“Prints” can be a confusing word. Here, I’m talking about limited edition intaglio or relief prints. For me, I like making prints because they’re on paper and they require care.

Relief Prints


The Process

Nothing is simple with printmaking, but I’m going to do my best to simplify here (if you know me, you know how hard that is).

There are two basic styles of printmaking: Intaglio vs. relief.

With intaglio (don’t pronounce the ‘g’), grooves are made in a plate, ink is forced into the grooves, and damp paper is forced into those inked grooves to get the ink. As one printmaker said, it’s like the paper and ink are fused together under the pressure. There are many ways to create the grooves, including engraving and etching (dry point, hard ground, soft ground, and aquatint). Here’s a video to give you a HINT of the process:

Intagio YouTube video

Relief printmaking is the opposite of intaglio. Most of us did relief prints in elementary school, making prints with a cut away potato or other surface. With relief printing, what you cut away stays white, ink is rolled out on the remaining surface and transferred to the paper with some pressure. Relief prints can be made with linoleum or wood or rubber (or potatoes). Here’s a peek at relief printmaking:

© 2023┃ Mary C Blake