What is Printmaking?
Nowadays, when people think of printing, more often than not they think of digital printing, basically a photographic reproduction.
We hope that this quick glossary of the different printing methods used by our artists will give you further appreciation to our artwork and feel like we do that the printing method is an artform in itself.
A means of incising lines in a metal plate with acid for printing in the intaglio technique. The plate is first covered with an acid resistant ground through which the artist scratches a design with a stylus or needle, revealing the bare metal below. This plate is then immersed in an acid bath that cuts the incised lines into the plate. Etched lines often betray the subtle motions of the artist's fingertips.
Similar to etching, but the lines are simply scratched into the plate manually, without the use of acid. The hallmark of a drypoint is a soft and often rather thick or bushy line somewhat like that of an ink pen on moist paper.
Any of the techniques in which an image or tonal area is printed from lines or textures scratched or etched into a metal plate (engraving, etching, drypoint, aquatint, lift ground, soft ground). The plate is covered with ink, then wiped clean, leaving ink in the incised lines or textures of the image. This plate is then printed in a press on moistened paper. The paper is forced down into the area of the plate holding ink, and the image is transferred to the paper.
A form of intaglio printing in which lines are incised into a metal plate with a carving tool called a burin. The characteristics of burin engraving differ from that of etching in that engraving, requiring considerable force, is done from the strength of the arm and eliminates the quavering autographic qualities of etching, which is done more from the fingertips like fine drawing. The hallmarks of engraving are often elegantly swelling and tapering lines.
A printing technique in which the image is drawn on a very flat slab of limestone (or a specially treated metal plate). This stone is treated chemically so that ink, when rolled on to the stone, adheres only where the drawing was done. This inked image can then be transferred to a piece of paper with the help of a high pressure press.
A form of stencil printing in which the stencil is adhered to a fine screen for support. Ink can be squeegeed through the screen onto paper. Screen printing can have a hard edged quality caused by the crisp edges of the stencil. Also referred to as "silk screen" and "serigraphy."
A relief print carved in the end grain of a block of wood whose thickness is the same as the height as a piece of movable type ("type high"). This was traditionally a commercial technique practiced by specialists and used in magazines and book illustrations.
A relief print usually carved in the plank grain of a piece of wood. After the relief image has been carved in the plank with knives or gouges it is inked with a dauber or roller. It can then be printed by hand (in which case a sheet of paper is laid down on the inked plank and rubbed from the back with a smooth surface such as the palm of the hand or a wooden spoon) or with the help of a mechanical press.
A variant of woodcut in which a sheet of linoleum (sometimes mounted on a wooden block) is used for the relief surface. A design is cut into the linoleum surface with a sharp knife, V-shaped chisel or gouge, with the raised areas representing a reversal (mirror image) of the parts to show printed. The actual printing can be done by hand or with a press.