Learn about the main types of printmaking: relief, intaglio and lithography. Did you know that MoMA offers studio courses online? Check out the list of offerings including online courses on collage and painting techniques.Created byThe Museum of Modern Art.
There are three major types of printmaking, and they are all based on how the image is created on one surface and transferred to a piece of paper. A 'relief' print is a carving away of the whites of the image, which puts your image in relief, or raised up. That raised area accepts ink, and then is transferred to a piece of paper. In intaglia process -- or etching processes -- the image area is removed from the surface. And in those recesses, ink is placed -- and that is then transferred to the piece of paper. Lithography is unique in that the image area and the non-image area are on the exact same surface. And it is only through chemically treating the stone and relying on the fact that grease and water resist one another that lithography is possible. All printmaking processes have the possibility and capability of reproducing something else that exists. And so, everyone deals with money on any given day. And that is a print. It's a multiple. And as we get closer to fine art, we're doing the same conceptual focus of what a dollar bill is, a magazine, a newspaper, a poster is. But it's for a different purpose. And once you get into fine-art printmaking, what we're doing is allowing an artist to express themselves in a way that is unique to the medium. Is just as unique as sculpture. It's just as unique as painting. Is just as unique as video, in and of itself.