Introduction to letterpress with Tom Boulton

Ref: SWE31613

Location: West Dean
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About this course

A fast paced introduction to letterpress printing. You will learn a variety of new skills and make several letterpress prints.

Course Description

Learn all aspects of letterpress printing through getting hands-on and inky on this course.

Each session will be jam-packed with information, from how to set up printing presses, how to achieve the best possible print, where to source machines, maintenance advice, history of letterpress, and other tips that can be used across many other printing disciplines.

During the sessions, you will learn how to handle and set type, as well as different inking techniques and effects. You will learn about the fundamentals of design and composition with type, utilise a selection of the tutor’s own woodblock type collection, print your own unique poster/s and use the tutor’s 1950’s George Pallister Proofing press or West Dean College’s very own Farley or Albion presses.

Over the course, you will create a custom edition of letterpress print/s, print and hand bind a personal notebook and print some ephemeral items to take home.

By the end of the course, you will have learnt many letterpress printing skills for use in your future creative endeavours.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • Ink, newsprint, 5 sheets of printing paper, newsprint, card, copier paper, low odour solvent, unwaxed book binding thread and needle

What students need to bring

  • Apron

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of art materials including inks and papers

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


Tom Boulton portrait

Tom Boulton

Tom Boulton studied typographic design at the London College of Printing then became a self-taught letterpress printer. With over ten years’ experience he has been commissioned by the likes of Tate Modern, Fortnum and Mason, Southbank Centre and The Design Museum. He has features in publications such as Creative Review, The Telegraph and Country Living, and has won a D&AD award.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.