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Printmaking Techniques

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Every print exhibited at QG&W is a handmade impression made by the artist. QG&W does not exhibit reproductions or limited edition digital prints.

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Drypoint

Drypoint is a printmaking technique of the intaglio family, in which an image is incised into a plate (or “matrix”) with a hard-pointed “needle” of sharp metal or diamond point. Traditionally the plate was copper, but now acetate, zinc, or plexiglas are also commonly used. Like etching, drypoint is easier for an artist trained in drawing to master than engraving, as the technique of using the needle is closer to using a pencil than the engraver’s burin.

Intaglio

Intaglio are techniques in art in which an image is created by cutting, carving or engraving into a flat surface and may also refer to objects made using these techniques. It may also be known as counter-relief, as distinct from relief.

Linocut

Linocut is a printmaking technique, a variant of woodcut in which a sheet of linoleum (sometimes mounted on a wooden block) is used for a relief surface. A design is cut into the linoleum surface with a sharp knife, V-shaped chisel or gouge, with the raised (uncarved) areas representing a reversal (mirror image) of the parts to show printed. The linoleum sheet is inked with a roller (called a brayer), and then impressed onto paper or fabric. The actual printing can be done by hand or with a printing press, such as an Albion or Columbian.

Lithography

Lithography uses an image drawn with oil, fat, or wax onto the surface of a smooth, level lithographic limestone plate. The stone is treated with a mixture of acid and gum arabic, “etching” the grease content of the drawing material into the pores of the stone and chemically creating grease reservoirs. The open stone (without drawing) is affected by the gum arabic creating a thin gum layer that will then attract water. When the stone is subsequently moistened, these gummed areas retain water; an oil-based ink can then be applied with a roller sticking only to the original drawing. The ink is finally transferred to a cotton fine art paper sheet, producing a printed page.

Mezzotint

Mezzotint is a printmaking process of the intaglio family, technically a drypoint method.[1] It was the first tonal method to be used, enabling half-tones to be produced without using line- or dot-based techniques like hatching, cross-hatching or stipple. Mezzotint achieves tonality by roughening the plate with thousands of little dots made by a metal tool with small teeth, called a “rocker.” In printing, the tiny pits in the plate hold the ink when the face of the plate is wiped clean. A high level of quality and richness in the print can be achieved.

Monoprint

Monoprinting is a form of printmaking that has lines or images that can only be made once, unlike most printmaking, where there are multiple originals.

Monotype

Monotyping is a type of printmaking made by drawing or painting on a smooth, non-absorbent surface. The surface, or matrix, was historically a copper etching plate, but in contemporary work it can vary from zinc or glass to acrylic glass. The image is then transferred onto a sheet of paper by pressing the two together, usually using a printing-press. Monotypes can also be created by inking an entire surface and then, using brushes or rags, removing ink to create a subtractive image, e.g. creating lights from a field of opaque colour.

Photogravure

Photogravure is an intaglio printmaking or photo-mechanical process whereby a copper plate* is coated with a light-sensitive gelatin tissue which had been exposed to a film positive, and then etched, resulting in a high quality intaglio print that can reproduce the detail and continuous tones of a photograph.

Relief Printmaking

Relief printing is a process where protruding surface faces of the printing plate or block are inked; recessed areas are ink free. Printing the image is therefore a relatively simple matter of inking the face of the matrix and bringing it in firm contact with the paper.

Wood Engraving

Wood engraving is a printmaking and letterpress printing technique, in which an artist works an image or matrix of images into a block of wood. Functionally a variety of woodcut, it uses relief printing, where the artist applies ink to the face of the block and prints using relatively low pressure

*Photopolymer plates used in QG&W workshops
Definitions from Wikipedia
1. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mezzotint

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QG&W is a proud member of The Print Council of Australia (PCA) - a national not-for-profit organisation dedicated to Australian printmaking. The Print Council of Australia (PCA) is a national not-for-profit organisation dedicated to Australian printmaking.