Printing is a process for reproducing text and images on the paper. Printing has been here since 220 A.D. and it’s techniques has been changing till this day.
This is a timeline of the most important printing techniques in the history.
Woodblock printing was the first technique for printing text and images, and it was very popular in East Asia.The wood block is prepared as a relief pattern, which means the areas to show ‘white’ are cut away with a knife, then the block would be inked. The content would print in a “mirror image”.
Ukyio-e is the best known type of Japanese woodblock art print.
Process for “Woodblock printing”:
(here we can see that areas which had to be white are cut out, and then ink has been applied on the block)
(the process of woodblock printing for recreating Ukiyo-e art “Fine Wind, Clear Morning”. We can see that the man ( Moichika Niinomi ) is cutting the shapes on the woodblock )
(this is a reproduction of Katsushika Hokusai’s Fine Wind, Clear Morning (1830–1832) )
( Famous art work “The Great wave of Kanagawa” by Katsushika Hokusai (1829–1832) was also created using the wood printing technique )
Other works of wood printing:
Movable type printing uses movable components to reproduce the elements of a document . This technique was invented in ancient China. The first world’s movable type printing press was created using ceramic porcelain materials. This technique wasn’t very popular because it was very expensive. Later were more than one movable types of printing:
In 15th century, 1439-1440, metal movable type printing came to Europe. Germany is acknowledged as the first to invent a metal movable-type printing system in Europe and it was called the printing press. The inventor of it was Johannes Gutenberg.
(this is the very first printing press by Johannes Gutenberg)
Lithography is a method of printing originally based on the mix of water and oil. It was invented in 1796 by German author and actor Alois Senefelder because it as a cheaper method for publishing theatrical works.
A printing plate with a relief image is dampened with water and then coated with ink. The ink only sticks to the parts of the plate that are not wet with water. The printing plate is fixed to a roller and the image is transferred onto paper fed under the roller.
After that came offset-lithography, the paper does not come into direct contact with the printing plate. Instead, the image is transferred to a rubber roller.
Lithography is used for long print runs of products such as magazines, posters, packaging and books.
Screen Printing process:
A screen is made of a piece of mesh stretched over a frame. A stencil is formed by blocking off parts of the screen in the negative image of the design to be printed, the open spaces are where the ink will appear on the substrate.
( here we can see screen printing stencils )
( transfer ink onto a substrate )
Before printing, an emulsion is ‘scooped’ across the mesh and the ‘exposure unit’ burns away the unnecessary emulsion leaving behind a clean area in the mesh with the identical shape as the desired image.
(burning away the unnecessary emulsion)
Screen printing first appeared recognisable in China during the Song Dynasty (960–1279 AD) .
Screen printing was largely introduced to Western Europe from Asia sometime in the late 18th century, but wasn’t popular until silk mesh was more available for trade from the east.
Early in the 1910s, several printers tried experimenting with photo-reactive chemicals which introduced photo-imaged stencil printing called Photo Emulsion technique.
Some designs of screen printing:
Works of Photo emulsion technique:
Digital printing is a method of printing a digital-based image using laser or ink-jet printers.
The greatest difference between digital printing and traditional methods is that there is no need to replace printing plates.
Fine art digital inkjet printing is printing from a computer image file directly to an inkjet printer.
For laser printing digital images are exposed onto true, light sensitive photographic paper with lasers and processed in photographic developers and fixers.
( machine used for digital printing )
( coloured and detailed pictures can be printed using digital printing )