Printmaking is the process of making artworks by printing on paper or other surfaces. Printmaking covers only the process of creating prints that have an element of originality; it is not a photographic reproduction of a painting. However, the process is capable of producing multiples of the same piece, which is called a print, yet the resulted print is not a copy, but an original.
Prints are created by transferring ink from a matrix or through a prepared screen to a sheet of paper or other material. Common types of matrices include: blocks of wood for woodcuts and wood engravings; metal or polymer plates for engraving or etching; stone, aluminium, or polymer for lithography; and linoleum for linocuts. For the screenprinting process, artists use screens made of silk or synthetic fabrics.
Traditional printmaking techniques include: engraving, etching, woodcutting, lithography, screenprinting and monotype to name just a few, while contemporary printmaking include digital printing, photographic medium or a combination of both.
Many famous artists used one technique or another. Vincent van Gogh and Pablo Picasso are known for their lithographs while Francisco Goya is known for his etchings.
On the contemporary art scene, along with digital techniques, artists are still drawn towards traditional printmaking such as etching and linocuts to produce original artworks for everyone to enjoy.