color separation. So, if you are looking to print large, seven-color posters for your band’s upcoming warehouse gig, this isn’t for you. Riso makes a larger version, but it’s about $700. It’s not much bigger or better. Stick to silk screening for band posters.

With the Print Gocco, the basic color application recommended is to apply all the colors you need on one screen, and print them in one fell swoop. I have tried to separate the colors and print them in layers, but have yet to figure out an efficient way of doing this. It is possible, but I feel that it takes a good deal of jerry rigging and goes against the device’s natural abilities. Because of this, successful Gocco prints tend to be simple designs.

There are more problems than that, but nothing is perfect, and what it can do outweighs, for my purposes, what it can’t do. In the end, it is really the perfect device on the market for printmaking on a small or medium scale. I say get one and play with it if you have a couple hundred to spare and your crafty needs have not been met by other options out there. It is worth it.


Katy Horan is a Brooklyn-based illustrator with a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. She has shown her work across the country in a variety of galleries including: ThinkSpace Gallery (LA), Ritual (SF) and the Chelsea Market Gallery (NY).

Her achievements range from designing album art for various indie bands to being chosen as one of American Illustrator 25 chosen artists. Tiny Showcase has shown Katy's work twice. Once in October 2005 and the other in June 2006, but those prints are long gone. Her work has been printed in Arthur Magazine, Copper Press, and Yeti. Art Bureau would like to thank her for designing the cover for Art Bureau 10 and for supplying 50 Gooco prints to the deluxe editions. To see more of her works, or to purchase limited-edition Gocco prints, stickers and more, please visit Katy Art.

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Comment by Art Bureau on September 15, 2008 at 10:03am
Katy Gocco printed (and hand-assembled) the Deathly Spirits book herself.
Comment by Kelsey Smith on September 15, 2008 at 9:56am
PPS- that Deathly Spirits book is amazing! Did you make that with the Gocco?
Comment by Kelsey Smith on September 15, 2008 at 9:55am
PS- I'm a big fan of Art Bureau.
Comment by Kelsey Smith on September 15, 2008 at 9:55am
This is a really great overview of Print Gocco. I have one that I got for free (!) on freecycle, but I've been intimidated when I tried to figure out how to use it and have busted it out several times only to put it back in the closet with sorrow. Maybe your post will be the inspiration I need to actually figure the dang thing out. Thanks for sharing!

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