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COVID restrictions lead to creative connections and new skills: Dian Darmansjah

With COVID restrictions affecting travel to remote communities, printmaker Dian Darmansjah is supporting his clients, learning new skills and attracting new audiences through his online video tutorials.


Sunshine Coast based artist and printmaker Dian Darmansjah works with artists from Indigenous Arts Centres across Australia, often spending time with artists in community to develop skills and artworks.

When COVID-19 travel restrictions came into place, limiting his ability to travel to remote First Nations communities, Dian adapted the way he worked by creating a series of instructional printmaking videos to support printmakers.

By learning new film-making and editing skills, Dian created an eight-part series on the basics of relief printing, which he published on Youtube for easy viewing by the public.

The series provides information about single colour relief printing, from the initial drawing, through carving to printing, curating and storing.

Dian Darmansjah

When and where

June 2020 - February 2021, Cooran, Sunshine Coast

Arts Queensland investment 

$7,577 through the Individuals Fund, April 2020.

The Individuals Fund supports individual artists and cultural workers to participate in transformational professional and career development opportunities.


  • New skills and knowledge: Dian learned new skills in film-making, editing and website development and maintenance. These new skills will allow him to continue to share his content and knowledge with clients and communities from afar.
  • Created a range of instructional videos: Dian developed eight instructional videos to support the ongoing learning needs of his clients and others interested in the art of printmaking.
  • Expanded professional networks: Through creating his printmaking videos, Dian developed greater connections with others across Australia, by sharing and promoting his work[ could we include an example].
    • Anmatyerre artist & printmaker Jacinta Numina Waugh used the videos as a resource to help develop a series of workshops she delivered in Darwin, NT.
    • Diploma of Visual Arts students at South Bank TAFE, QLD used it a resource in their studies.

Learnings and reflections from Dian

Planning, testing and good equipment are important

Story-boarding and the setting up shots and content in advance is very worthwhile as it saves time having to trouble shoot and reshoot whilst filming.

Keep the videos short and direct, under 6 minutes is preferred. The original cut of the first video was almost 20 minutes long, feedback I received was that although the content was good, it was too much all at once.

Trial instructional videos on audience with limited (if any) knowledge base on the content.  See if they understand the content and see if they would feel comfortable in trying the technique based on the instructions in the videos.

Whilst you can do a lot with footage in the editing process, having consistent sound and lighting can save hours editing.

Using quality equipment (especially for sound) is really worthwhile, as a soundtrack is difficult to correct.

Instructional videos had benefits beyond the initial audience.

I created this resource for a particular purpose (for artists I have collaborated with in remote communities) but it has already proved a useful resource for a former staff member, students and peers.

Future of videos in complementing face-to-face

In the past I have had face-to-face interactions with the artists - I usually go to the community and work with the artists in the art centre. As this was not possible due to travel restrictions, we had to rely on email and phone communications, and I found that these were not as engaging for the artists as face-to-face contact. In the future, I hope the videos will complement the face-to-face interaction when travel is more likely again.

Video 1 of Intro to Relief Printing with Dian Darmansjah. View the full video series here.


Tips for others

Back up everything on an external hard drive and/or the cloud, as equipment failure can cost you weeks of can still cost you hours even if you did back up everything. – Dian Darmansjah


What next?

Dian is planning to run more collaborative printing workshops using digital content. He will also add to his video series, including information on other printmaking techniques.

Find out more

Firebox Print Studio website 

Video series