Print is a category of artwork, that typically consists of an impressed or stamped image. Printmaking is a traditional art method involving the repeatable transference of ink from one surface to another. In this method, works on paper that are not unique (instead coming in a numbered edition) are often available within a cheaper price range than, say, paintings. Made by artists with reputations as printmakers, or artists who are not printmakers but who are working with a team of printmaking specialists, these works can be signed off using the artist’s name, endorsing a quality-control system.Read More
Printmaking involves one of several studio processes. It can be a relief print (woodcut, linocut, collagraph) from gouged or carved sections in the plate where the transferred ink is only placed on the upper planar surfaces; intaglio (engraving, etching, mezzotint, dry point or aquatint, each with different qualities of line, shape or texture) where the ink is inside the grooves and not on the top, so the paper is pushed into those indentations to take on the marks; a planograph with a flat, drawn-on plane (for example, a lithograph with a stone bearing greasy crayon drawings that repel ink so it goes on the exposed stone, or a monoprint where the back of the paper is drawn on to create a single print); or a screenprint, which involves a stencilling technique supported by a taut mesh in a frame and has been used by artists such as Warhol and Rauschenberg as a painting technique.
Since the 1990s, printmaking, like photography, has absorbed digital technology, making artists able to reproduce images on paper or plastic with methods that may be comparatively quick, uncomplicated and studio-free. Today, chromogenic prints, for example, have superseded giclee inkjet prints and use lasers for increased precision.
Printing can also mean an industrial (non-artistic) method. Four-colour offset lithographic processes that used metal plates in a pre-digital era reproduced images on fabric or paper with no artist overseeing the finer details of quality control. ‘Printing’ can mean illustrations of artworks that accompany texts, reproductions of artworks that don’t claim to be those artworks, and the mass production of written texts without images.
3D printing is a digital extension of photocopying technology but utilises a process of layering plastic or other materials to make portable, three-dimensional objects that can be regarded as sculpture and presented in limited editions. Painting methodology now also uses digital printing technology; images may be scanned and then printed onto canvas with ink and exhibited as paintings—a technique popular with artists like Billy Apple.