Thursday, June 2, 2016

Printmaking 101

When I tell people I'm a printmaker, it's often followed by the question, "What's that?" My short and sweet answer is that it's playing with big stamps. In truth, it's so much more than that. When you start learning about prints, the jargon, techniques, and terms can be overwhelming—photogravure, pochoir, serigraph, mezzotint, collagraph, linocut. And that's just scratching the surface (pun intended, for all you fellow printers). But when you break it down, all of these fancy names and techniques fall into just a few categories.

There are four main categories for traditional printmaking: relief, intaglio, lithography, screenprint. I would say that digital printing is the modern fifth category as well. I'm not sure where this image originated, but I love how concisely it visually represents these four categories.

If you would like to learn more about how all of this printmaking business works, MoMA has a super interactive guide that walks you through the basics for each process.

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