Printmaking

Printmaking is the process of creating artworks by printing, normally on paper. Printmaking normally covers only the process of creating prints that have an element of originality, rather than just being a photographic reproduction of a painting. Except in the case of monotyping, the process is capable of producing multiples of the same piece, which is called a print. Each print produced is not considered a "copy" but rather is considered an "original". This is because typically each print varies to an extent due to variables intrinsic to the printmaking process, and also because the imagery of a print is typically not simply a reproduction of another work but rather is often a unique image designed from the start to be expressed in a particular printmaking technique. A print may be known as an impression. Printmaking (other than monotyping) is not chosen only for its ability to produce multiple impressions, but rather for the unique qualities that each of the printmaking processes lends itself to.

Prints are created by transferring ink from a matrix or through a prepared screen to a sheet of paper or other material. Common types of matrices include: metal plates, usually copper or zinc, or polymer plates for engraving or etching; stone, aluminum, or polymer for lithography; blocks of wood for woodcuts and wood engravings; and linoleum for linocuts. Screens made of silk or synthetic fabrics are used for the screenprinting process. Other types of matrix substrates and related processes are discussed below.

Multiple impressions printed from the same matrix form an edition. Since the late 19th century, artists have generally signed individual impressions from an edition and often number the impressions to form a limited edition; the matrix is then destroyed so that no more prints can be produced. Prints may also be printed in book form, such as illustrated books or artist's books.

Hokusai, The Underwave off Kanagawa
Katsushika Hokusai The Underwave off Kanagawa, 1829/1833, color woodcut, Rijksmuseum Collection
Goya - No Hay Quien Los Socorra (Nobody Can Help Them)
Francisco Goya, There is No One To Help Them, Disasters of War series, aquatint c.1810

Techniques

External video
Printmaking: Woodcuts and Engravings, Smarthistory

Overview

Printmaking techniques are generally divided into the following basic categories:

Other types of printmaking techniques outside these groups include collagraphy and viscosity printing. Collagraphy is a printmaking technique in which textured material is adhered to the printing matrix. This texture is transferred to the paper during the printing process. Contemporary printmaking may include digital printing, photographic mediums, or a combination of digital, photographic, and traditional processes.

Many of these techniques can also be combined, especially within the same family. For example, Rembrandt's prints are usually referred to as "etchings" for convenience, but very often include work in engraving and drypoint as well, and sometimes have no etching at all.

Woodcut

Albrecht Dürer, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Dulah Marie Evans, Hiroshige, Hokusai, Gustave Baumann, Hannah Tompkins, Hussein El Gebaly, Carlos Alvarado Lang

Vallotton-Raison
Félix Vallotton, La raison probante (The Cogent Reason), woodcut from the series Intimités, (1898)

Woodcut, a type of relief print, is the earliest printmaking technique, and the only one traditionally used in the Far East. It was probably first developed as a means of printing patterns on cloth, and by the 5th century was used in China for printing text and images on paper. Woodcuts of images on paper developed around 1400 in Japan, and slightly later in Europe. These are the two areas where woodcut has been most extensively used purely as a process for making images without text.

Some woodcutts of Stanislaw Raczynski
Woodcuts of Stanislaw Raczynski (1903–1982)

The artist draws a design on a plank of wood, or on paper which is transferred to the wood. Traditionally the artist then handed the work to a specialist cutter, who then uses sharp tools to carve away the parts of the block that will not receive ink. The surface of the block is then inked with the use of a brayer, and then a sheet of paper, perhaps slightly damp, is placed over the block. The block is then rubbed with a baren or spoon, or is run through a printing press. If in color, separate blocks can be used for each color, or a technique called reduction printing can be used.

Reduction printing is a name used to describe the process of using one block to print several layers of color on one print. This usually involves cutting a small amount of the block away, and then printing the block many times over on different sheets before washing the block, cutting more away and printing the next color on top. This allows the previous color to show through. This process can be repeated many times over. The advantages of this process is that only one block is needed, and that different components of an intricate design will line up perfectly. The disadvantage is that once the artist moves on to the next layer, no more prints can be made.

Another variation of woodcut printmaking is the cukil technique, made famous by the Taring Padi underground community in Java, Indonesia. Taring Padi Posters usually resemble intricately printed cartoon posters embedded with political messages. Images—usually resembling a visually complex scenario—are carved unto a wooden surface called cukilan, then smothered with printer's ink before pressing it unto media such as paper or canvas.

Engraving

Melencolia I (Durero)
"Melencolia I", engraving by Albrecht Dürer, one of the most important printmakers.

The process was developed in Germany in the 1430s from the engraving used by goldsmiths to decorate metalwork. Engravers use a hardened steel tool called a burin to cut the design into the surface of a metal plate, traditionally made of copper. Engraving using a burin is generally a difficult skill to learn.

Gravers come in a variety of shapes and sizes that yield different line types. The burin produces a unique and recognizable quality of line that is characterized by its steady, deliberate appearance and clean edges. Other tools such as mezzotint rockers, roulettes (a tool with a fine-toothed wheel) and burnishers (a tool used for making an object smooth or shiny by rubbing) are used for texturing effects.

To make a print, the engraved plate is inked all over, then the ink is wiped off the surface, leaving only ink in the engraved lines. The plate is then put through a high-pressure printing press together with a sheet of paper (often moistened to soften it). The paper picks up the ink from the engraved lines, making a print. The process can be repeated many times; typically several hundred impressions (copies) could be printed before the printing plate shows much sign of wear, except when drypoint, which gives much shallower lines, is used.

In the 20th century, true engraving was revived as a serious art form by artists including Stanley William Hayter whose Studio 17 in Paris and New York City became the magnet for such artists as Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Mauricio Lasansky and Joan Miró.

Etching

Etching is part of the intaglio family (along with engraving, drypoint, mezzotint, and aquatint.) Although the first dated etching is by Albrecht Dürer in 1515, the process is believed to have been invented by Daniel Hopfer (c.1470–1536) of Augsburg, Germany, who decorated armor in this way, and applied the method to printmaking.[1] Etching soon came to challenge engraving as the most popular printmaking medium. Its great advantage was that, unlike engraving which requires special skill in metalworking, etching is relatively easy to learn for an artist trained in drawing.

Etching prints are generally linear and often contain fine detail and contours. Lines can vary from smooth to sketchy. An etching is opposite of a woodcut in that the raised portions of an etching remain blank while the crevices hold ink. In pure etching, a metal (usually copper, zinc or steel) plate is covered with a waxy or acrylic ground. The artist then draws through the ground with a pointed etching needle. The exposed metal lines are then etched by dipping the plate in a bath of etchant (e.g. nitric acid or ferric chloride). The etchant "bites" into the exposed metal, leaving behind lines in the plate. The remaining ground is then cleaned off the plate, and the printing process is then just the same as for engraving.

Mezzotint

An intaglio variant of engraving in which the image is formed from subtle gradations of light and shade. Mezzotint—from the Italian mezzo ("half") and tinta ("tone")—is a "dark manner" form of printmaking, which requires artists to work from dark to light. To create a mezzotint, the surface of a copper printing plate is roughened evenly all over with the aid of a tool known as a rocker; the image is then formed by smoothing the surface with a tool known as a burnisher. When inked, the roughened areas of the plate will hold more ink and print more darkly, while smoother areas of the plate hold less or no ink, and will print more lightly or not at all. It is, however, possible to create the image by only roughening the plate selectively, so working from light to dark.

Mezzotint is known for the luxurious quality of its tones: first, because an evenly, finely roughened surface holds a lot of ink, allowing deep solid colors to be printed; secondly because the process of smoothing the texture with burin, burnisher and scraper allows fine gradations in tone to be developed.

The mezzotint printmaking method was invented by Ludwig von Siegen (1609–1680). The process was used widely in England from the mid-eighteenth century, to reproduce oil paintings and in particular portraits.

Aquatint

Goya-Capricho-43
"The sleep of Reason creates monsters", etching and aquatint by Francisco Goya

A technique used in Intaglio etchings. Like etching, aquatint technique involves the application of acid to make marks in a metal plate. Where the etching technique uses a needle to make lines that retain ink, aquatint relies on powdered rosin which is acid resistant in the ground to create a tonal effect. The rosin is applied in a light dusting by a fan booth, the rosin is then cooked until set on the plate. At this time the rosin can be burnished or scratched out to affect its tonal qualities. The tonal variation is controlled by the level of acid exposure over large areas, and thus the image is shaped by large sections at a time.

Goya used aquatint for most of his prints.

Drypoint

A variant of engraving, done with a sharp point, rather than a v-shaped burin. While engraved lines are very smooth and hard-edged, drypoint scratching leaves a rough burr at the edges of each line. This burr gives drypoint prints a characteristically soft, and sometimes blurry, line quality. Because the pressure of printing quickly destroys the burr, drypoint is useful only for very small editions; as few as ten or twenty impressions. To counter this, and allow for longer print runs, electro-plating (here called steelfacing) has been used since the nineteenth century to harden the surface of a plate.

The technique appears to have been invented by the Housebook Master, a south German fifteenth-century artist, all of whose prints are in drypoint only. Among the most famous artists of the old master print: Albrecht Dürer produced three drypoints before abandoning the technique; Rembrandt used it frequently, but usually in conjunction with etching and engraving.

Lithography

Honoré Daumier, Vincent van Gogh, George Bellows, Pierre Bonnard, Edvard Munch, Emil Nolde, Pablo Picasso, Odilon Redon, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Salvador Dalí, M. C. Escher, Willem de Kooning, Joan Miró, Stow Wengenroth, Elaine de Kooning, Louise Nevelson

Toulouse-Lautrec - Moulin Rouge - La Goulue
La Goulue, Lithograph poster by Toulouse-Lautrec.

Lithography is a technique invented in 1798 by Alois Senefelder and based on the chemical repulsion of oil and water. A porous surface, normally limestone, is used; the image is drawn on the limestone with a greasy medium. Acid is applied, transferring the grease to the limestone, leaving the image 'burned' into the surface. Gum arabic, a water-soluble substance, is then applied, sealing the surface of the stone not covered with the drawing medium. The stone is wetted, with water staying only on the surface not covered in grease-based residue of the drawing; the stone is then 'rolled up', meaning oil ink is applied with a roller covering the entire surface; since water repels the oil in the ink, the ink adheres only to the greasy parts, perfectly inking the image. A sheet of dry paper is placed on the surface, and the image is transferred to the paper by the pressure of the printing press. Lithography is known for its ability to capture fine gradations in shading and very small detail.

A variant is photo-lithography, in which the image is captured by photographic processes on metal plates; printing is carried out in the same way.

Screenprinting

Josef Albers, Ralston Crawford, Gene Davis. Robert Indiana, Roy Lichtenstein, Julian Opie, Bridget Riley, Edward Ruscha, Andy Warhol, and Carlos Alvarado Lang.

Screenprinting (occasionally known as "silkscreen", or "serigraphy") creates prints by using a fabric stencil technique; ink is simply pushed through the stencil against the surface of the paper, most often with the aid of a squeegee. Generally, the technique uses a natural or synthetic 'mesh' fabric stretched tightly across a rectangular 'frame,' much like a stretched canvas. The fabric can be silk, nylon monofilament, multifilament polyester, or even stainless steel.[2] While commercial screenprinting often requires high-tech, mechanical apparatuses and calibrated materials, printmakers value it for the "Do It Yourself" approach, and the low technical requirements, high quality results. The essential tools required are a squeegee, a mesh fabric, a frame, and a stencil. Unlike many other printmaking processes, a printing press is not required, as screenprinting is essentially stencil printing.

Screenprinting may be adapted to printing on a variety of materials, from paper, cloth, and canvas to rubber, glass, and metal. Artists have used the technique to print on bottles, on slabs of granite, directly onto walls, and to reproduce images on textiles which would distort under pressure from printing presses.

Monotype

Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione - The Creation of Adam - Google Art Project
Monotype by the technique's inventor, Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, The Creation of Adam, c 1642

Monotyping is a type of printmaking made by drawing or painting on a smooth, non-absorbent surface. The surface, or matrix, was historically a copper etching plate, but in contemporary work it can vary from zinc or glass to acrylic glass. The image is then transferred onto a sheet of paper by pressing the two together, usually using a printing-press. Monotypes can also be created by inking an entire surface and then, using brushes or rags, removing ink to create a subtractive image, e.g. creating lights from a field of opaque color. The inks used may be oil based or water based. With oil based inks, the paper may be dry, in which case the image has more contrast, or the paper may be damp, in which case the image has a 10 percent greater range of tones.

Unlike monoprinting, monotyping produces a unique print, or monotype, because most of the ink is removed during the initial pressing. Although subsequent reprintings are sometimes possible, they differ greatly from the first print and are generally considered inferior. A second print from the original plate is called a "ghost print" or "cognate". Stencils, watercolor, solvents, brushes, and other tools are often used to embellish a monotype print. Monotypes are often spontaneously executed and with no preliminary sketch.

Monotypes are the most painterly method among the printmaking techniques, a unique print that is essentially a printed painting. The principal characteristic of this medium is found in its spontaneity and its combination of printmaking, painting, and drawing media.[3]

Monoprint

Monoprinting is a form of printmaking that uses a matrix such as a woodblock, litho stone, or copper plate, but produces impressions that are unique. Multiple unique impressions printed from a single matrix are sometimes known as a variable edition. There are many techniques used in monoprinting, including collagraph, collage, hand-painted additions, and a form of tracing by which thick ink is laid down on a table, paper is placed on the ink, and the back of the paper is drawn on, transferring the ink to the paper. Monoprints can also be made by altering the type, color, and viscosity of the ink used to create different prints. Traditional printmaking techniques, such as lithography, woodcut, and intaglio, can be used to make monoprints.

Mixed-media prints

Mixed-media prints may use multiple traditional printmaking processes such as etching, woodcut, letterpress, silkscreen, or even monoprinting in the creation of the print. They may also incorporate elements of chine colle, collage, or painted areas, and may be unique, i.e. one-off, non-editioned, prints. Mixed-media prints are often experimental prints and may be printed on unusual, non-traditional surfaces.

Digital prints

Istvan Horkay, Ralph Goings, Enrique Chagoya

Digital prints refers to images printed using digital printers such as inkjet printers instead of a traditional printing press. Images can be printed to a variety of substrates including paper, cloth, or plastic canvas.

Dye-based inks

Dye-based inks are organic (not mineral) dissolved and mixed into a liquid. Although most are synthetic, derived from petroleum, they can be made from vegetable or animal sources. Dyes are well suited for textiles where the liquid dye penetrates and chemically bonds to the fiber. Because of the deep penetration, more layers of material must lose their color before the fading is apparent. Dyes, however, are not suitable for the relatively thin layers of ink laid out on the surface of a print.

Pigment-based inks

Pigment is a finely ground, particulate substance which, when mixed or ground into a liquid to make ink or paint, does not dissolve, but remains dispersed or suspended in the liquid. Pigments are categorized as either inorganic (mineral) or organic (synthetic).[4] Pigment-based inks have a much longer permanence than dye-based inks.[5]

Giclée

Giclée (pron.: /ʒiːˈkleɪ/ zhee-KLAY or /dʒiːˈkleɪ/), is a neologism coined in 1991 by printmaker Jack Duganne [6] for digital prints made on inkjet printers. Originally associated with early dye-based printers it is now more often refers to pigment-based prints.[7] The word is based on the French word gicleur, which means "nozzle". Today fine art prints produced on large format ink-jet machines using the CcMmYK color model are generally called "Giclée".

Foil imaging

In art, foil imaging is a printmaking technique made using the Iowa Foil Printer, developed by Virginia A. Myers from the commercial foil stamping process. This uses gold leaf and acrylic foil in the printmaking process.

Color

Mishima Asa-Giri-東海道五十三次之内 三島 朝霧-Morning Mist MET DP123235
Hiroshige, Morning Mist

Printmakers apply color to their prints in many different ways. Some coloring techniques include positive surface roll, negative surface roll, and A la poupée. Often color in printmaking that involves etching, screenprinting, woodcut, or linocut is applied by either using separate plates, blocks or screens or by using a reductionist approach. In multiple plate color techniques, a number of plates, screens or blocks are produced, each providing a different color. Each separate plate, screen, or block will be inked up in a different color and applied in a particular sequence to produce the entire picture. On average about three to four plates are produced, but there are occasions where a printmaker may use up to seven plates. Every application of another plate of color will interact with the color already applied to the paper, and this must be kept in mind when producing the separation of colors. The lightest colors are often applied first, and then darker colors successively until the darkest.

The reductionist approach to producing color is to start with a lino or wood block that is either blank or with a simple etching. Upon each printing of color the printmaker will then further cut into the lino or woodblock removing more material and then apply another color and reprint. Each successive removal of lino or wood from the block will expose the already printed color to the viewer of the print. Picasso is often cited as the inventor of reduction printmaking, although there is evidence of this method in use 25 years before Picasso's linocuts.[8]

The subtractive color concept is also used in offset or digital print and is present in bitmap or vectorial software in CMYK or other color spaces.

Registration

In printmaking processes requiring more than one application of ink or other medium, the problem exists as to how to line up properly areas of an image to receive ink in each application. The most obvious example of this would be a multi-color image in which each color is applied in a separate step. The lining up of the results of each step in a multistep printmaking process is called "registration." Proper registration results in the various components of an image being in their proper place. But, for artistic reasons, improper registration is not necessarily the ruination of an image.

This can vary considerably from process to process. It generally involves placing the substrate, generally paper, in correct alignment with the printmaking element that will be supplying it with coloration.[9]

Protective printmaking equipment

Protective clothing is very important for printmakers who engage in etching and lithography (closed toed shoes and long pants). Whereas in the past printmakers put their plates in and out of acid baths with their bare hands, today printmakers use rubber gloves. They also wear industrial respirators for protection from caustic vapors. Most acid baths are built with ventilation hoods above them.

Protective respirators and masks should have particle filters, particularly for aquatinting. As a part of the aquatinting process, a printmaker is often exposed to rosin powder. Rosin is a serious health hazard, especially to printmakers who, in the past, simply used to hold their breath using an aquatinting booth.

See also

Rembrandt The Hundred Guilder Print
Rembrandt, Christ Preaching, (The Hundred Guilder print); etching c.1648
Saint Jerome in his Study LACMA M.2012.31 (1 of 2)
Albrecht Dürer, Saint Jerome in his Study, 1514.

Printmakers by nationality

  • Engravers by nationality
  • Etchers by nationality
  • Printmakers by nationality

Notes

  1. ^ Cohen, Brian D. "Freedom and Resistance in the Act of Engraving (or, Why Dürer Gave up on Etching)," Art in Print Vol. 7 No. 3 (September–October 2017), 17.
  2. ^ "Screen Fabric". A.W.T. World Trade Inc.
  3. ^ Washington printmakers' gallery Archived 2010-12-28 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Printmaking FAQ at Magnolia Editions Archived 2009-04-13 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Susan Carden, Digital Textile Printing, Bloomsbury Publishing - 2015, page 27
  6. ^ Johnson, Harald. Mastering Digital Printing, p.11 at Google Books
  7. ^ Luong, Q.-Tuan. An overview of large format color digital printing at largeformatphotography.info
  8. ^ http://www.printsandprintmaking.gov.au/catalogues/bibliography/136140/bunbury-alisa-not-picassos-invention--a-foray-into.aspx
  9. ^ http://www.nontoxicprint.com/perfectregistration.htm

References

Further reading

  • A. Hyatt Mayor (1971). Prints & people: a social history of printed pictures (full PDF). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. ISBN 9780870991080.
  • Beth Grabowski and Bill Fick, "Printmaking: A Complete Guide to Materials & Processes." Prentice Hall, 2009. ISBN 0-205-66453-9
  • Donna Anderson Experience Printmaking. Worcester, MA: Davis Publications, 2009. ISBN 978-0-87192-982-2
  • Gill Saunders and Rosie Miles Prints Now: Directions and Definitions Victoria and Albert Museum (May 1, 2006) ISBN 1-85177-480-7
  • Antony Griffiths, Prints and Printmaking, British Museum Press, 2nd ed, 1996 ISBN 0-7141-2608-X
  • Linda Hults The Print in the Western World: An Introductory History. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1996. ISBN 978-0-299-13700-7
  • Carol Wax, The Mezzotint: History and Technique (Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1990)
  • James Watrous A Century of American Printmaking. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1984. ISBN 0-299-09680-7
  • William Ivins, Jr. Prints and Visual Communication. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1953. ISBN 0-262-59002-6
  • Donald Saff and Deli Sacilotto. Printmaking: History and Process. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1978. ISBN 978-0030856631

External links

History of printmaking; glossaries
Printmaking organizations
Aquatint

Aquatint is an intaglio printmaking technique, a variant of etching that only produces areas of tone rather than lines. For this reason it has mostly been used in conjunction with etching, to give outlines. It has also been used historically to print in colour, both by printing with multiple plates in different colours, and by making monochrome prints that were then hand-coloured with watercolour.

It has been in regular use since the later 18th century, and was most widely used between about 1770 and 1830, when it was used both for artistic prints and decorative ones. After about 1830 it lost ground to lithography and other techniques. There have been periodic revivals among artists since then. An aquatint plate wears out relatively quickly, and is less easily reworked than other intaglio plates. Many of Goya's plates were reprinted too often posthumously, giving very poor impressions.Among the most famous prints using the aquatint technique are the major series by Goya, many of The Birds of America by John James Audubon (with the colour added by hand), and prints by Mary Cassatt printed in colour using several plates.

Burin (engraving)

A steel cutting tool used in engraving, (, from the French burin (cold chisel)

California College of the Arts

California College of the Arts (CCA) is an art, design, architecture, and writing school with two campuses in California, one in San Francisco and one in Oakland. Founded in 1907, it enrolls approximately 1,500 undergraduates and 500 graduate students.

Drypoint

Drypoint is a printmaking technique of the intaglio family, in which an image is incised into a plate (or "matrix") with a hard-pointed "needle" of sharp metal or diamond point. In principle, the method is practically identical to engraving. The difference is in the use of tools, and that the raised ridge along the furrow is not scraped or filed away as in engraving. Traditionally the plate was copper, but now acetate, zinc, or plexiglas are also commonly used. Like etching, drypoint is easier to master than engraving for an artist trained in drawing because the technique of using the needle is closer to using a pencil than the engraver's burin.

The term is also used for inkless scratched inscriptions, such as glosses in manuscripts.

Engraving

Engraving is the practice of incising a design onto a hard, usually flat surface by cutting grooves into it with a burin. The result may be a decorated object in itself, as when silver, gold, steel, or glass are engraved, or may provide an intaglio printing plate, of copper or another metal, for printing images on paper as prints or illustrations; these images are also called "engravings". Engraving is one of the oldest and most important techniques in printmaking. Wood engraving is a form of relief printing and is not covered in this article.

Engraving was a historically important method of producing images on paper in artistic printmaking, in mapmaking, and also for commercial reproductions and illustrations for books and magazines. It has long been replaced by various photographic processes in its commercial applications and, partly because of the difficulty of learning the technique, is much less common in printmaking, where it has been largely replaced by etching and other techniques.

"Engraving" is also loosely but incorrectly used for any old black and white print; it requires a degree of expertise to distinguish engravings from prints using other techniques such as etching in particular, but also mezzotint and other techniques. Many old master prints also combine techniques on the same plate, further confusing matters. Line engraving and steel engraving cover use for reproductive prints, illustrations in books and magazines, and similar uses, mostly in the 19th century, and often not actually using engraving.

Traditional engraving, by burin or with the use of machines, continues to be practised by goldsmiths, glass engravers, gunsmiths and others, while modern industrial techniques such as photoengraving and laser engraving have many important applications. Engraved gems were an important art in the ancient world, revived at the Renaissance, although the term traditionally covers relief as well as intaglio carvings, and is essentially a branch of sculpture rather than engraving, as drills were the usual tools.

Etching

Etching is traditionally the process of using strong acid or mordant to cut into the unprotected parts of a metal surface to create a design in intaglio (incised) in the metal. In modern manufacturing, other chemicals may be used on other types of material. As a method of printmaking, it is, along with engraving, the most important technique for old master prints, and remains in wide use today. In a number of modern variants such as microfabrication etching and photochemical milling it is a crucial technique in much modern technology, including circuit boards.

In traditional pure etching, a metal (usually copper, zinc or steel) plate is covered with a waxy ground which is resistant to acid. The artist then scratches off the ground with a pointed etching needle where he or she wants a line to appear in the finished piece, so exposing the bare metal. The échoppe, a tool with a slanted oval section, is also used for "swelling" lines. The plate is then dipped in a bath of acid, technically called the mordant (French for "biting") or etchant, or has acid washed over it. The acid "bites" into the metal (it dissolves part of the metal) where it is exposed, leaving behind lines sunk into the plate. The remaining ground is then cleaned off the plate. The plate is inked all over, and then the ink wiped off the surface, leaving only the ink in the etched lines.

The plate is then put through a high-pressure printing press together with a sheet of paper (often moistened to soften it). The paper picks up the ink from the etched lines, making a print. The process can be repeated many times; typically several hundred impressions (copies) could be printed before the plate shows much sign of wear. The work on the plate can also be added to by repeating the whole process; this creates an etching which exists in more than one state.

Etching has often been combined with other intaglio techniques such as engraving (e.g., Rembrandt) or aquatint (e.g., Francisco Goya).

Intaglio (printmaking)

Intaglio ( in-TAL-ee-oh; Italian: [inˈtaʎʎo]) is the family of printing and printmaking techniques in which the image is incised into a surface and the incised line or sunken area holds the ink. It is the direct opposite of a relief print.

Normally, copper or zinc plates are used as a surface or matrix, and the incisions are created by etching, engraving, drypoint, aquatint or mezzotint. Collagraphs may also be printed as intaglio plates.

Linocut

Linocut is a printmaking technique, a variant of woodcut in which a sheet of linoleum (sometimes mounted on a wooden block) is used for a relief surface. A design is cut into the linoleum surface with a sharp knife, V-shaped chisel or gouge, with the raised (uncarved) areas representing a reversal (mirror image) of the parts to show printed. The linoleum sheet is inked with a roller (called a brayer), and then impressed onto paper or fabric. The actual printing can be done by hand or with a printing press.

Lithography

Lithography (from Ancient Greek λίθος, lithos, meaning 'stone', and γράφειν, graphein, meaning 'to write') is a method of printing originally based on the immiscibility of oil and water. The printing is from a stone (lithographic limestone) or a metal plate with a smooth surface. It was invented in 1796 by German author and actor Alois Senefelder as a cheap method of publishing theatrical works. Lithography can be used to print text or artwork onto paper or other suitable material.Lithography originally used an image drawn with oil, fat, or wax onto the surface of a smooth, level lithographic limestone plate. The stone was treated with a mixture of acid and gum arabic, etching the portions of the stone that were not protected by the grease-based image. When the stone was subsequently moistened, these etched areas retained water; an oil-based ink could then be applied and would be repelled by the water, sticking only to the original drawing. The ink would finally be transferred to a blank paper sheet, producing a printed page. This traditional technique is still used in some fine art printmaking applications.

In modern lithography, the image is made of a polymer coating applied to a flexible plastic or metal plate. The image can be printed directly from the plate (the orientation of the image is reversed), or it can be offset, by transferring the image onto a flexible sheet (rubber) for printing and publication.

As a printing technology, lithography is different from intaglio printing (gravure), wherein a plate is either engraved, etched, or stippled to score cavities to contain the printing ink; and woodblock printing or letterpress printing, wherein ink is applied to the raised surfaces of letters or images. Today, most types of high-volume books and magazines, especially when illustrated in colour, are printed with offset lithography, which has become the most common form of printing technology since the 1960s.

The related term "photolithography" refers to when photographic images are used in lithographic printing, whether these images are printed directly from a stone or from a metal plate, as in offset printing. "Photolithography" is used synonymously with "offset printing". The technique as well as the term were introduced in Europe in the 1850s. Beginning in the 1960s, photolithography has played an important role in the fabrication and mass production of integrated circuits in the microelectronics industry.

Mezzotint

Mezzotint is a printmaking process of the intaglio family, technically a drypoint method. It was the first tonal method to be used, enabling half-tones to be produced without using line- or dot-based techniques like hatching, cross-hatching or stipple. Mezzotint achieves tonality by roughening a metal plate with thousands of little dots made by a metal tool with small teeth, called a "rocker". In printing, the tiny pits in the plate hold the ink when the face of the plate is wiped clean. A high level of quality and richness in the print can be achieved.

Mezzotint is often combined with other intaglio techniques, usually etching and engraving. The process was especially widely used in England from the eighteenth century, to reproduce portraits and other paintings. It was somewhat in competition with the other main tonal technique of the day, aquatint. Since the mid-nineteenth century it has been relatively little used, as lithography and other techniques produced comparable results more easily. Robert Kipniss and Peter Ilsted are two notable 20th-century exponents of the technique; M. C. Escher also made eight mezzotints.

Monoprinting

Monoprinting is a form of printmaking that has lines or images that can only be made once, unlike most printmaking, which allows for multiple originals. There are many techniques of mono-printing. Examples of standard printmaking techniques which can be used to make monoprints include lithography, woodcut, and etching.

Mordant

A mordant or dye fixative is a substance used to set (i.e. bind) dyes on fabrics by forming a coordination complex with the dye, which then attaches to the fabric (or tissue). It may be used for dyeing fabrics or for intensifying stains in cell or tissue preparations. Although mordants are still used, especially by small batch dyers, it has been largely displaced in industry by directs.The term mordant comes from the Latin mordere, "to bite". In the past, it was thought that a mordant helped the dye bite onto the fiber so that it would hold fast during washing. A mordant is often a polyvalent metal ion, often chromium(III). The resulting coordination complex of dye and ion is colloidal and can be either acidic or alkaline.

Old master print

An old master print is a work of art produced by a printing process within the Western tradition. The term remains current in the art trade, and there is no easy alternative in English to distinguish the works of "fine art" produced in printmaking from the vast range of decorative, utilitarian and popular prints that grew rapidly alongside the artistic print from the 15th century onwards. Fifteenth-century prints are sufficiently rare that they are classed as old master prints even if they are of crude or merely workmanlike artistic quality. A date of about 1830 is usually taken as marking the end of the period whose prints are covered by this term.

The main techniques used, in order of their introduction, are woodcut, engraving, etching, mezzotint and aquatint, although there are others. Different techniques are often combined in a single print. With rare exceptions printed on textiles, such as silk, or on vellum, old master prints are printed on paper. This article is concerned with the artistic, historical and social aspects of the subject; the article on printmaking summarizes the techniques used in making old master prints, from a modern perspective.

Many great European artists, such as Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt, and Francisco Goya, were dedicated printmakers. In their own day, their international reputations largely came from their prints, which were spread far more widely than their paintings. Influences between artists were also mainly transmitted beyond a single city by prints (and sometimes drawings), for the same reason. Prints therefore are frequently brought up in detailed analyses of individual paintings in art history. Today, thanks to colour photo reproductions, and public galleries, their paintings are much better known, whilst their prints are only rarely exhibited, for conservation reasons. But some museum print rooms allow visitors to see their collection, sometimes only by appointment, and large museums now present great numbers of prints online in very high-resolution enlargeable images.

Social realism

Social realism is the term used for work produced by painters, printmakers, photographers, writers and filmmakers that aims to draw attention to the real socio-political conditions of the working class as a means to critique of the power structures behind these conditions. While the movement's characteristics vary from nation to nation, it almost always utilizes a form of descriptive or critical realism. Taking its roots from European Realism, Social Realism aims to reveal tensions between an oppressive, hegemonic force, and its victims.

The term is sometimes more narrowly used for an art movement that flourished between the two World Wars as a reaction to the hardships and problems suffered by common people after the Great Crash. In order to make their art more accessible to a wider audience, artists turned to realist portrayals of anonymous workers as well as celebrities as heroic symbols of strength in the face of adversity. The goal of the artists in doing so was political as they wished to expose the deteriorating conditions of the poor and working classes and hold the existing governmental and social systems accountable.Social realism should not be confused with socialist realism, the official Soviet art form that was institutionalized by Joseph Stalin in 1934 and was later adopted by allied Communist parties worldwide. It is also different from realism as it not only presents conditions of the poor, but does so by conveying the tensions between two opposing forces, such as between farmers and their feudal lord. However, sometimes the terms social realism and socialist realism are used interchangeably.

Special edition

The terms special edition, limited edition, and variants such as deluxe edition, or collector's edition, are used as a marketing incentive for various kinds of products, originally published products related to the arts, such as books, prints, video games or recorded music and films, but now including clothing, cars, fine wine, and whisky, among other products. A limited edition is restricted in the number of copies produced, although in fact the number may be very low or very high. Suzuki (2008) defines limited edition products as those “sold in a state that makes them difficult to obtain because of companies limiting their availability to a certain period, quantity, region, or channel". A special edition implies there is extra material of some kind included. The term is frequently used on DVD film releases, often when the so-called "special" edition is actually the only version released.

Sun printing

Sun printing may refer to various printing techniques which use sunlight as a developing or fixative agent.

Superimposition

Superimposition is the placement of one thing over another, typically so that both are still evident.

Visual arts

The visual arts are art forms such as painting, sculpture, printmaking, ceramics, drawing, design, crafts, photography, video, filmmaking, and architecture. Many artistic disciplines (performing arts, conceptual art, textile arts) involve aspects of the visual arts as well as arts of other types. Also included within the visual arts are the applied arts such as industrial design, graphic design, fashion design, interior design and decorative art.Current usage of the term "visual arts" includes fine art as well as the applied or decorative arts and crafts, but this was not always the case. Before the Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain and elsewhere at the turn of the 20th century, the term 'artist' had for some centuries often been restricted to a person working in the fine arts (such as painting, sculpture, or printmaking) and not the decorative arts, craft, or applied art media. The distinction was emphasized by artists of the Arts and Crafts Movement, who valued vernacular art forms as much as high forms. Art schools made a distinction between the fine arts and the crafts, maintaining that a craftsperson could not be considered a practitioner of the arts.

The increasing tendency to privilege painting, and to a lesser degree sculpture, above other arts has been a feature of Western art as well as East Asian art. In both regions painting has been seen as relying to the highest degree on the imagination of the artist, and the furthest removed from manual labour – in Chinese painting the most highly valued styles were those of "scholar-painting", at least in theory practiced by gentleman amateurs. The Western hierarchy of genres reflected similar attitudes.

Woodblock printing in Japan

Woodblock printing in Japan (木版画, mokuhanga) is a technique best known for its use in the ukiyo-e artistic genre of single sheets, but it was also used for printing books in the same period. Woodblock printing had been used in China for centuries to print books, long before the advent of movable type, but was widely adopted in Japan during the Edo period (1603–1868). Although similar to woodcut in Western printmaking in some regards, the mokuhanga technique differs in that it uses water-based inks—as opposed to western woodcut, which often uses oil-based inks. The Japanese water-based inks provide a wide range of vivid colors, glazes, and transparency.

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