Printmaking Techniques

Relief Techniques

The image is printed from a raised surface, which stands above the rest of the block. Ink is then applied with a roller and transferred onto paper with a press or by hand burnishing.


The image is carved into linoleum using knives and gouges. Since the recessed, cutaway areas do not receive ink they appear white on the printed image.


Using wood on the grain, shapes are cut away with chisels, knives or saws The wood grain is often seen on the image and may give the work an added dimension. For Japanese woodblock, watercolours are applied to the block and transferred to the paper by rubbing with a baren.

Wood engraving

Fine lines are cut into the end grain of a hard wood using a tool called a burin. After printing the lines appear white against a black background.

Intaglio Techniques

The image is printed from lines recessed or incised onto a plate. Ink is applied and after wiping is only retained in the incised lines.

The plate is then covered with dampened paper and run through a press under great pressure to force the paper into the inked lines and make the print.


A needle or similar tool is used to scratch a design directly into a metal or plastic plate. The burr raised by the needle creates the drypoint’s characteristic velvety line.


A metal plate is coated with an acid resistant ground. A needle is used to draw through the ground to expose the metal.

The plate is then immersed in a chemical bath to corrode (etch) the exposed lines.

Other Techniques


Textures such as cardboard, fabric, glues, or found objects are adhered to a plate, inked, and then printed as per an intaglio print. Areas that are textured print darker than the smoother areas.


A light sensitive solution is applied to paper. Objects or images on acetate are place on the paper and then exposed to light. The image appears in cyan-blue after developing in water.


An image is drawn on a stone or metal plate using a greasy substance. Oil-based ink only adheres to these marks, which are then transferred onto paper by running the stone or plate through a press.


Inks are applied to a surface and manipulated before the image is transferred to paper by the application of pressure.


The image is first transferred onto the plate using photographic techniques before etching.


A stencil is adhered to fabric stretched over a frame. The image remains as open fabric through which ink is forced through with a squeegee. Each successive colour requires its own screen.

Pochoir or Stencil printing

A method of transferring an image or pattern by brushing, stippling, spraying, or squeeging ink or paint through the open areas of a stencil which is cut from thin metal, card, paper or mylar. Imagery can be overlapped and layered to create more complex designs and single or multiple colours can be used with individual stencils.