(Also can be referred to as serigraph or silkscreen) Screenprinting is a form of stencil on a mesh substrate. An image can be created from digitally printed film, hand-cut rubylith, or hand drawn with ink on acetate. The image is then transferred to a screen by a photo-emulsion process. First the screen is coated with a light-sensitive emulsion and then the image is exposed onto the screen in the dark room at various exposures. The areas where the image has stopped the light from passing through is water soluble and is washed out; all other areas harden with the light. Ink is then able to transfer through the screen by using a squeegee onto the paper, except in the areas made impermeable to the ink by the emulsion or blocking agent. A James Nares print, for example, is often several layers (12+) of ink made with various stages of exposed screens to create the dimensional brushstroke.
Woodblock is one of the oldest printing techniques. Various implements (both hand tools and power tools) can be used to make shaped blocks, as well as to carve relief into the block. Paper is placed over the inked block and then pressed or passed through a press to transfer the ink from block to paper, creating the impression. After each printing, the block must be cleaned and re-inked before being printed again. With more complicated imagery, several layers of registered woodblocks can be used to create more in-depth prints.
Etching is a printing process that uses acid to incise imagery on a metal (often copper) plate that has been coated by an acid resistant coating (hard ground). Through the use of various methods or tools, the hard ground is removed or etched into, exposing the copper beneath it. The plate is then then immersed into an acid bath where the exposed areas are chemically dissolved. The hard ground is then carefully removed, so you are left with a fully exposed copper plate with areas that have been etched. The plate is then inked and hand-wiped, allowing the ink to settle into the channels. Paper is placed on the face of the plate and is then put through the etching press in one continuous pass.
The soft linoleum surface is easily carved with a sharp knife, v-shaped chisel or gouge. The raised uncarved areas, which represent a reversal mirror image, are then inked and passed through a press with paper to create the image. Similar to woodblock, various layers of linocuts can be printed on the same piece of paper in registration to create more complex and multi-colored images.
Aquatint is an etching method used to create a more subtle tonal range than a line etching. Powdered rosin is applied and heated onto a metal plate; the metal that remains exposed around the melted drops of rosin is then “bitten” in an acid bath, creating a pitted, grainy surface. These pits hold ink and print as areas of subtler tone.
Digital printing is a method of printing from a digital-based image directly to a variety of media. Digital prints are printed using large-format and/or high-volume laser or inkjet printers. Mickalene Thomas utilizes digital prints by adding them as a layer to her complex collage prints.
Gold Leaf / Silver Leaf
Gold and silver leaf is gold/silver that has been hammered into thin sheets is often available in a wide variety of karats and shades. These sheets are then suitable for applying to surfaces as a decoration. You can see an example of gold leaf in Mother’s Day by Beatriz Milhazes and an example of silver leaf in Hurvin Anderson’s Mirror: Don’t Look Back series.