An Introduction to Printmaking

by | Mar 3, 2017 | Arts and Entertainment

When it comes to printmaking, there are three main methods. The differences between these methods lie in how the image is made and the transferred to the print. The three types are relief, intaglio, and lithography. Each one offers its advantages and disadvantages and the one that is right for you is an entirely personal choice. You can learn more about these methods at a printmaking university, but here is a brief introduction.


On a relief, you will start with a flat surface material and slowly remove material from it to form a reverse of your image. This is the covered in ink and used to transfer the image to a piece of paper or canvas, and it flips the image in the process. One common material used for relief printmaking is linoleum. This material is soft enough to easily be carved away but will retain its shape and not absorb ink over time.


Intaglio printmaking uses a soft material like copper or zinc as the etching plate. The artist will remove the desired lines from their plate similar to drawing a picture. Once the image is complete, the recesses created by the drawing of the image are filled with ink, and then the plate is placed on your paper. This allows the lines to transfer. This method allows for greater detail over relief printmaking.


Lithography uses oil or grease treatment on the image to prevent ink from sticking in blank areas of the image. This allows artists to produce images similar to that of relief.

This is just a brief introduction to the different types of printmaking that are available today. These methods can be studied at your local art college, and most do not require specialized equipment. The tools that are needed are often cheap enough for students to afford their own. Discover this info here School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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