Printmaking Techniques

Out of the Frame features several types of printmaking techniques.

Learn about the types of prints featured in the show below:


Giclées are digital fine-art prints produced by inkjet printers. Designs
are either produced digitally, or copied on high-resolution scanners, and
printed on various materials, including paper and canvas. The term
“Giclee” is a French word meaning a spurt or spray of liquid. This
printing process involves no mesh screens or other mechanical devices. As
this process reproduces colours with a high level of accuracy, giclées are
often used to reproduce paintings.


Relief Print

Relief prints are produced by cutting or etching a surface (such as wood,
metal, or linoleum), leaving behind a design in relief. Water or oil-based
ink is rolled onto the cut or etched surface, then paper is placed on top
of the surface and pressed. Finally, the paper is pulled off the surface,
revealing the design. There are several styles of relief prints, including
woodcut (using a wood surface), linocut (using a linoleum surface), and
metal cut (using a metal surface). These styles all produce different
effects in the finished print.


Offset Print or Offset Lithograph

Offset printing, or offset lithography, is a printing method used for
mass-production (e.g. for art cards). An image is placed on a metal plate,
transferred (or offset) onto rubber rollers, then onto paper (or other
media). The metal plate does not contact the paper, thus it is called
“offset” printing. Offset lithography employs the lithography process. In
lithographic printing, an oil based ink is continually rolled onto a
surface, while a water-based film (called the “fountain solution”), is
applied to the negative areas of the design, keeping them free of ink. The
offset printing method is used for printing on many different types of
surfaces, as the rubber is flexible enough to transfer images onto rough
surfaces (such as cloth or wood). Offset printing also maintains a
consistent image quality for a high volume of prints.


Screen Print or Serigraph Print

Screen printing, also known as serigraph or silk-screen printing, is a
process whereby ink is pulled through a stencilled screen. Originally the
screen was made from silk, but now screens are mainly made of nylon.
Before the screen can be used, the design is transferred onto it using an
emulsion, which, when exposed to light, blocks all areas of the screen
except for the design to be printed. The screen is placed on top of the
paper (or other media). Ink is then pulled through the screen using a
squeegee, leaving behind the design on the print media. This process is
then repeated (referred to as layers) to produce multiple colours.

For a complete guide to the screenprinting process, read Andy MacDougall‘s excellent book Screen Printing Today: The Basics.

Screenprinting Today