The history of printmaking dates back to somewhere between 206 BC and 220 AD. Since its inception, it has brought significant changes to the art world; fortunately, many of these changes have been positive.
Printmaking has changed art by allowing artists to reproduce their paintings without starting from scratch. It has also made paintings more accessible because printmaking is cheaper and faster than painting. Furthermore, printmaking is relatively more sustainable for the environment.
This article explores how printmaking has revolutionized art to date and what that change means for artists and art enthusiasts. Keep reading to learn more about this interesting topic with our article 8 Ways That Printmaking Changed Art.
Table of Contents
- 1 One – Art Can Be Reproduced Much Faster
- 2 Two – Printmaking Became More Cost Efficient (and Affordable)
- 3 Three – Printmaking Made Art More Accessible
- 4 Four – It Encouraged Artists To Grow Their Creativity
- 5 Five – Printmaking Encouraged More People To Become Artists
- 6 Six – Creating Artwork Became a Collaborative Process
- 7 Seven – Broader Expertise Was Needed To Reproduce Artwork
- 8 Eight – Sustainability: Printmaking May Be Better for the Environment
One – Art Can Be Reproduced Much Faster
Before printmaking, artists had to do the painstaking work of repainting each piece from scratch to meet the demand.
Painting multiple original pieces from scratch is a tedious and time-consuming process. It can also demotivate the artist eager to spend more time creating new pieces rather than reproducing designs that they’ve already done.
On the contrary, printmaking can produce and distribute several pieces of the same original design within a fraction of the time and, in some cases, immediately.
This factor benefits the artist because they can get their orders done much faster and save time for other work. For the buyer, it also means they can get their artwork almost immediately after placing their order.
Two – Printmaking Became More Cost Efficient (and Affordable)
Printmaking is cheaper for the artist because it requires less time and expertise. The artist is also likely to use fewer materials in the process. This is very helpful in bulk production, for instance, in the textile industry.
Another factor that may lower production costs is that printmaking materials and equipment are cheaper than those used in other forms of artwork, such as painting and sculpting. It also takes less time and materials to duplicate prints than other art forms.
The lower production cost also means that prints are more affordable for customers. Collectors can purchase various quality prints of the artist’s work, according to what they can afford. This encourages more people to buy from artists and support their work.
Three – Printmaking Made Art More Accessible
Previously, paintings were a reserve of the wealthy because only they could afford to buy them. Printmaking made art more affordable and accessible.
Prints make the artwork more accessible because they are faster and cheaper. In addition, the artists can duplicate them on the following mediums:
This gives the artist a bigger platform to showcase their work, which boosts their name recognition and the masses’ appreciation for their work. It also provides more collectors access to artwork in various mediums (that the artist may have yet to create by painting each piece).
Four – It Encouraged Artists To Grow Their Creativity
Printmaking allowed artists to focus on creating several different designs rather than spending much time repainting the same one to meet the demand. Additionally, the various printmaking techniques allowed the artist to explore and experiment with different methods of recreating their pieces and get new ideas for improving their work.
Because artists collaborate with various professionals in printmaking, they can also get helpful feedback that helps them grow in their expertise and technique.
Five – Printmaking Encouraged More People To Become Artists
Printmaking isn’t reserved for artists. Several printmaking techniques can be used by someone who isn’t skilled in painting to create beautiful artwork. For example, nature printing, which came about in the 18th century, allowed people to use natural subjects such as leaves and rocks to develop beautiful art pieces.
Here are some reasons why that’s a good thing:
- Creating artwork gives the individual a sense of fulfillment.
- It can be used as art therapy which has immense mental health benefits.
- Printmaking can also be an exciting hobby that allows you to engage and experiment with different techniques for creating art.
- It’s a budget-friendly way to decorate a space.
- It can be an income-generating opportunity for people interested in art who need more experience.
Moreover, some relatively inexpensive techniques are easy to learn and require few materials. These can be fun for those who are interested but have limited resources.
Check out this article that I have written on the easiest printmaking technique, which is suitable for beginners.
Six – Creating Artwork Became a Collaborative Process
In the past, only one artist painted an original design. With printmaking, more people can be engaged.
To begin with, multiple artists can work on the same print through a technique known as ‘remarque.’ In this technique, one artist creates the main matrix while another adds the finer details.
Additionally, a printmaker is involved in the art duplication process, and their role is to use the artist’s matrix to recreate the duplicates. They may also offer helpful feedback to the artist or provide creative ideas.
Finally, several artists can work together to develop new methods to improve the process and make higher-quality prints.
Seven – Broader Expertise Was Needed To Reproduce Artwork
Before printmaking, only artists or other highly skilled individuals could reproduce paintings. Printmaking developments have made it possible for an artwork to be duplicated by others who aren’t as adept at painting but have various other expertise.
Artists entrust their matrices to printmakers, who duplicate the designs onto various canvases (often under the artist’s supervision). Today, digital printmaking has made it easier to recreate artwork more accurately, and it engages experts in the digital field.
Various printmaking techniques also allow artists with a wide range of expertise to participate. Some methods are suitable for beginners, while others are suited for more experienced artists.
Eight – Sustainability: Printmaking May Be Better for the Environment
Printmaking can be a better solution for sustainable and environmentally friendly art in several ways. For one, there is less wastage of materials because you are less likely to make mistakes when recreating art through printmaking.
Another way that printmaking can be better for the environment is by opting for environmentally friendly materials. There are non-toxic, cruelty-free, and biodegradable options available for artists keen on sustainability.
However, the artist must take the initiative in sourcing these sustainable alternatives because some toxic and harmful products are on the market.