More About the Printing Processes

a Brief outline on relief printing, screen printing and the difference between digital prints and original prints.

What are original prints?

Relief printing rollers and ink

Original Prints can be defined as an artwork that has been printed manually by the artist or printed under the artist’s supervision. The final artwork is produced once the artist has made an image on a block, stone, plate or screen from which the print edition is to be printed from. Once complete the artist will then number and sign each print.

What is Relief Printing?

Relief printing is a term that covers all printing methods where an overhanging surface on the printing plate or block is inked leaving the recessed areas blank. It includes linocut, woodcut wood engraving, letterpress, relief etching, and certain types of collagraph. Even rubber stamps and potato prints are considered to be relief prints. Once the plate or block has been inked up printing can be quite simple. From the use of a printing press, baren or wooden spoon just a few examples of how to transfer the image onto the paper.

What is screen printing?

Screen printing is a manual process. The ink prints in thicker layers than in digital printing producing
brighter, more vibrant colours.  It involves ink being transferred through a fine mesh onto another surface such as wood, fabric or paper using a stencil and a squeegee blade. Layers can be built up, by printing one colour at a time. Several screens can be used to produce a multi coloured image or design. The more layers involved in a design the more preparation time and materials are required to complete the print. Due to the nature of this process there is some room for individuality within an edition.

How Does Digital Printing Differ?

With digital printing there are no restrictions on how many colours can be used in each print as they are all printed at the same time. Every print in a run will be identical so it is well suited to printing large quantities of the same product. The artwork is processed by a computer then printed onto surface such as fabric or paper. As the ink is printed in much thinner layers there is scope for very detailed imagery.