05. February 2017 · Comments Off on What is Woodblock Printing, and How Does It Work? · Categories: Printing Methods · Tags: ,

Woodblock printing is one of the earliest methods of printing text, images or pattern widely used in East Asia. This method uses engraved woodblocks to print out texts or images. It dates back to 9th century in China as a method of printing on textiles and later paper.

How it works

drawing on paperFirst, an image is drawn on plain paper with a lead pencil. An alternative to this is printing the image then covering the parts you want to be printed with a lead pencil. The image is transferred onto the wood by turning the drawing face down. To have the pencil transfer to the wood, a burnisher is commonly used to rub the back of the drawing.

Tracing the Illustration

Tracing the illustration with a pen typically makes it easier to see before starting to carve. The carving part of the printing is the most technical, and that’s why the wood is placed on top of a rubber mat so that it doesn’t slip. The large U-shaped gouge is used for clearing most of the material, whereas the small U-shaped gouge carves the details.

Proofing the Block

Proofing the block is the next step after the image has been carved out. It may not be easy to tell what the print will look like if the block is not proofed. It is done by applying a line of ink on the glass, mixing it then rolling out an even surface of it using the rubber brayer. The brayer is then rolled onto the block. Additional carving is done on areas that pick up the ink and are supposed to be clear.

Printing the Block

The block is then printed once the image has been carved to perfection. This is done by repeating the inking process done before then placing the paper face down onto the block. The back of the paper is then lightly pressed down starting from the center with the bottom of a rice spoon. The paper is then lifted and the block allowed to dry.

Cleaning/Framing the Woodblock Print

cleaning up before framingThe last process is cleaning and framing the woodblock print. Some little water is used to scrub off the unwanted prints lightly. However, this part of woodblock printing is not necessary, so most artists don’t do it.

This type of printing has been extensively used to decorate leathers, fabrics, and wallpapers. It is usually easiest when working with repetitive patterns since the carving and handling process is reduced. In the case of a multicolor pattern, an artist will have to carve each color element as a separate block. Ink is also applied individually.

24. January 2017 · Comments Off on The History of Lithography and Lithographic Printing · Categories: Printing Methods · Tags: , ,

Lithographic printing or lithography is a young form of printing in comparison to others such as screen-printing. Little did one Alois Senefelder have a clue about what he was discovering at the time he patented lithographic printing process in the year 1799. Without a doubt, his discovery forever transformed the printing industry’s face.

How did Alois Senefelder discover Lithographic Printing?

Alois SenefelderAs a very young boy, Alois Senefelder had a strong passion for theater. After discovering some success as an actor, the young boy turned out to a relatively successful comic playwright. Nonetheless, he found out that the margins were quite minute. Therefore, he had to find an amazing way of making several copies of his songs and play them real time. Consequently, he began the endeavor, which would later become the lithographic printing process.

During those days, copper plates were utilized in the printing process. Nonetheless, coming up with images and text for printing in reverse on a plate was such a difficult process. For this reason, Senefelder chose to utilize inexpensive Bavarian limestone slabs in order to practice the reverse imaging art. In the meantime, Alois also made a liquid of rainwater, lamp black, soap, and wax to assist him to correct the mistakes on copper plates.

The correction fluid and limestone are the two materials that then became the cornerstones of Lithography.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t that long before Alois realized through his experiments that utilizing the fluid to draw on limestone provided images that were highly resistant to water. Afterward, he could use water to treat the limestone and then follow it up with an oil-based ink. Anytime he applied the image to paper, it would be printed right side up.

Long story short: that is how Senefelder invented the art he termed ‘chemical printing.’ Later, he patented lithography in 1799.

The Rise of the Transfer Process and Lithography

In 1817, Alois came up with a press, which would automatically dampen as well as ink the plate. That way, the process was made even simpler. The first lithograph appeared in the United States in 1819. The demand for lithographic printing escalated tremendously in the months that followed. By the year 1971, it’s true to say that there were not less than 30 steam presses and 450 hand-operated in the United States alone.

printing press letters

Alois also takes huge credit for discovering the transfer process. Through experimentation, Alois realized that he had the capability of transferring writing and drawings from paper to lithographic stone to come up with printing images. So what this a great discovery? It allowed folks to sort of ‘copy’ the previously existing images and text. On top of that, you no longer needed to be a professional at reverse imaging.

The Rotary Litho Press and Engelmann’s Litho Color Printing

In 1837, Godefroy Engelmann discovered Lithographs or Litho color printing. What is for sure is the fact that litho printing gained popularity in the years that followed. Actually, towards the late 18th century, the premier rotary litho press was invented.

Folks used lithography to create massive quantities of prints just like what happens with letterpress printing. Sadly, the rotary machine’s abrasive action made images to wear off very soon especially when printing vast quantities. Therefore, rotary lithographic presses never turned out to be popular.

Today, metal plates replaced limestone. You can design the images or stencils by utilizing three roller offset press and photographic plates for actual printing. Lithography or lithographic printing has certainly come such a long way ever since it was invented. There’s no doubt about that.