What is Printmaking???
Printmaking is the process of making artworks by printing, normally on paper. The process is capable of producing multiples of the same piece which is called a print. Each piece is not a copy but an original since it is not a reproduction of another work of art and is technically known as an impression.. Prints are created from a single original surface, known technically as a matrix. Common types of matrices include: plates of metal, usually copper or zinc for engraving or etching; stone, used for lithography; blocks of wood for woodcuts, linoleum for linocuts and fabric plates for screen-printing.. Works printed from a single plate create an edition, usually each signed and numbered to form a limited edition.
One of the oldest known printing method, The design is drawn on a flat block of smooth hardwood. Then the surface around the lines or areas of the design is chiseled away, leaving the design in high relief. The block is inked and the paper is placed under it. The image is transferred by applying pressure with a press. A separate block is used for each color. A linocut is made in the same way except that linoleum is substituted for wood.
Etching is a method of making prints from a metal plate, usually copper or zinc, which has been "bitten" with acid. The metal plate is coated with an acid-resistant substance (etching ground or varnish). The artist draws his design on the plate with a sharp tool (a burin, needle or other) which removes the ground wherever the implement touches it. When the plate is put in an acid bath, the exposed parts are etched (or eaten away). This produces sunken lines that receive or hold the ink for printing. The plate is wiped clean, leaving the ink in the sunken area. The plate, in contact with dampened paper, is passed through a roller press. This forces paper into the sunken areas to receive the ink, thereby forming the art image on the paper.
Etched lines are often subtle and fine since the motion comes from the motion of the fingertips.
This technique is so called because its finished prints often resemble watercolors or wash drawings. It achieves a wide range of tonal values. An aquatint is created by etching sections, rather than lines, of a plate in order to create areas of uniform tone. An aquatint is prepared by applying powdered resin or a similar ground to a metal plate, which is then heated, thus adhering the ground to the metal. This gives a roughness or grain to the plate which adds texture to the image. The plate is then immersed in an acid bath, which bites or etches the plate and creates areas which will hold the ink. The design is created with gradations of tone achieved through repeated acid baths combined with varnish used to stop out areas of lighter tone.
Drypoint is similar to etching but the lines are simply scratched directly into the plate manually, without the use of acid. Lines in a drypoint are characterized by a soft fuzziness somewhat like that of an ink pen on moist paper. Drypoint is most often used in combination with other etching techniques, frequently to insert dark areas in an almost-finished print.
Mezzotint can be thought of as the inverse of the other intaglio processes, for a mezzotint design is created working from black to white, rather than vice versa. In a mezzotint the metal plate is worked using a rocker, which roughens the entire surface of the plate with tiny holes and burrs. If the plate were printed at this time the image would be completely velvet black. Areas that are to appear in lighter tones or in white are smoothed out on the surface so that they will hold less ink. Mezzotint is an intaglio process, so prints made in this manner will have a platemark. The mezzotint process makes a very richly textured image and was used particularly for portraits.