What is a print?

An Introduction to Printmaking

Printmaking is an artistic process based on the principle of transferring images from one surface onto another, most often paper, by various techniques. Unlike paintings or drawings, prints usually exist in multiple impressions and the total number of impressions made is called an edition. With limited editions, artists restrict the total amount of artworks produced in the edition, so that each print will retain its value over time. Although these editions enable artists to create multiple versions of the same work, each print is considered an original work of art.  

Traditional printmaking techniques include woodcut, etching, engraving, and lithography; but the development of photography and digital print technology, including giclee, in recent years has meant that the traditional definition of an original print does not cover all printmaking techniques. Contemporary definitions of an original print are more to do with the intention rather than the process. An original print is now generally acknowledged as work of art on paper which has been conceived by the artist to be realised as an artwork in itself, rather than as a reproduction of a work in another medium.

As digital print technology has increased in popularity because of its ease and affordability, many traditional and time intensive techniques are no longer as prevalent as they once were. This is why at Art School we are championing these older techniques and the artists who continue to explore the possibilities of these mediums.

Learn more about the various printmaking techniques here.