Printmaking: From Design to Product
Art can be created in many different ways. Artists can use different type of paint from watercolour to acrylic to gauche. Or, they can try different mediums like collage or embroidery. A popular way of making art, whether it be new work or replicating other work, is printmaking. In today’s blog, we’ll discuss what this art form is and how it goes from design to product.
What is Printmaking?
Printmaking is the artistic process of transferring an image from a mould onto another surface. The resulting image is often a mirror of the original design. Printmaking is especially beneficial in creating multiple versions of the same image all created from the same mould.
This medium was not only used for art, but also for communication! Traditionally, newspapers used to use printing presses to create multiple copies of their texts. The letters had to be individually placed for each page. These presses were also used to print books, religious manuscripts, and pamphlets.
Artists can use different technique to create prints.
- Woodcut. One of the oldest types of printmaking. The design is carved into the wood.
- Engraving. Similar to woodcutting expect the material used is metal. A very difficult technique.
- Etching. Replaced engraving, as it’s a simpler process. A strong acid is used to dissolve away parts of the surface this is unprotected.
- Lithography. Using a flat stone, ink-resistant material is used to create the non-image portion of the design.
- Screenprinting. A type of stencilling that is then inked through a screen.
From Design –
Here are the steps an artist goes through when design the mould for their print:
- Before the print can be pressed, first the artist must decide what image they are creating or replicating. Typically, the design is drawn on a piece of paper that is then transferred onto their mould.
- The artist then decides what material they are using for their mould. They could use: wood, linocut, metal, or glass.
- Once their sketch has been transferred to their material of choice, the artist then begins creating the mould.
- For materials like wood and linocut, tools such as chisels, gouges, or knives to cut away the sections of the template that will not receive ink.
- Etching is a slightly different process that involves scratching an acid-resistant varnish off a sheet of metal. It is then placed in an acid bath where chemistry does its magic and embosses the image onto the material.
- With the steps now completed, the image is now ready for printing.
– To Printmaking
This is how a print is printed:
- First the artist must ensure that their mould is clean.
- Ink is then rolled onto the print ensuring that all raised areas of the mould are entirely covered.
- A piece of paper or cloth is placed on top of the inked mould.
- Weights or pressure can be applied manually, but most artists opt for using a print press. This allows for multiple prints to be created from a single mould.
- The artist could alter the mould or add another ink colour.
- The print is done and ready to be distributed.