Printmaking


How many types of fine arts
printmaking processes can you name? How does knowledge of these art forms
help us create works of art? In this digital story, we will briefly survey a
few major printmaking methods and some contemporary artists who practice these art forms. We will look at lithography, intaglio, relief printing, screen printing, collagraphy, book arts, and monoprinting. Vija Celmins is a contemporary printmaking artist who uses lithographic processes in her work to
depict highly detailed fields of texture and pattern. While lithography is somewhat out of the scope of a K through 12 art room, it is nonetheless a major
style of which you should be aware. Lithography is a printmaking technique
in which the image areas on a lithographic stone or metal plate are
chemically treated to accept ink and repel water, while the non image areas
are treated to repel ink and retain water. Helen Frank is an intaglio artist who
captures subtle variations of color in her prints. There are two categories of
intaglio: one type uses acids to chemically etch an image onto a metal plate (usually
copper or zinc). Although this process is not always suitable for a K through 12 setting, the other kind of method is. In this second approach to intaglio, line
work is engraved by hand directly into a plate. This is also called dry point.
Whether using an acid or a dry point plate, both are considered intaglio
because the ink is held in the recessed areas of the plate. The U.S. dollar is
printed through an intaglio process of printmaking as well. Dona Reed is a relief printmaking artist who meticulously carves by hand. For her to use multiple colors, she could carve a different block to correspond to each color. Alice Pattullo is a contemporary screen
printing artist who uses color brilliantly. Just like in other print
methodologies, a different screen for each color is needed. Screen printing is
a versatile and often commercial method where a stretched silkscreen is coated
with photo emulsion and exposed with design blocking the light. Once it has
been rinsed out, the screen becomes a stencil for ink to be pulled through the
mesh by a squeegee and transferred to the paper or other surface below. Brenda Hartill is an artist who uses processes from collagraphy in her work. Collagraph plates are similar to intaglio in that the ink fills in all the grooves. A collagraph can be made out of almost anything
attached to a substrate such as: gluing different textured papers, cardboard, or
even the glue itself; and then coating the whole plate with shellac. Collagraph
plates can also be worked reductively. Cara Barer is a contemporary book arts
artist whose work is very sculptural. Book arts is very diverse and can include
many aspects such as: letterpress, or recontextualized books, or even ornate
book binding techniques. Wendy Orville is a monoprint artist who
uses her painterly style to create landscapes and animals that look
photorealistic. Monoprinting covers an array of different techniques where a
resulting print can only be made once. One such example method would be to draw
or paint with ink directly on a plate and transfer it to a single sheet of paper. Hopefully by now you can name seven major types of printmaking
disciplines. We looked at lithography, intaglio, relief, screen, collagraphy, book
arts, and monoprinting techniques.

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