Printmaking Technique

Printmaking is an art form that creates prints that are unique and visually aesthetic. It is used so multiple copies of the same art piece can be sold or given to different people. It takes a piece of art and adds a degree of originality (whether intentionally or by accident) to it so it is considered an impression. There are many different methods we will be talking about within this post.

Prints are made by transferring ink from a matrix (holds the image and is filled with ink) to a material, usually metal or paper using multiple techniques. However, many modern printmaking processes do not require a matrix such as screen printing. Different metals are used for different techniques, for example for lithography stone, aluminum, or polymer are common types due to their strength and visual element. 

Artists tend to use printmaking in order to replicate their work to sell multiple copies of it. Each different print is considered an ‘impression’ of the previous. Whilst artists mainly used printmaking for practical purposes, it also allows an extra creative flair to an artist’s work, as each different printmaking technique leaves a different ‘finish’, and can add to the personality of the piece. However, printmaking can be a very long and difficult process that involves a lot of skill and patience.

There are many different printmaking techniques and those techniques can be split into three main categories: relief techniques, intaglio techniques, stencil techniques, and ‘other’ which are techniques that do not fit into those three categories and are often less common.

Relief techniques is a method of printing which involves raising a surface where non-image or non-shaper areas have been hacked away. Woodcut is a prime example, as this is the oldest and easiest printmaking method, which involves taking a piece of wood and cutting it either by hand or machine and rubbing ink all over it. Once the woodblock with ink is pressed onto paper it should create an image. 

The intaglio printmaking method involves cutting an image into the center of a plate, which is either done with tools or acid, then the ink is applied to the plate and is held in the focus image areas and wiped from the surface. Afterward, the image is then printed on a press onto dampened paper. Techniques within this method include engraving, drypoint, mezzotint, etching, aquatint, and photogravure. 

An intaglio method that has a particularly interesting process is photogravuring. This is a photographic technique that is combined with aquatint. It involves a metal plate, which is heated and powdered with rosin for an aquatint ground. Then, this image is taken to a dark room, where it is exposed from a photo positive transparency onto a gravure carbon film. Later, the image is put on to the metal plate which is then soaked in water (has to be warm) which leaves the carbon print to go away. The image is then left. Afterward, you must add ferric chloride to the copper in order to produce a well-filtered image. This process is finished by applying the finished plate to the traditional intaglio methods.

Furthermore, another intaglio method is gravure printing. This technique provides high-quality and excellently produced prints. Within this process, a copper plate is grained in order to give the prin a texture and depth. Interestingly, this technique was developed by the prominent pair that revolutionized photography –  Nicéphore Niépce and Henry Fox Talbot. 

Stencil techniques are relatively easy and straightforward in comparison to other printmaking methods as it just involves printing through a cutout and then filling up the cutout, and the space around it is left blank in order to leave the desired shape. There are many different stencil techniques like screen printing, monoprint, lithography, and digital prints. Screen printing is a rather modern technique that many designers opt for now due to the vibrancy and color pigment.

A more traditional stencil technique is lithography. Lithography involves drawing an image on a smooth and flat material (like on aluminum or zinc plates), then processing it with a mild etching solution which leaves it damp, and then applying the ink with a roller. The image pushes away the water and leaves the ink on the surface. 

Aluminum paintings can make good paintings for homes, as they are beautiful and unique. There are only two printers that can produce this precise and stand-out effect, and you can actually buy them from us at Decor Art! We have a range of iconic art pieces turned into foil paintings for you to order online and embrace in your home. 

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Printmaking Technique

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