Printmaking Terms – Week 4

This is a very vast subject . There are many printmaking methods that have been developed from the beginning when man wanted to communicate with each other. What I will try to do here is a little resume and defines some of those terms.

Relief Prints: the surface of a block creates the image. The areas that do not print are cut away

Types of relief prints:

  • Woodcuts.
  • Wood engraving: similar method to woodcut, however the result is more refined.
  • Linocuts: it is like woodcuts but uses a resin instead.

Intaglio Prints: opposite to relief prints the carved areas are filled with ink and then it is press passed  over to the media or printing material. This is achieved by scratching the metal surface with a sharp needle, by using acid or by punching with a hammer.

Types of intaglio prints:

– Non-acid Techniques:

  • Drypoint. A sharp needle is used to create very fine lines
  • Engraving. A Sharp burin is used to create lines
  • Criblé . By hammering with different size punches the artist create patterns over a metal plate.
  • Mezzotint. It is a drypoint method where the pattern is achieved by using the hatching and cross hatching technique in other to create values.

– Acid Techniques:

  • Etching. The plate is protected against acid. Then lines cut the protection layer allowing the acid to corrode the plate.
  • Aquatint. A dust with acid protection resin is heated and fasted to a metal plate. The resin creates small dots where the acid will not be able to corrode exposing other areas. The artist by creating a negative image by layering acid protection and by exposing the plate repeatedly to acid produces different depth over the plate. That plate will later absorb ink generating different bright and shades when pressed into a print media.

Screen Prints: it consists on allowing the ink to flow through a fine fibre over to the printing material. A stencil is used to create a pattern by only allowing the pigment to reach some parts of the surface.

Lithographs: it is a technic base on the fact that water and oil never blend. The artist would use a wax crayon to draw the pattern over a porous limestone. Then a chemical reaction would etch the areas that were not protected by the wax. Latter water would fill in the pores not allowing the ink to sit there. It then gives a clean and define inked pattern that would then be pressed over to the printing area.

Offset Lithographic Printing: Curent offset printers work with a similar method where the stone is replaced by an aluminium plate that is place over a roll that then would pass the ink to a gummy mat (it is the reason why it is called offset) then it would press the ink against the paper.

Monoprint: this technic is similar to press print but it is only possible to create one piece. It is done by overlaying ink and materials like cotton, fabrics, papers or previous patterns and pressing it with a roller .

Monotypes: a method similar to a monoprint, however there are no previous patterns or matrix use for the production of a piece. It is a completely original print not possible to reproduce again.

Foil imaging: by using a hot plate the artist creates compositions from layering stamping metallic foil over each other. The colours varies accordingly to the transparencies properties of the foil been used.

Digital print: it is the process of converting a digital content into print by mechanical devices such as laser or inkjet printers over a variety of media.

Printmaking Terms


The Complete Printmaker: Techniques, Traditions, Innovations
ISBN: 9780029273722

Sketching Techniques and Illustration (Illustration by Andrew Hall)

How to Print a Linocut 

Wikipedia Linocut 

The Linocut Process

Foil Imaging: A Lecture by Kimberlee Rocca 

Wikipeadia Monoprinting


Making a Monoprint 

Monotype Demonstration with Barbara van Buskirk 

What is the difference between a Lithograph and a Giclee? 

Offset Litho Explained


What is Printmaking?

Vimeo Printmaking!  

Wikipedia Printmaking 

Colin Bygrave: Etching – Part 4 (Aquatint) 


Wikipeadia Digital printing 

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