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     Printmaking is a way of creating artworks by printing or transferring an image from one surface onto another.  Multiple “impressions” may be made from a single printing plate, almost like creating a stamp and stamping an image over and over.  

     Prints are often editioned - a set number of prints will be created from one plate.  If you see a numbered fraction (ex. 1/10, 7/25, etc) on a print, it is part of an edition! (1/10 would be print 1 in a set of 10).  

Since the plate is re-inked for each image and hand printed every time, each resulting print is considered an original work of art! (Compared to a digitally printed reproduction of an art work, where each resulting print would be considered a copy or print, not an original).


     Lithography is a printing method based on the fact that grease and water don’t mix.  An image is created on a flat stone or metal plate with greasy inks or crayons and etched with acid to become permanent in the plate and create the greasy/non-greasy reactive areas.  When the stone or plate is inked up, it is kept wet so that the greasy ink will be attracted to the greasy image area and repelled from the wet non-image areas.


     Intaglio is a printmaking method in which an image is incised into a surface, and the incised line, or sunken area, holds the ink.  Intaglio is the direct opposite of relief printing (where the ink is held on the raised surface, not the sunken area). Intaglio prints can be made by etching with acid or directly carving into a surface (drypoint).

     With etching, a copper plate is covered in a hard ground that will protect the surface from the acid.  A needle or scribe tool can than be used to carve through the ground, exposing those areas to the acid.  The longer the plate stays in the acid, the deeper (and thus darker) the etched line will be.  

     In drypoint, a plate (copper, plexiglas, etc.) is directly carved into with the needle or scribe tool.  The deeper the line is carved, the darker the resulting printed line will be.


     Screenprinting is a stencil printmaking process where ink is pushed through a fine screen onto a surface beneath.  To make the stencil on the screen, the screen is first covered with an emulsion that will react and harden under light.  Wherever the light is blocked from hitting the emulsion, will then be able to be washed out and become the image that will print.  Ink is pulled over the screen with a squeegee like tool, pushing the ink through the stencil to the paper below.


     Woodcuts and linocuts are both forms of relief printing - a printing method where ink is applied to a raised surface.  An image may be carved into a piece of wood or linoleum then inked up and printed to make a woodcut or linocut print. Think of it like making a stamp!


     A collagraph is essentially a Print made from a collage!  Different materials such as tape, leaves, lace, torn paper, etc. are glued to a board, then sealed with a coat of varnish, lacquer, etc.  The board is then inked up and printed to make a collagraph print.