What Are the Different Types of Printmaking?

Robert Couse-Baker/CC-BY-2.0

The four main types of printmaking are lithography, intaglio, relief and screen printing. There are subsequent printmaking techniques in each of the four main categories.

In lithography, the image is drawn on a flat block of limestone with a grease pen. The stone is flooded with water and inked. The ink only sticks to the grease pen drawing, and the resulting image can be printed.

Intaglio printing involves the etching of an image into a metal plate. The plate is covered with ink and then wiped clean. Ink remains in the etched groves in the plate, and the image can then be printed.

Relief printing involves carving an image into a block of wood. The design is then inked and ready to be printed.

Screen printing involves forcing ink through the holes of a screen to achieve the desired image. All of the holes of a screen are sealed, then only the ones that make up the desired image are opened. Ink is forced through the opened holes in the screen to print the image.