Print Art and Its Techniques

print art

Print Art also called Printmaking, is one form of art where images are transferred from a matrix to surfaces like paper, wood, metal, or fabric. In Traditional Print Art, the images were printed using hand-processed techniques like Woodcut, Etching, Engraving, and Lithography. Whereas in modern days the process is highly digitalized where with the help of electronic machines, photographic images are being printed over the surfaces. In Print Art the matrix plays a huge role which acts as a template over which the designs are created using tools and chemicals. Followed by this the matrix is inked and by applying a controlled pressure like printing press, the designs are created over the surfaces like paper or fabric. In the case of modern Screen Printing, the pressure application is not needed. Let’s discuss in detail the different techniques in Print Art or Printmaking. Techniques in Print Art:


A painting in a frame hanging on a wall

Relief is one of the common techniques in Print where the matrix is inked except the carved grooves. The nonprinting portion of the matrix is designed either by cutting or etching. Using this relief technique different Printmaking arts are produced including woodcut, wood engraving, linocut, and many.

  1. Woodcut – Here the matrix is a wooden block over which the images are carved or sculpted. As wood is very hard the minute images are difficult to carve.
  2. Wood-Engraving – Here the images are carved in the end grain surface of a woodblock where fine details are very much convenient.
  3. Linocut – Here linoleum matrix plays a significant role that is supported by wood. With linoleum, it’s easy to get curves and modern details.


In this technique of print art, the matrix is forcefully inked in the portions of grooves and cavities. The most common form of intaglio print art includes collagraph, engraving, etching, mezzotint, and aquatint.

  1. Engraving – Using a specialized tool namely burin, the artist will tend to create sharp and crisp lines over the copper or brass plate. By cross-hatching or parallel lining, tonal areas are created over the matrix giving clear and precise images.
  2. Aquatint – Using rosin, an acid-resistant powder, the matrix is dusted. When heated the rosing gets adhered to the matrix. When inked and printed, with aquatint you can get tones from light to dark.
  3. Etching – With etching, the matrix plate, usually a copper, zinc, or brass plate, is covered with asphalt, beeswax, rosin, and solvent. Then designs or images are stretched over the matrix using an etching needle or somewhere the acid bites the scratched areas giving clear lines.
  4. Mezzotint – Here, a curved serrated rocker is pressurized over a copper matrix to create print art. 


A screen shot of a computer

Lithography, monotyping, and digital techniques are the common Planographic techniques.

  1. Lithography – Here a limestone matrix is used over which images are drawn using a greasy medium. Acid is then applied to transfer the blurred image over the surfaces.
  2. Monotype – with monotyping, the designs are made over a smooth and non-absorbent surface like copper etching plates.


Using a secondary screen the art is developed with the ink being pressed through it. Using this technique you can create screen printing, risograph, and pochoir print arts.

  • Screen Printing – It is also called silkscreen or serigraph where the designs are made by inking the stencils against the surfaces.


Thus using print art techniques it’s possible to produce many types of designs used for commercial purposes and fine art. Printmaking is used to create many religious texts and manuscripts for commercial selling. Print Art is a unique art form that has been existing from ancient days till now with many artists creating unique patterns and designs.

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