A Guide to Art Printing

Art Printing

The art printing process is one of the oldest art forms which has been around for centuries. The art printing process, also known as relief printmaking, was used by ancient cultures like the Chinese and Egyptians to create artworks on pottery and stone. You can think of it as a form of drawing where an artist uses raised lines to create an image that stands out from the surface below. It’s often done with ink or watercolors on paper or other materials such as textiles, wood, metal or glass. There are many different types of art prints including serigraphs (silk screen), lithographs (invented in 1798) and xylographs (an alternative term for woodcut). Each type has its own unique properties and produces different results.

The History of Art Printing

A close up of a box

Art printing is art that has been reproduced by means of a printing press. The art can be any type, including paintings and photographs. Art prints are usually made from an original art work or digital file conveyed to a printmaker via a computer printer. This creates multiple copies of the same piece, which can then be sold at lower prices than originals or used as promotional items.

Art printing was invented in 1796 when William Nicholson created lithography, one of the first art forms to be printed from stone plates rather than paper sheets. In 1844 Charles Bennett patented his invention of photoengraving, making it possible for photographers to have their photos reproduced as engravings on steel plates for sale as art prints. Lithography became popular with artists in the early 1900s, and art prints began to be mass-produced in large quantities.

The Types of Art Printing

A cat sitting on top of a fox

Offset lithography is the most common type of art printing and involves transferring an image from a metal or plastic plate to a rubber blanket, then to paper. This type of printing is used for most commercial printing jobs, such as art prints, pamphlets and brochures. Lithography is the classic art form because of its vivid colors and large-scale images.

Giclee art printing produces high quality art prints with a fine detail and color range. This art printmaking process was invented in France in the early 1990s and uses fade-resistant archival inks. The art print is created by layering color droplets of ink on the paper’s surface, which are then pressed onto the page with a heated plate. These art prints are more expensive, but they last longer.

Digital art printing transfers images on art prints using an inkjet printer that pumps ink through nozzles directly onto the paper. This type of printing is often used for making art prints from digital originals, such as photographs or computer art. The digital art printmaking process can be customized to create a wide range of effects and textures, making it a popular choice for art prints.

The Care and Storage of Art Prints

Art prints should be stored in a cool, dark place and away from direct sunlight. They should be kept flat and in an acid-free environment to protect them from fading or discoloration. Proper storage of art prints will help ensure that they last for many years.


Art prints make a beautiful addition to any home and can be a great way to enjoy your favorite artworks. By understanding the different types of art printing available, you can choose the perfect print for your needs. Whether you are looking for a high-quality art print or a more affordable option, there is sure to be a printing process that is perfect for you. Thanks for reading!

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