Unlike many other types of art, printmaking is a fairly young phenomenon. It arose at the turn of the XIV – XV centuries. Despite the fact that the appearance of the engraving occurred much earlier, in China, it never went beyond it.
The main impetus for the emergence and development of prints was the invention of the printing press in Germany in 1444
After the advent of printing, it became necessary to illustrate printed matter. For this purpose, an engraving was chosen. And already in the second half of the 15th century books with illustrations appeared. It was the graphics that gave man visual representations of the world until the middle of the XIX century – the emergence of photomechanics.
In various periods, one or another print technique is most actively developing.
For example, in the 15th century there were only two print techniques: a cutter and a cut woodcut.
In the XVI century, the technique of etching and chiaroscuro was born.
The 18th century was the richest in the emergence of new techniques. Techniques such as: mezzo-tinto, aquatint, dotted line, lavis, pencil measure were born.
If we talk about technology, then there are four different methods of image transfer, fundamentally different from each other. Each of these methods has several variations of the engraving.
The first way is a stencil. In place of the future image, a flat protective screen is superimposed, in which various forms are cut through which the paint is applied to the base.
Screen printing methods include cut-out screen printing and silk-screen printing.
The cutting stencil is characterized by a large number of jumpers that protect the stencil so that it does not fall into pieces.
Fig. 1. Cutting stencil
Screen printing is a more common type of stencil. Its peculiarity lies in the fact that the basis of the stencil in silk-screen printing is a small, usually silk mesh, which is partially sealed with a special composition and leaves only a drawing free. Next, the grid is superimposed on the paper, filled with paint, which flows through the cells and the drawing is ready.
Fig. 2. Screen printing
The second type of print is letterpress. It lies in the fact that the surface of the printing plate is engraved. Ink printed on the plate does not enter the engraving grooves and remains on the surface. Paper is pressed to the printed form and a whole image is streaked with white lines.
Letterpress printing includes:
Plaster engraving. Its advantage is that gypsum is a soft material and is well suited for engraving. Gypsum engraving often looks rude, but this is the best option for an initial acquaintance with the print.
Fig. 3. Plaster engraving
Woodcut – Woodcut. It includes:
Longitudinal (trimmed) engraving. Each line is cut with a knife on both sides, and the middle is removed with a special cutter. The basis for the engraving is a wooden board, which complicates the cutting process as it is heterogeneous and the protrusions across the fibers are often deformed during the printing process. This type of engraving is characterized by a certain rigidity and stiffness of the lines. But its own special texture of the wooden board from which the form is made, allows you to create a completely unique effect.
Fig. 4. Hans Burgkmeier. Ambush attack. OK. 1512 g.
Face engraving. Boxwood is most suitable for engraving. Despite the fact that it is difficult to get it, it is it that is the most dense and holds polishing best. Engraving is done with steel cutters of different sizes and profiles. Such incisors are called shtikheli. Just like in gypsum and trim engravings, strokes are done in places that should not be printed. Stihel easily cuts in all directions, which allows the artist to create a variety of strokes that convey tone, shape, etc. The stroke of the front engraving is clear and elegant: the dense network of such strokes has a silver tint that is very advantageously combined with black spots.
Fig. 5. William Allen Rogers. Calling buyers
Linocut. This type of engraving got its name because of the unusual material for making an engraving form, namely linoleum. Such engraving is a little loose and rough, but it is more monumental than other types of engraving. In addition, it allows you to make large engravings.
Fig. 6. Yu. Tyshkevich. Spring. 1970.
Zincography. It is also a kind of print. This technique consists in applying a special acid-resistant solution to the zinc sheet, and the gaps between the lines are filled with acid, forming grooves. Such printing differs from etching only in its own way.