Artspan Portal: Printmaking

Introduction to Printmaking

Printmaking is the process of producing “multiple originals” of an original artwork on to a support surface. Printmaking as a fine art is not the same as “making prints;" mechanical reproductions of artwork through an ink jet printer. Instead of manufacturing duplicates, the artist creates more than one original print from a single original surface or a matrix. Matrices can be made of copper, zinc (etching), stone (lithography), blocks of wood (woodcuts), linoleum (lino cuts), fabric (silk screen), or other materials. The images are then reproduced on paper, fabric, parchment, plastic, or other support surfaces through a process of printing. Monotyping follows a similar process but produces only one unique print.The notion of printmaking can be traced back to the earliest stencils on cave walls. Later on, around 500 BC, Japanese artists created stencils using paper and human hair. Woodcutting appeared in China as early as the fifth century AD. The arts that comprise printmaking such as silk screening, engraving, etching, wood cutting, and lithography, continued to evolve mostly in Asia and Europe throughout the following centuries. They have become important to both industry and artistic experiment in the past century. Some of the most recognizable names in Western art history were fine printmakers, such as August Rodin, Edvard Munch, Andy Warhol, Albrecht Dürer, and M.C. Escher.

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Resources: Printmaking

Art Suppliers (see all)
Art of the Print
Brandywine Workshop
Through its various programs in printmaking and arts education, Brandywine Workshop seeks to...
Briar Press
A community of letterpress printers, book artists, and printing enthusiasts.
Associations (see all)
International Fine Print Dealers Association
A non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the highest ethical standards and quality among...
Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers
Founded in 1880 by Seymour Haden and five colleagues to seek recognition for artists working in...
The Printmakers Council
Founded in 1965 to promote the art of printmaking and the work of contemporary printmakers.
Galleries (see all)
Annex Galleries
Established in 1971, the Annex Galleries is a salon style gallery which specializes in 19th and...
Art of the Print
The collection is arranged according to the countries of origin. All graphic techniques, such as...
Artspace Mackay
Artspace Mackay is the new regional art gallery and museum operated by Mackay City Council.
Museums (see all)
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Comprising the de Young in Golden Gate Park and the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park, they are the...
Melbourne Museum of Printing
Australia's working and teaching museum of typography and printing located at Footscray,...
Musee des Beaux-Arts le Locle
Publications (see all)
BOMB Magazine
A quarterly arts and culture magazine since 1981.
Contemporary Impressions
Articles, essays, interviews, exhibition announcements and book reviews, twice per year, with...
Crown Point Press