Printing is the process of making a physical copy of something on paper, cloth, plastic or other material. It can be done by hand or on a machine.
There are many different ways to make prints and they can be a great way to share your art with others. They are also much cheaper than original artwork, and can be made in larger quantities than you can make by yourself.
Basic printing is one of the most simple of all print processes and consists of applying ink or paint to something that you wish to print on. This can be done using techniques such as rubber stamp printing, potato block printing or finger prints.
Commonly used printing processes include: lithography, gravure, flexography and screen printing.
Lithography, the dominant process, uses a metal plate to transfer ink to a substrate by means of a press. The image is transferred to the paper or other media directly from the plate (known as direct printing) or indirectly by means of a blanket cylinder and then from the blanket cylinder to the substrate.
Another print process, known as relief printing, uses a metal plate to transfer ink on a piece of paper or other media by means of a press. The plate has raised areas that pick up ink from the image and recessed areas where non-printing is wanted.
Another common print process is called serigraphy. It uses a copper plate to transfer ink on a piece or pieces of paper by means of a press. The artist draws or draws with a pen on the copper plate and leaves a series of small scratches which are covered by ink. The burrs of the copper plate catch the ink and create a very sharp image on the paper.