Do you ever wonder about the captivating visuals you see in artworks and graphic designs? Well, one of the fundamental concepts you should know is printed pictures. This technique, which falls under the category of visual graphics, involves a unique approach to creating visuals that are distinct from direct drawings on paper.
In simple terms, printing is an indirect imaging process where colors are applied onto paper or cloth through printing techniques. These techniques rely on printing molds made from materials like wood, stone, rubber, or metal. By employing these molds, artists can transfer colors onto the surface of their artwork, creating stunning visuals.
Fuji, Mountains in Clear Weather/Red Fuji: An Artwork from “Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji”, a color woodcut by Katsushika Hokusai.
Throughout history, several master print graphic artists have left their mark on this art form. Utagawa Hiroshige and Katsushika Hokusai from Japan, Albrecht Dürer from Germany, and Nathaniel Currier and James Merritt Ives from the USA are among the notable figures in this field. Their contributions have shaped the evolution of printed pictures and continue to inspire artists today.
The lost cause, engraving, Currier & Ives (1871)
Unfortunately, in our country, comprehensive explanations about printed graphics and paintings are lacking. As a result, we have yet to establish precise and consistent terminology. Terms such as “Graphics” easel, “Graphics” independence, “Graphics” impression, “graphic painting,” “Graphics” fingerprints, engravings, and fingerprints are often used, but they all refer to different aspects of graphic art created through mold elaboration and printing.
Each printing technique within the realm of print graphics possesses its own unique characteristics and beauty. Some of the techniques include woodcut, etching, lithography, silkscreen, monotype, dry nib, mezzotint, and more.
The Fall of Babylon, mezzotint by John Martin (1831)
The creation of a graphic print often involves multiple impressions using various techniques. This process, known as prepress, relies on four plate making techniques: relief/relief (xylography, linocut…), indentation/intaglio (engraving, etching, mezzotint…), flat/planographic (lithography, monotype, digital printing techniques), and transparencies/stencil. The classification of these techniques depends on the impact of the print on the resulting image.
Printed paintings have had a rich presence in Vietnam’s artistic heritage. Traditional Vietnamese fine arts take pride in their wood-carved paintings, including Dong Ho, Hang Trong, Kim Hoang, and Hue worship paintings, which flourished in the 16th to the early 20th centuries. In addition to wood, other techniques such as stone printing, screen printing, glass printing, and zinc/copper printing were introduced from Europe, shaping the contemporary landscape of print graphics in Vietnam.
The artist is completing a woodcut (printed panel) of Dong Ho’s painting
Vietnamese painters have also made notable contributions to the world of prints. Artists like Nguyen Hoang Tuan, Tran Hong Giang, and Tran Van Thi have created captivating prints that showcase Vietnam’s artistic talent.
Sea Market – wood carving by Nguyen Hoang Tuan
Under the rain, paintings on wood by Nguyen Hoang Tuan
Landscapes, woodcuts by Tran Hong Giang
Night Street, a unique print by Tran Van Thi
Printed pictures are not limited to standalone art pieces for display; they also find their way into applied graphic design. These prints add a touch of artistic flair to various design projects.
Illustrated wood carving in Nha Nam book cover design
Wood carving illustration
Romeo and Juliet poster print version
If you’re curious about the intricacies of these printing techniques and want to uncover the secrets behind this fascinating art form, stay tuned for more articles on Caravansarai. We will delve deeper into wood carving, the printing process, and much more. Until then, let your imagination explore the realm of printed pictures!