Printing is an ancient art form that uses raised surfaces (plates or blocks) to transfer ink from the printing plate onto the paper. The paper can be either paper or a film. The image is transferred on the side facing away from the viewer, or it can be cast onto the surface. The resulting image has a high contrast, and the film emulsion is typically colored light blue or dark blue, depending on the medium.
This technique was first applied to textiles in Europe, and then later was adapted to printing images on paper. By the mid-15th century, the technique was being used to print books, bibles, playing cards, and other items. Artists also began working with this technique, including Albrecht Durer, a German artist in the 16th century who used woodcut prints to illustrate scenes from the Passion of Christ.
The term lithography is derived from Greek, meaning ‘drawing on stone’. Lithography is a form of printmaking in which the artist draws an image directly onto the printing surface. The surface can be a stone block, but more commonly, it is a metal plate. The image is then painted or drawn with greasy ink, and washed with gum arabic, a natural gum derived from the sap of acacia trees. When the paper is wet, the ink and water stick to the greasy areas and blank areas. The result is an image that is similar to the original on the printing plate.
Today, there are several methods of printing that allow artists to express their creativity. Some of these methods include screen printing and lithography. These techniques allow artists to print on a variety of materials, including wood, glass, and metal. The process is repeatable, and allows for multiple impressions. However, the number of good impressions is limited by the materials and the process used to create the print. Modern processes may eventually replace the traditional methods.