For an aquatint, a fine, even layer of resin powder is spread on the surface of the plate. When this is heated it melts to form tiny spots of resin which will resist the acid. The areas which require a light tone are then covered with an acid resistant material such as varnish or oil pastel and the plate is immersed in acid. The uncovered areas will print with a medium tone. This process can be repeated many times to build up a range of tones. To print the plate, the whole plate is covered with ink which is then wiped off the surface. The areas bitten by the acid retain the ink. The deeper the bite, the more ink they retain and the darker the tone. Damped paper is then pressed into the plate using a powerful etching press.
Carborundum is a collagraph printmaking technique used for printing dense tonal areas. Carborundum is a sand-like abrasive powder that is affixed with glue to plates made of cardboard, wood, plastic or metal. Once the glue has completely set, the surface can be printed from and will hold an immense amount of ink. Using larger amounts of glue and carborundum to print darker tones or specific oil-based paint application to print lighter tones creates variations in tone. Colours are determined by the choice of printing inks. Source: RE
Collagraph is a method of using found objects and collage techniques to create a print. These prints can be printed using relief or intaglio methods.
Drypoint is the most direct of all intaglio techniques. Lines are scratched onto a copper plate with a needle. Ink is held in the line and in the burr created by the needle scratching the line. Many artists have used drypoint including: Rembrandt, Durer & Rodin.
Engraving is a simple method of creating an intaglio plate, although difficult to master. A sharp burin (a shaft of hard steel in a square or diamond shape) is pushed along a metal plate removing slithers of metal. This method can produce crisp, precise and clean lines. Tints and textures can be created by using tools that produce multiple lines on a plate.
Etching; hard ground and soft ground
Etching uses acid to cut lines in a metal plate. The plate is covered in an acid-resistant layer and lines scratched and drawn to reveal the metal. When the plate is placed in acid the acid cuts the lines according to the length of time it is left in the acid. Plates are printed by removing the acid-resistant ground, inking, wiping the surface clean and printing under pressure in an etching press. There are many different methods that can be used, individually or in combination, to produce an etched plate. Line etching, soft ground, aquatint, liftground are just some of the methods. Many artists have used Etching including: William Blake, Picasso, Goya, Hogarth, Canaletto, Piranesi, Tiepolo, Whistler, Miro, Chagall, Giacometti and many others.
Intaglio prints are ones where ink is forced into incised lines and recessed textures. The surface is wiped clean and the plate printed under pressure so paper is pushed into the lines to pick up the ink.
Linocut is a relief printmaking technique where ink is rolled onto the surface of a carved piece of linoleum and then transferred to paper. An image is carved into a piece of linoleum using tools with tips that are hollow, grooved or v-shaped depending on the needs of the specific marks. The raised uncarved areas create the image. Firm rollers are used to roll ink over the raised surface of the block, which is then transferred to the paper either with a press or by rubbing on the back of the paper by hand. Source: RE
Lithography is dependent on the antipathy of grease to water and water to grease. Lithography is favoured by artists who appreciate its ability to capture the complexity and tonality of a pencil or brush stoke. Lithographic plates are produced by drawing on a piece of limestone or fine grained metal with greasy crayons or lithographic tusche (a greasy substance that can be painted or used as an ink). Plates are inked with a leather roller and printed on a special press.
Mezzotint is a sophisticated drypoint method. A mezzotint rocker digs into the surface of a copper plate raising tiny burrs. This creates a velvet black when printed. An image is created by scraping and burnishing this surface. Very delicate work can be produced. Mezzotint is valued by artists for the rich quality of the blacks.
Monoprints and monotypes are printmaking techniques that create unique, one-off prints unlike the rest of printmaking where multiples are produced. There is an infinite range of techniques available to the monoprint artist and not all of them involve a printing press. Techniques that do involve a press include the expressive and unique inking of plates or blocks made using other techniques such as etching or woodcut; the inking and printing of various overlaid objects and elements; or the inking up of a plate in a painterly manner to be transferred to paper. An example of a monoprint that does not involve a press is when a drawing is done on the back of a piece of paper that has been laid onto a surface rolled with ink thus transferring a mirror image of the drawing on the reverse. See also monotype. Source: RE
A monotype is a monoprint where no reusable element such as an etching plate, woodblock or stencil has been employed. Printing from plates that have been inked up in a painterly manner or where an image has been created by removing ink with rags or brushes from a completely inked surface are both examples of monotypes. As a unique piece, the monoprint and monotype hold a status somewhere between the editioned print and a drawing or painting. Source: RE
Reduction printing is a relief printmaking technique that refers to linocut or woodcut. A block is cut and a first colour is printed. The same block is cut again for the printing of each subsequent colour. The artist must print the full edition for each colour as it is imposible go back and reprint previous colours once the plate has been cut.
In a relief print the surface of the block is inked and carries the image. The areas that are not wanted to print are cut away. The block is inked with a roller, paper is placed on the block and hand burnished or run through a press. Relief printing is the most ancient of all printmaking methods. Source: RE
Screenprinting is a simple and direct method of printing. A screenprint is produced by forcing ink through fabric stretched on a wooden frame. The fabric is blocked out where unprinted areas are wanted forming a stencil. Ink is forced through the open mesh of the fabric, with a rubber blade, onto the surface below. Screenprints produce a good depth of colour and can be used to produce prints with many colours. Screens can be made by photo processes, by a hand cut stencil or by various painted methods of blocking out. Artists who have used Screenprints are, amongst others: Warhol, Oldenburg, Rauschenberg, Lichenstein, Pollock.
Spit-biting is an intaglio printmaking technique where acid is painted directly onto a plate that has been covered with aquatint rosin. The acid was traditionally mixed with spit to make it adhere to the plate, hence the name. The resulting marks are extremely painterly. Source: RE
Sugar-lift etching is an intaglio printmaking technique where an artist paints on a metal plate using a sugar and water solution. When the solution dries, the plate is covered in acid-resistant wax. The plate is then rinsed under hot water, which dissolves the sugar and lifts the wax from the painted area. This area is then etched either as an open bite or as an aquatint to create delicate brush marks. Source: RE
Wood cuts are created by gouging, cutting or punching into a wood block, rolling with ink, placing paper on the block and applying pressure to create the image. Multicolour prints can be produced by this method. Paper can be blind embossed. Many artists emphasise and use the grain and imperfections in the wood by brushing with a steel brush. Artists who have used woodcut are, amongst others: Durer, Gauguin, Munch, Pechstein, Klee, Posada, Picasso, Rothenstein.
In a wood engraving the image is built up by a series of white lines. This method was first popularised by the English engraver Thomas Bewick. The end grain of very hard wood, such as boxwood, is used for the blocks and lines are engraved with palm held tools called gravers or spit stickers. Scorpers or chisels are used to clear large areas of white in the same way as in woodcut. Prints are taken by inking the block thinly with stiff ink and burnishing or printing on thin paper. Artists who have used wood engraving include, amongst others, Bewick, Dore, Gill, Ravillious.