Getting to Know Your Vintage Print Options
Captivating and bold, vintage prints add instant appeal to a home. Yet with so many secondhand prints to choose from—from antique wood blocking to monotyping—it can be difficult to know which used print is best for your art collection. To help, we’ve created a vintage print guide. Read on to learn more about the best vintage prints for your space.
Engraving, Etching & Linocut
Engraving: A Renaissance style, engraving refers to cutting designs into a block of wood, metal plate, or other similar surface. Engraving is best fit for traditional or antique styles.
Etching: During the etching process a metal plate is covered with an acid-resistant. wax-like ground. Following this, the artist uses a pointed needle to scratch lines or designs into the wax. The metal plate is then dipped into an acid bath, where the design is revealed. Following this, the plate is sent through a printing press along with a sheet of paper to transfer the design.
Linocut: As a German Expressionist style, linocut refers to the process of using a sharp knife to carve a design into a block of linoleum. Then, the sheet of linoleum is inked with a roller and pressed onto fabric or paper.
Drypoint, Lithographs & Relief
Drypoint: Using a sharp needle to scratch a plate, the drypoint process creates a hazy print that resembles a softly blurred engraving.
Lithographs: Featuring soft, natural artwork, lithographs are illustrations created on paper by way of a stone stamp. Lithographs date back to 1820, but hugely remain popular today.
Relief: Picasso fans will be drawn to relief prints, which refer to the process of carving an image into a matrix, then inking and pressing the image onto paper. Relief prints are typically rendered in black and white, but colored relief prints can also be found.
Woodblocking, Aquatint & Monotype
Woodblocking: One of the earliest printing methods ever used, woodblocking is the practice of engraving woodblocks with images or letters, then painting the woodblocks and pressing them onto paper. Today, woodblocks are typically made from cherry, pear, or other various fruit tree lumbers.
Aquatint: A specific type of engraving, aquatints are made by spreading an acid-resistant tar over the matrix or block. Contemporary artists such as Alex Katz frequently use aquatint techniques in their art pieces.
Monotype: Monotyping is a unique type of textured printmaking. The process involves using a greasy substance like oil paint or printer’s ink to paint on a piece of glass, stone, or smooth metal. The glass, metal, or stone is then pressed onto a sheet of absorbent paper. Although the history of monotyping dates back as far as the mid 1640s, monotype prints remain hugely popular today.
Digital Printing & Screen Printing
Digital Printing: Thanks to new and improved modern technology, professional quality digital printing is hugely popular today and perfect for those who desire a clean, bold look. Referring to the process of artwork being processed by a computer, digital printing shines in modern spaces.
Screen Printing: A popular option for creating printed fabrics, vintage screen prints typically display vibrant, simplistic, and colorful designs. The process of screen printing involves forcing ink through a fine screen onto material like paper or fabric. Fans of Andy Warhol are likely to be drawn to the sparse screen printing style.