Picasso was amongst the first artists to cut into this cheap, mass produced floor covering to create a plate for a relief print, and he did so in very innovative ways. Because of its texture, linoleum is relatively easy to cut and lively spontaneous marks can be achieved. As well as being cut into, lino can also be etched using caustic soda. This results in a different kind of mark; fluid, looking something like a wash.
Check out: Caroline Byrne, Picasso (cut), Alison
The image is created using greasy crayon or ink on a stone or specially surfaced tin plate, and as such a lithograph often has the line and tonal qualities of a drawing. The complex and lengthy chemical process which is then used to preserve the image on the stone was invented by Senefelder, a German chemist, in 1798. The first image-based printmaking medium to be mechanised, lithography led to democratisation of the image, and indeed can be said to have spurred on democracy itself. At a time when illiteracy was the norm, the impact of the new mass produced images was taken very seriously by those in power. During France's revolutionary period there were strict laws governing printmakers and publishers and in 1832, Honoré Daumier, a political caricaturist, was imprisoned for publishing lithographs critical of King Louis Philippe. Later in France, Toulouse Lautrec and others produced iconic theatre posters in this medium.
Check out: Claire Carpenter, Honoré Daumier, David DuBose, John Kelly, Nancy Spero, Michael Timmins.
Giving soft, velvety images with incomparable blacks, mezzotint is often used for dramatically lit still-lifes. It was invented in the seventeenth century by Ludwig von Siegen, a professional German soldier. No chemicals are used, only elbow grease, and a lot of it. The artist starts by abrading the whole surface of a copper plate with a hand-held tool to give a rough surface, which when printed will give the black. The artist then burnishes away parts of the surface to give mid-tones and white. The plate is then inked up and printed in the same manner as an etching or any other intaglio print.
Check out: Konstantin Chmutin, James McGreary, Robert
Also referred to as monotype, this is a unique print. Only one exists; there is no edition. There are many different ways of creating a monoprint; one such way is to 'paint' an image onto a very smooth surface such as glass or metal and then transfer that image onto paper. This technique has been around since the seventeenth century. Alternatively the artist may roll up a smooth covering of ink onto glass or metal, lay a sheet of paper over the top and draw on the paper. This will result in a printed image on the reverse. These are just two popular examples, but monoprint techniques are as varied and inventive as the mind of the artist. Robert Rauschenberg's Tyre Print is a great example.
Check out: Gráinne Dowling, Tracey Emin, Louise Peat,
Robert Rauschenberg, Piia Rossi.