Printing is the process of transferring information from an image on paper to a physical object. It is one of the most important technologies in modern society and has a long history, beginning in China around 2,500 years ago.
The principle of printing is that an image on a stone or plate is inked up, then the ink is transferred to a piece of paper. Lithography reverses the image, but offset printing (often called hand lithography) prints an exact copy of the stone or plate by rolling wet ink onto a rubber roller and then directly onto the paper.
Several other printing processes do not reverse the image, instead relying on different materials and/or techniques to achieve the desired effect. Serigraphy is an interesting example.
Other combined printing methods include intaglio and relief printing, collagraphs, woodcuts and more. Combination prints are a creative way to test the limits of multiple print media.
Monotypes are another form of combination print. These involve using a smooth surface to print an image on, such as fine mesh or a woven fabric, which is then placed over a sheet of paper and printed with a press.
This is a very complex and difficult technique that can take a long time to master. The end result is a one-of-a-kind print that may have a light transparent quality like a watercolor, but it can also be very dark or extremely detailed.
In the Western world printing developed in the 15th century in Europe, after Johannes Gutenberg of Mainz in Germany invented movable type. The use of movable type spurred the development of more sophisticated and creative modes of printing. It was not widely used in China until the European-style printing press was introduced in relatively recent times.