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What is a Print?

Printmaking has a lot of similarities to graphic design. There’s easy duplication to allow wide distribution, we see it everywhere without really noticing it, and not may people understand the subtle nuances that go into it.

Well MoMA has set out to educate the masses about the different kinds of print. With this interactive feature you can go step-by-step through the process of creating a Woodcut print, an etching, lithography, and a screen print. For instance, one can select “etching” and be taken to a page with a brief history and explanation. Then you are instructed to apply “A waxy, acid-resistant ground to a metal plate.” So you use your mouse to grab the brush and rub it over the plate, and an arrow telling you to “click to continue” appears. (you can click the arrow any time and it’ll play the process as an animation and move on. ) Then it goes through the process of etching the image onto the plate, putting it in an acid bath, removing the ground, inking and wiping the plate and printing the image. Not only does it give you the process, but it shows you the aesthetic that method each process creates, and provides a gallery of famous prints.

It’s a really fun and educational sight, and I highly recommend everyone to play around with it a bit. (especially if, like me, your knowledge of printmaking is poor at best.)


You can go here to try it:

What is A Print?