Prior to digital and photographic technology, images were moved to paper from stone, metal, and wood. Part of an excellent education in art history includes studying and identifying these different printing procedures. While printmaking is a field you can study for life, you can find out the basics of identifying relief, intaglio, and planographic lithography to start building your recognition abilities.
Method 1. Recognizing Relief Prints
1. Comprehend the process of relief printing. Relief printing is the earliest and most traditional printing technology, and involves replicating images at its a lot of basic. In relief printing, a wood or metal relief block is sculpted by cutting away the areas of the image that will not be printed, then ink is applied to the raised areas either by dabbing the areas to be printed, or rolling the ink on. The final stage of the process involves transferring the ink to the page by laying a sheet of paper and applying pressure. Examples of relief prints consist of:
- Wood block printing
2. Examine the rim of the print. Among the quickest and most trusted methods of recognizing relief prints is to analyze the edges of the print for evidence. The process by which ink is moved from the block via pressure will produce a characteristic rim around the edges of life. This is a feature that is only characterized by relief printing procedures, so it’s always a sure indication.
- For contrast functions, examine the serial number on any costs of US currency. You must notice the rim of the numbers is slightly darker than the within. This is a sign of relief printing. Try to find this tendency in the piece that you’re analyzing.
- Try to find signs of embossing. Another relatively reputable way of determining relief printing is to take a look at the back of the piece for signs of embossing, another result of the transfer procedure in relief printing. Examine the page and feel with your hands for signs of raised perforation and pressure, signifiers of the paper being pressed on the relief block.
- Compared with intaglio printing, the pressure required to make relief prints is fairly minor, implying that embossing will in some cases be challenging to see and differentiate from that of intaglio printing, which is more extreme.
- Reflectance Improvement Imaging (RTI) is often used to highlight and record the physical signifiers of embossing in relief printing.
4. Search for indications of cutting in the cross-hatching or shaded areas. While it might appear obvious, one of the best ways of identifying relief from intaglio printing is in examining the black marks as carefully as possible and attempting to choose whether it looks like they were raised, or the white marks were raised on the original block. This is part instinct and part experience, however among the very best places to look is in shaded or cross-hatched areas.
- On relief prints, you ought to have the ability to see that shading is made by cutting out little wedges in between brief lines, then cutting a long line at right-angles, leaving smooth outside lines.
Method 2. Determining Intaglio Prints
1. Understand the process of intaglio printing. Intaglio is Italian for “incising,” and similarly revolves around a process of using ink into the grooves or engraves or engravings, then using a great deal of pressure to transfer that ink from the indents onto the page. This normally leads to a little crisper, more substantial lines that you can discover how to recognize. The process was developed in the 1500s. Engraving and etching are both designs of intaglio printing, with somewhat various techniques and signifiers.
- Inscription is generally done on copper plates, using a burin, a v-shaped cutting tool, to remove slivers of metal from the surface of the plate. The shape of engraved lines are typically rather clean, and pointed at each end, where the lines will swell or diminish.
- Etching is done using acid to draw freely over wax placed on the copper plating, utilizing a needle. Etched lines will have a blunter end than personalized lines, and you need to be able to see signs of the wax in unevenness and collapsing at the edge of the lines. In basic, etched lines are less exact.
2. Look for plate marks. Due to the fact that great deals of pressure is used to transfer the ink, the metal printing plate will leave an impression in the paper on intaglio prints. The corners of these marks ought to be rounded, since sharped edges would rip the paper, and the edges will frequently maintain traces of ink that wasn’t totally wiped off the plate during the printing procedure. Plate marks are constantly signifiers of intaglio printing, whether engravings or etchings.
- If you don’t see a plate mark, that isn’t really necessarily the indication that it isn’t an intaglio print. It won’t appear on every intaglio if the plate was wiped off completely.
3. Try to find raised ink. Due to the fact that of the way the printing procedure works, the greatest and darkest lines should be raised when compared to the surrounding locations, due to the fact that it will take more pressure and more ink making the darker line pop out. This is one of the most reliable signifiers of intaglio printing, etched or engraved.
4. Try to find varying strength of color in single lines. In intaglio printing, the lines will have varying levels of strength in regards to the ink displacement, compared with relief printing, which should be reasonably consistent. This is since the depth of the grooves can be changed, resulting in darker or lighter printed lines, appropriately, in the very same line.
- Look along longer lines to see whether they end up being darker in the interior. If so, it’s practically certainly a sign of intaglio printing.
5. Take a look at the shape of the line. Personalized lines will flow efficiently, swelling some prior to tapering to a point, while etched lines will have shakier, round edges. Often, intaglio prints will include littles both types of printing, as is found on US currency, in the printed pictures on the front and back.
6. Study more intaglio strategies. There are lots of subcategories of intaglio printing that will display particulars of the process, so you can narrow your identification skills a lot more particularly. Other intaglio strategies include:
- Steel Engraving
- Stipple Inscription
Method 3. Identifying Planographic Lithographs
1. Understand the different varieties of lithography. Lithography is a big term frequently used to describe many different designs of printing, contemporary and classical. However, in pre-photographic terms, planographic lithography is that which is printed from a flat surface area. In planographic printing, plates are prepared by laying down an image in an oily or oily compound, usually called tusche, that will hold ink. The blank locations of the plate will then be washed off with water, getting rid of the ink from those areas. Types of planographic lithography include:
- Chalk-manner prints, which are made by using wax crayon to draw the image onto limestone.
- Chromolithography, which are identifiable based upon the stippling of multiple colors on the plate.
- Tinted lithography is made through two plates, one of which uses broad individual background strokes of tinting to provide the image background color.
- Transfer lithography isn’t really transferred directly from stone to paper, but from transfer paper to the stone itself, indicating that the image needn’t be drawn in reverse originally.
2. Magnify the image. Unlike some of the other varieties of pre-photographic print recognition, planographic lithography needs to be analyzed using a minimum of 10x zoom to see the signifiers essential for correct identification. Since the lack of intaglio and relief printing marks does not necessarily imply you’re dealing with a lithograph, it is essential to look carefully at the images and not take absence for evidence.
3. Search for the lack of plate marks. If you find plate marks, you’re always dealing with a relief or, more likely, an intaglio print. Since the image is taken directly from a flat stone, there will never ever be plate marks of the sort you ‘d discover on those prints, on a lithograph.
4. Search for the flatness of the ink. Upon close examination, you need to discover that there is no difference in the depth of the ink and the blank paper. Everything must be on the same level, with no inscribing of whiteness or darkness. Discovering this will need serious magnification, but it’s a great indication that you’re handling some variety of planographic printing, considering that the ink has come from a flat surface that didn’t inscribe itself in the paper.
5. Try to find the illusion of shade, created by several layers. Given that the planographic surface area holds and fends off ink on the same level, tonal variation is developed by varying the amount of surface area covered and not covered by differing the amount of ink deposited on the paper, either by utilizing several layers and numerous prints, or by applying locations of heavier wax on the stone.
- Typically, shaded areas will be spotty, shooting almost stipple-like dots that have the same tonal value. One mark will not be lighter or darker than the other surrounding marks, nor should they be equally spaced. This produces the “illusion of shade.”
- A print with multiple colors will overlap those colors in certain areas. In general, you won’t discover green, but overlapping locations of blue and yellow, a more effective process of printing. Shade in color prints is usually made via variation of tone.
6. Try to find blurriness. Usually, fine details will be rather blurrier in transfer lithographs than in other kinds of printmaking. Often, the paper will not rather stick, or will otherwise move around when pressure is used to the paper, and the details have the tendency to suffer when this takes place. This is generally an indication of planographic lithography procedures.